CS3: Have Some Tea with Me, Mad Hatter?

By Jada Atchu Yudom

Spoiler Alert and Trigger Warning

Themes: paranoid schizophrenia and borderline personality 

We all know Alice in Wonderland. My favorite character was the Mad Hatter. His name is Tarrant Hightopp(I was surprised too). He is a hat maker that has been poisoned by mercury which is why his hair is orange. He is part of the resistance to bring down the red queen. He is mad, brave, loyal, intense, tragic. He comes from a family of hatters. Tarrant thought his family was dead due to the Jabberwock burning his village to the ground. He only escapes due to the white queen horse taking him to safety. As he finds his trademark hat, the only thing not burned, we see a half-smile on his face as we see his sanity shatter. The destruction of his family broke something in his mind which caused him to be detached from the world and cause him to have a split personality. He becomes very violent if he is left alone to contemplate what happened to his family. 

Borderline personality disorder is A mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. The mad hatter suffers from identity disturbance. Although he knows he is the mad hatter, sometimes he doesn’t know this all the time. Sometimes he is having tea with Alice or he is someone who just makes hats. Intense anger when Chester brings up the day the red queen takes over he gets really angry and the mouse has to remind him where he is. He is very impulsive and always doing something reckless and instantly risks himself for Alice. Unstable interpersonal relationships, He displays this with Mally and the Hare. He is constantly changing his mood and one minute is harsh to them, and the next minute he thinks they have the greatest idea ever. Also Instability due to the reactivity of his mood. 

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severely disabling psychological disorder. According to the DSM V. someone with schizophrenia must experience at least two of the following symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, negative symptoms (ie. diminished emotion/expression). In this case, the Mad Hatter showed signs of disorganized speech, hallucinations because he would spend his days talking to a mouse and a rabbit, most of the time drinking tea that wasn’t there, and delusions, since he believed that he could never stop having a tea party, that time is a person, and that a queen wants to behead him.

All in all, the Mad Hatter is a pretty interesting character and had great development throughout the series. It’s important that mental illness is included and shown in popular media, such as Alice in Wonderland, and even if we didn’t know as kids what the Mad Hatter exhibited, we did know that he was a special little thing. Him having paranoid schizophrenia and borderline personality does not take away from the fact that he was a good person, except with a tragic story.

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