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5 March 2014

The NS Competition No 4313

By New Statesman

Set by Leonora Casement
You were asked to send us reports by social workers about a Shakespearean character of your choice.

This week’s winners
We were amazed by the high quality of the entries this week. Clearly a lot of hard work went into your reports. (Do some of you have social work experience?) Hon menshes go to Adrian Fry (“Lear, a vulnerable senior, has rapidly undergone the lifestyle downshift from patriarchal monarch to rough sleeper”) and K M Smith (“J’s wealthy, socially prominent but dysfunctional family has raised her in an atmosphere of homicidal violence”). The winners get £25 each, with the Tesco vouchers going, in addition, to C J Gleed.

Report: case 1483
RP, 31, is a white male who is currently employed as a monarch. He has no financial difficulties and is a castle-owner. He suffers from a degree of kyphosis and has anger management problems regarding his disability, mainly in terms of self-esteem: he had no physical difficulty with the large axe that he brought to the interview. (NB: new filing cabinet required.)

His family history is troubled. His father was dismembered post-battle, while his brother died in an alcohol-related incident. However, RP has developed coping strategies to deal with these issues. His interpersonal communication skills are striking and his mode of discourse is persuasive.

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending that he should be granted custody of his two nephews. (This application is now being dealt with by my colleague Mr S, as I am taking a long-term leave of absence.)
C J Gleed

Report: Richard P
Richard P suffers from extremely low self-esteem on account of his hunched back and has persistent feelings of being “rudely stamp’d”, “deformed” and “unfinish’d”. He has never had a relationship with a member of the opposite sex; even talking to wanton, ambling nymphs is something that he finds exceptionally challenging, so any suggestion of strutting before them is quite out of the question.

Richard finds it difficult to manage his anger and demonstrates a wide range of psychopathic traits including glibness, grandiosity, manipulativeness and a lack of remorse. He purports to be fond of his family, often chuckling to himself over a planned gift to his brother of a butt of Malmsey wine and the playroom he is fitting out for his two young nephews, but Richard needs careful and continuous monitoring by both police and social services – he may prove a villain.
Rob Stuart

Report: Mr Hamlet
Mr Hamlet is a troubled young man who came to the attention of social services when he claimed to see the ghost of his father. Clearly under the malign influence of the current “Scandi-noir” craze, he also claims to be the prince of Denmark, although he speaks perfect English with a marked Geordie accent.

In interviews, he becomes angry at any mention of his mother but there is obviously a powerful Oedipal attraction. This is reinforced by his hatred of his stepfather. He says the “ghost” urges him incessantly to murder the “king”. It is clear he is incapable of such an act.

He terminated his most recent interview by adopting a dramatic pose and declaiming, “The rest is silence,” falling from his chair, pretending to be dead. He has not spoken since. Without recourse to ECT, sectioning will have to do.
Keith Giles

Report: Mr Andronicus
I have met Mr Andronicus and his friend Tamora twice and I think it would probably not be too judgemental to say that both may be experiencing difficulties in maintaining stable, mutually rewarding personal relationships.

Tamora’s adoption of a “Goth” identity indicates that she may not have completely outgrown certain adolescent conflicts, though her somewhat defensive demeanour – perhaps it is the murder and dismembering of her last two social workers – leads one to suspect that she might be resistant to exploring these issues through counselling.

On the surface, Mr Andronicus is more amenable. He describes Tamora’s children as “nice as pie” and “so sweet. . . [he] could just eat them”. Yet there is something about him that makes one hesitant to recommend him to be the first parent-facilitator of one of our new positive parenting courses.
David Silverman

The next challenge
No 4316 By Leonora Casement

We want answers to any well-known literary question of your choice. For example: “What’s in a name?” “O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” “Will no one tell me what she sings?” “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”
Max 150 words by 20 March
comp@newstatesman.co.uk

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