Comprehending Norman Bates

By: Kh Ishrar

Reintroducing The Character of Norman Bates

norman batesIf Norman Bates is your favorite character from Bates Motel then you would not want to miss this. Those of us, who have been following the show religiously, know that that Norman Bates is not just another kid. He has issues like no other and mostly mommy issues are what we are aware of but there is more to it than just that. Executive Producer of the show, Kerry Ehrin, explains the condition of Norman Bates and what goes into his makings in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

The executive producer begins by explaining the penultimate episode where Norman greets his other self, inside a box. Apparently, it was decided that Norman had to be in a sealed space, like inside a box, while he was introduced to his murderous self, even before the idea of him being abducted came along. norman batesThe thought of Norman Bates being inside a concealed, dark space, when the truth unveiled before of him, was a very appealing thought as there was no hiding or escaping from the monster within Norman anymore.

Kerry explains Norman’s condition by saying, “The interesting thing about the disorder that Norman has, the dissociative identity disorder, is that it’s very much activated by stress. It comes out of children who are repeatedly traumatized, either sexually traumatized or live in a very violent environment. They’re basically repeatedly scared over and over and over again as children to the extent that they literally retreat into themselves and they pull out a different personality that they can put forward to go deal with whatever is scaring them to death. bates motelAnd given that he was so broken down during this experience that he was terrified, he was alone, he was confined, of course that disorder is going to get stimulated and activated in that environment. So it kind of works perfectly that his brain was just starting to live its own life.”

That surely explains a lot. We have seen through the character’s flashbacks that Norman did not have a pleasant childhood, with a verbally and physically abusing father, making Norma’s and his lives miserable. Norman Bates was helpless and defenseless as a child when he had to silently endure the hardships but when he reached a certain age, his inner-sleeping avenger took over and killed his father off.

Norman never had any memory of the times when the inner resistance pushed forward, until now. The night in the box brought realizations into him which he never had before, as mentioned by Executive Producer Kerry. He also mentioned that Norman is actually a good kid and eventhough he realizes that something is anomalous about him, he never pin-pointed the real reason. So, now that he had these memories, there is some kind of ‘awareness’ in him.

norman batesKerry also added that kids, who are traumatized as a child, build a helping figure to put them out of their miseries. In Norman’s case, the ideal figure that helps him tell right from wrong, is none other than Norma Bates, his mother. He assumes that his mother appears (remember the ‘everyone’s mother lives inside them’ speech by Norma during The Box) in every occasion when he thinks something outrageously wrong is about to happen and he lets her take over. In some ways Norman is like a superhero who puts the Norma suit on and corrects injustice, however, his ways may be less heroic than the traditional ones.

Aside from describing Norman’s character, Kerry went ahead about Dylan, who, by the way, is my favorite character. Dylan has always been the normal one in the Bates family and trying to kill his boss for saving his younger brother says a lot about his character. This whole season was a self-defining journey for him and he was at a point when he could just choose to be indifferent towards the needs of his family but he rather decided to be the bigger person, as explained by Kerry.


“Couldn’t it be done without a boy?” I asked peevishly.

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“My son the bank manager!” Angelina said and smiled.

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