Throughout The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks discusses the ways that patients with serious neurological conditions adapt to their unusual circumstances by creating a new identity for themselves, or by finding a way of connecting to the external world. The drawings that José, an autistic hospital patient, creates in the final chapter of the book could be said to symbolize all the attempts to connect with the external world that Sacks’s patients have made.
José’s Drawings Quotes in The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat
Could he, with his fine eye, and great love of plants, make illustrations for botanical works or herbals? Be an illustrator for zoology or anatomy texts? (See the drawing overleaf he made for me when I showed him a textbook illustration of the layered tissue called ‘ciliated epithelium’.) Could he accompany scientific expeditions, and make drawings (he paints and makes models with equal facility) of rare species? […] He could do all of these—but, alas, he will do none, unless someone very understanding, and with opportunities and means, can guide and employ him. For, as the stars stand, he will probably do nothing, and spend a useless, fruitless life, as so many other autistic people do, overlooked, unconsidered, in the back ward of a state hospital.