Volume 3, Issue 6, page 11
OU P. By ARTHUR
11. PATTERN OF HYSTERIA
T BECOMES more and more certain that there
is something within Lonnie that seeks expression. It's the reason for his laughter. Now we watch it build. It's related to
several things. It's related to lack of co-ordination. It's related to misdirected impulses. It's related to the mental switchboard.
All this we know. So it seems we should know
what to do about it. Yet the report on Lonnie
says there has been no improvement. Nothing
has actually been accomplished.
It starts with music. We watch it begin on
the face of the boy who must yearn to express,
if we can at all read the signs. The music is
a record player production. It's simple music,
to which the children sing, after their several fashions, and sway, after many fashions,
including the butterfly swaying of Lissa.
Lonnie's face insists that he likes music.
There is a glow in his face, an eagerness.
There is fear, too; fear that's incomprehensible if you're seeing Lonnie for the first time.
The music starts. It's a combination of
music on the recorder and pointing out something the recorder says, on a big chart. Most
of the children can do it, and look forward to
the opportunity to try. They know what's coming. They're not supposed to know anything -- at
least very little -- yet they do know.
There is a simple sentence, a singing sentence, and all the children respond. The urge
is in Lonnie to respond. You can see it stirring in him. It's like something under the
surface, trying to rise, to become visible.
Only with Lonnie it seeks to become audible.
Lonnie wishes to sing. There is the feeling,
watching Lonnie, that he is straining. He
looks at the record player. He listens. He
looks at the teacher, mutely asking, prbmisM~gg . but we don't know what he is doing. A
smile is on his face which doesn't extend to
his eyes. He seems about to join in the singing. Only he doesn't. If he strains, it is
away down deep, so that you can't even be sure
that he feels any strain, or strains to bein
straining. But there is something, if you've
watched Lonnie before now, trying to make up
his mind about something.
Lonnie is on the verge of laughter. He
strains, or seems to strain, to hold it back.
This Lonnie is the boy who looks at himself in
the mirror (or did, often, until his mother
put cellophane on the glass) and laughed at
himself, and laughed, and laughed, and clawed
himself with his fingernails.
He seems to feel that he shouldn't laugh.
So he holds back the laughter. It is a clear<
struggle. But you can't see any part of it;
you can only feel it, and you may be guessing,
Lonnie doesn't get anything out. No tune
no words, nothing. All the others have managed to follow the music. But Lonnie is clearly and fully aware that he hasn't made anY
sort of sign. Now there is another sign. Lonnie shakes his head. How terrible is that mute
sign of frustration, or determination, whatever it is. It makes even Lonnie's classmate
T 11... S 1
J. BURKS WAat east Be Stare
but the. gene& ~a.agediee.?
This is a continuation of the series in which Mr. Burks analyzes
life in the Child Guidance Center,
Lancaster, Penn. These are only a
few of oue estimated 4o0,u
'genetic tragedies', one or mare
;F:.:I!!44;r of whom could be next doort to y youeven inyour own home.