Lionel’s Tics

By: Natalie Brethour, Natacha Colimon, Leila Bencherif & Dallas Carver

Throughout our research regarding Lionel’s tics we noticed some interesting information about Tourette’s tics in general. According to the website, tics are described as being this annoying urge or sensation that must be released in order to feel some kind of relief. We noticed how within the novel Lionel mentions the release of pressure once he gives into his tics:

Coney didn’t rate any special consideration from me.
“Eatmeeatmeeatme,” I shrieked again, letting off more of the pressure in my head.
Then I was able to  concentrate.

Another interesting fact that we learned was how there are actually three different tic categories and how in order to diagnose Tourette’s Syndrome you need multiple tics. The components for diagnosis include multiple chronic motor tics and multiple vocal tics in order to be classified as Tourette’s Syndrome. Not to mention that there is no cure for it. Doctors will not prescribe medication unless they think Tourette’s is affecting the persons development.

Lionel’s tics set a tone of humor during the chapter but also a tone of anxiety. As the chapter goes on and the situation with Minna becomes more serious, Lionel’s tics become more and more uncontrollable. Until the time where shear fear becomes apparent for Lionel his tics stop as His brain cannot process the Tics and the fear at the same time. His Tics play an important part in his relationships so far in the story. For Coney and Minna it can bring a kind of stress relief when Lionel says certain funny things or when he’s telling a joke to Minna. There is a small frustration that can arise when they are in stressful situations because it’s no a laughing matter but his tics have made him lovable to the people close to him. To the outside world his tics do not let him relate too well to others. The security guard Albert in the hospital was not understanding towards Lionel and became increasingly frustrated with him because of his tics in the waiting room.

If one of Lionel’s frequent tics, “Eat me!” had been written as a poem it would be a metaphor for Lionel challenging everyone. It’s as if when he uncontrollably blurts out “Eat me” he is really saying to his colleagues “Yes, I am erratic and have compulsive tendencies, but if I wasn’t we might not even be here. So deal with it, and don’t pretend that my behavior doesn’t amuse you and keep you on your toes!” However, not only does he blurt out “Eat Me” when exchanging innocent insults; he says it when he is feeling any heightened sense of emotion. “Eat me, dickweed was almost dislodged from my (his) mouth in the excitement,”(P.8) In this sense “Eat me” is symbolic of his inner child being shining through while out on his stakeout and inviting his colleagues to share the same excitement he has for the work.

Wish we had more time! 🙂





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