Manifestation of multiple personalities in Sybil

Sep 18th 2015 at 5:15 AM

Introduction Sybil is a well-known book written by Shirley Ardell Mason in 1973 which gives the story about the treatment of a central character Sybil Dorsett, who is identified with a multiple personality disorders by the psychoanalyst. Sybil is the story of the writer’s own life. Shirley Ardell Mason was born in 1923. She was a psychiatrist-patient in America as well as the commercial artist. She had multiple personality disorders. Sybil was the book that had been fictionalized in the year 1973. It was also made into the movie with the same name “Sybil” where the real identity was concealed.

Biography of Mason

Mason was raised in Minnesota who was the only child of an architect or carpenter “Walter Mason” and Martha Alice. Martha Alice was a strange woman with peculiar ways of living that she was reported with schizophrenia through diagnosis. Mason did her graduation in 1941 from the Dodge Center High School and later joined an art college. Mason started her career as a substitute teacher as well as a student from Columbia University. Her experience with blackouts as well as emotional breakdowns began from a long period of time. Then, she had to go to a psychiatrist “Cornelia B. Wilbur”. The combined session of both of them has become a primary basis of this book. Later, she became an art teacher at Rio Grande College in Ohio. She moved to the season later and then ran the gallery of art for many long years.


Name of Mason is kept confidential by her psychiatrist or therapist for protecting her privacy. At the beginning, she is given treatment for memory loss as well as social anxiety. Then extended therapy begins which further involves hypnosis interview as well as amobarbital. The most fascinating part of the whole story is the multiple personalities that Sybil manifests. There are total sixteen personalities that she demonstrates in different ways. She is encouraged different selves for communication and reveals various information about her entire life.


The story possesses multiple characters where all names of characters are changed for ensuring privacy. The major personality is Sybil Isabel Dorsett in the year 1923. Then there comes Vicky, who presents herself as a young and the sophisticated French girl. Another character is very enthusiastic and short tempered Peggy Lou Baldwin. Then there is the most similar character named Peggy Ann Baldwin in 1926. She is like a counterpart of Lou who is even more fearful. In 1963, she transforms into Mary Lucinda Dorsett who is very contemplative and thoughtful character. Mary Lynn Dorsett is another

personality demonstrated in the story in 1927. She is presented as a painter and emotional writer. Then, there comes a character named Mike Dorset as a carpenter and builder. Nancy Baldwin is interested in the politics. There are other characters such as Ruthie Dorsett, Clara Dorsett. It also demonstrates personalities like Helen Dorsett, Marjorie Dorsett, and the Blonde. The Blonde is the perpetual character who has an optimistic outlook for life. However, Marjorie Dorsett is presented as a vivacious and serene character. Helen Dorsett is the very ambitious girl who is intensely afraid.

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