Gina M. MartinoZ136934PSYC 315 – Behavior Disturbances in ChildrenDue: December 01, 2008          From Harleen Quinzel to ...
with him. She studies his jokes, tricks, and gimmicks so that she would not be caughtunaware in a counseling session with ...
note to "Feel better soon" and she is back to a life of devotion to the Joker. At one point,when the Joker throws her out ...
less dependent on her early caregivers later in life. An attachment disorder seems to be morelikely than a separation anxi...
If there really was negligence on the part of her parents, a simple intervention orchange in her parents’ behavior could h...
ReferencesDini, P. (2003). The Batman adventures: Dangerous dames & demons. Canada: DC Comics.Lieberman, A. J. (2003). Har...
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Harley Quinn

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What would cause an aspiring psychological/self help author to turn to a life of masked villainy?

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Harley Quinn

  1. 1. Gina M. MartinoZ136934PSYC 315 – Behavior Disturbances in ChildrenDue: December 01, 2008 From Harleen Quinzel to Harley Quinn: The foreshadowing of a name Anyone who has ever heard of Batman knows of his most notorious arch-enemy; theJoker, a costumed villain who is psychotic beyond all help. In fact, one attempt to providehim with help resulted in the creation of yet another costumed villain: Harley Quinn. HarleyQuinn’s real name is Harleen Quinzel and on a gymnastics scholarship, she attended GothamUniversity where she received her PhD in Psychology and Neurological disorders. She wasattracted to the challenge of working with extreme cases and wanted to become famous bywriting a book about the cases she would work on, but she was not so attracted to studying.When her grades dropped, she seduced her college professor for an instant pass to her degree.After college she is assigned to work at Arkham Asylum were she treats the Joker who shegradually falls in love with. When the Joker escaped and was returned bloodied, bruised andbroken by Batman, Harleys animosity towards the caped crusader was sealed. Sheimmediately created her masked persona and returned to Arkahm to break the Joker out.Harley shares the Jokers twisted perspective and sees the crimes they commit as jokes. Shealso develops her own issues, from her tendency to attach herself to abusive people to herinability to adjust to normal society when given the chance. In Harley’s case, one of the mostinteresting cases to study ends up being her own. The Joker is first attracted to Harley for her name, Harleen Quinzel since it bears sucha strong resemblance to the classic zanni character, Harlequin from the Commedia dellArte.Immediately upon her assignment to Arkham Asylum, he tries to seduce her for future use.Harley sees Joker as the perfect subject for a tell-all book so she becomes determined to work
  2. 2. with him. She studies his jokes, tricks, and gimmicks so that she would not be caughtunaware in a counseling session with him. Joker however, was nothing but kind and openwith her, telling her stories that made the young psychologist feel sorry for him, andeventually fall in love with him. Soon she was so distressed by her feelings for her patientthat the sessions turned table and she was laying on the couch as the Joker assessed what shewas telling him. In becoming attached to Joker, Harley takes on several of his traits butwhere the Joker is completely obsessed with the destruction of Batman and attempts to do itin an amusing way, Harley is more interested in the laugh factor, even if it does ruin one ofJokers perfectly orchestrated plans. The Joker is appalled when Harley suggests he "justshoot him" and proclaims that "The death of Batman must be nothing less than a masterpiece.The triumph of my sheer comic genius over his ridiculous mask and gadgets!" While Harleydoes go after Batman, it is because she blames him for the Jokers negligence because theJoker is so obsessed with Batman. She sees Batman as an obstacle between her and herbeloved Mr. J and believes that if she destroys Batman, not only will the Joker no longer haveto obsess over him, but she would also earn his respect and then they can live in blissfuldomesticated contentment. In reality, if Harley were to destroy Batman, the Joker would belivid at her having taken his fun away from him. As stated previously, Harley has a tendency to attach herself to abusive individuals.Two, in particular, stand out; the first one obviously being Joker. Through all the timeHarley spends with Joker, he is always abusive towards her. She tries to be everything theJoker wants, but he uses her as he sees fit and then tosses her out and is always willing to puther life at jeopardy for the sake of his latest scheme. While she envisioned a future ofchildren and contented domestic life with the Joker, he saw her as simply a means to an end.Even when she tells herself over and over again that she will have nothing more to do withthe Joker, after he pushes her out of a five story window, all it takes is a rose and a three letter
  3. 3. note to "Feel better soon" and she is back to a life of devotion to the Joker. At one point,when the Joker throws her out in a puddle of mud with nothing but her mask and a nighty shewas using to try to seduce him, she stumbles upon an equally abusive Poison Ivy. Each time Joker tosses Harley out, she goes running back to Ivy. Ivy is slightly lessabusive than Joker and does not actually put Harley’s life at risk on purpose. Ivy often seesHarley as more of a nuisance however and while she is not particularly vindictive in hertreatment of her, she is negligent and would often prefer if Harley were to leave and neverreturn. The two are constantly planning crimes together, but Ivy is easily exasperated byHarley’s antics. When something Harley does ends up being the cause of a plan failingmiserably or the two landing themselves back in Arkahm, Ivy can become violent andphysically attack Harley. The most annoying thing to Ivy remains Harley’s devotion to theJoker. When Harley comes back to her Ivy is against taking her back because she knowsHarley will go running back to the Joker. Deep down, however, Ivy probably really cares forHarley and always tries to persuade her against returning to the Joker. Now, the shift in Harley’s personality from well-adjusted citizen to masked villain allseemed to have happened in her adult life, but it is very likely that the personality traits thatfacilitated this change began in her childhood. While just barely past adolescence in her timeat Gotham State University, she was already prepared to seduce her professors into giving herthe grades she wanted. Typically, that sort of behavior does not manifest itself overnightunless some trauma caused her to snap. Not much is known about her childhood, but basedon her adult personality, we can assume certain things. Her extreme attachment to Joker and Ivy could stem from a few different childhooddisorders. Most likely as a child, she would have displayed signs of resistant attachmentand/or separation anxiety. She never seems to look back to her family for support however,so there may have been a level of negligence or abuse that made her detach from and become
  4. 4. less dependent on her early caregivers later in life. An attachment disorder seems to be morelikely than a separation anxiety however because Harley is always distressed after she hasbeen kicked out or abandoned, but she does not seem to fear the event occurring again andacts very content when she is actually with Joker or Ivy, though when she is with Ivy, she isoften depressed and missing Joker. When it comes down to it however, Harley just cannotseem to function for long on her own and always needs to have someone to follow. Harley obviously displays signs of antisocial personality disorder, so one mustwonder if she would have been diagnosed with conduct disorder as a child. Everything is ajoke to her as an adult, especially the crimes she and her colleagues commit. Her seductionof her college professor also shows signs of antisocial personality disorder and that particularsituation creates a domino effect as from that point on she is always upholding the lie of herproficiency in psychology to be appointed to such a prestigious position as a psychologist atArkahm Asylum. She apparently maintained a good enough reputation through high schoolto be accepted into Gotham State University, but someone with conduct disorder can have thepublic face that they show to people who are in the position to assess their behavior and grantthem the things they need, and then the face they show to everyone else in which they aremanipulative, aggressive, and cruel. Even in adulthood she only shows affection to Joker,Ivy, and her two “babies” (her pet hyenas, a choice in pets that also indicates destructivebehavior). Finally, Harley displays some symptoms of an anxiety disorder other than separationanxiety. At one point she is released from Arkham and tries to re-enter society. She is doingeverything right, but when she purchases a dress in a department store and leaves before theyremove the security tag, she is paranoid and overreacts when the store alarms go off causingher to automatically regresses into her criminal behavior, which is easily done consideringshe is still carrying her Harley Quinn outfit with her.
  5. 5. If there really was negligence on the part of her parents, a simple intervention orchange in her parents’ behavior could have altered the outcome of Harley’s life.Unfortunately, as simply as this solution sounds, negligence is too often the cause. Parentsrely on television and games as babysitters for their children and do not take active roles intheir children’s lives. Her original goal in life was to be a famous psychological/self helpauthor, so she could very well have been seeking the attention she never received as a child.As it is, later in her life she changes course and her motives become nobler and less psychotic.Oddly enough, when Harleen makes these changes in her personality, she also returns topsychology as a career and lives the double life whereas in the past she was primarily Harley.Harleen sets up a psychologist office and rather than doing it just as a cover, she seems toreally care about the patients she treats, as well as other people she interacts with as her alterego. All these things happen after two things occur, one is a near-death experience, the otheris that she finds someone she cares about and who cares about her in return. In relying onother unstable individuals up until this point, she was unable to find the caring and attentionshe was denied all her life and when she finally finds it, she no longer has need to lash out.Not to say that all any criminal ever needs in order to be reformed is some tender love andcare, but often the absence of such contributes to criminal behavior and facilitates a quickerinitial downfall and a lesser chance for them to change their ways. Perhaps were morechildren given the proper love and attention from the beginning of their lives, the worldwould have a much lower criminal population.
  6. 6. ReferencesDini, P. (2003). The Batman adventures: Dangerous dames & demons. Canada: DC Comics.Lieberman, A. J. (2003). Harley Quinn. Canada: DC Comics.Storrie, P. D. (2002-2003). Gotham girls. Canada: DC Comics.Wicks-Nelson, R. & Israel, A. C. (2009). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.Winick, J. & Chiodo, J. (2001). Harley and Ivy: Love on the lam. Canada: DC Comics.

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