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In the film Misery, based on a novel by Stephen King, a novelist is noted for one particular character, Misery Chastain, a character he has killed off in his best selling book. He is traveling through the mountains in the dead of winter and has a traffic accident, driving his car off the road where it is not likely to be seen. He is found by a woman named Annie Wilkes, his number one fan, who recognizes him immediately. She is a former nurse and takes him to her remote home, where she undertakes to nurse him back to health while at the same time regaling him with praise for the books he has written. Her effusion is excessive and makes him uncomfortable, and he would like to make a call to tell others where he is. She will not allow this, making excuses. In time, he comes to accept her adoration of his work and lets her read his latest manuscript. When she finds that he has killed off her favorite character, Misery, she turns savage, torturing him, making him completely dependent on her, and preventing others from finding him. She is revealed to be a woman who has previously been accused of killing patients in a hospital where she worked as a nurse. Ultimately, the man must fight back and destroy her in order to get back to civilization.
The character displays elements of the borderline personality as well as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
- Annie Wilkes is presented as an obsessive-compulsive personality in the following ways:
- How she keeps her home
- In the way she becomes dedicated so thoroughly to this writer and his works (and especially to the one character of Misery, with whom she identifies so closely)
- In the expectations she has placed in the past on her patients and now on this particular patient.
- Annie Wilkes is seen as obsessive-compulsive in the way everything has to be just so, from the books she reads to the way her house is kept.
She has a variety of knick-knacks everywhere, and each must be in its proper place. She wants every element in life to be in its proper place, and she becomes incensed when it is not so. She expects the Misery books to be part of her life always, and her reaction to the news that this will no longer be so is violent and shows how dependent her personality is upon the imposed order of these novels. Her captive is expected to live up to all her idealized images of him as a writer, as a human being, and as a patient, and any deviation from the norm she sets is met with violent confrontation. Presumably she was also disappointed in the reality of the patients she killed-they failed to live up to her expectations of them as patients and did not do as well in treatment as required, so to restore order she killed them.