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Lauren Oliver

 Table of Contents

Delirium Theme of Madness

The DSM-V is the American Psychiatric Association's "bible," featuring a plethora of mental illnesses. Odds are you have at least one. We're not sure if the DSM-V exists in Delirium, but if it did, it would only be one page long. And that page would have on it: amor deliria nervosa (love). To the government in Lena's world, love is the cause of all our problems. Supposedly, it can be cured. But the brain, like love, is complicated, and the cure isn't foolproof. Plus, people have to wait until 18 to be cured anyway. So if love makes you crazy, well, everyone in Lena's world has been crazy at one point or another. At least all this madness makes Delirium a fun and interesting read.

Questions About Madness

  1. In what ways does the diagnosis of and treatment for amor deliria nervosa mimic our real-world diagnosis of and treatment of mental illness?
  2. Should love be classified as a mental illness in our world?
  3. Is Lena's mom crazy? Is Lena crazy?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Classifying love as a mental illness stigmatizes it, which makes people automatically more afraid of it.

People who are in love (or in lust) aren't mentally ill—they're normal humans. But the government tries to impose its own definition of normal by making these people feel like freaks.

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