The Ninth Configuration Summary
William Peter Blatty

Everything you need to understand or teach The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty.

  • The Ninth Configuration Summary & Study Guide

The Ninth Configuration Summary

Besides being antimilitary and asking how madness is defined, the novel explores the problematic nature of identity—in keeping with both the 1960s "identity crises" and the later spread of psychotherapy and self-help books. Literally, the whole plot depends on an identity confusion, hinted at in mysterylike fashion throughout the book, and a deliberate masquerade, revealed more suddenly towards the end. The first scene features an inmate presenting himself as Dr. Fell, the in-house physician, complete with stolen clothing. Moreover, role playing, if not actually switching identities, shows up in Shakespearean drama put on by a mental patient, Reno (with dogs as actors), and in Kane's decision to let the inmates act out the movie The Great Escape, "for therapeutic reasons," even ordering the Marines running Camp 18 to dress as Nazis.

Blatty also plays with names and naming throughout the book. Whether jokingly or through insanity, Cutshaw...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The The Ninth Configuration Study Pack contains:
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