He sees nothing unusual in this activity

From a 1943 medical history of Jack Kerouac, then a twenty-one-year-old serving in the U.S. Naval Reserves. The file was included in about 1.2 million personnel files of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps members released in June by the National Archives (via Harper's, Vol. 311, Iss. 1865, October 2005, p. 18)—

Habits: Enjoys reading and writing. He did enjoy athletics very much and practiced regularly. More recently, however, is interested chiefly in writing. Has drunken sprees once or twice a year lasting about one week.

Mental Exam: Cooperative and inclined to exaggerate. He imagines in his mind whole symphonies; he can hear every note. He sees printed pages of words. Attention easily held, gained, and directed. Memory good.

4/2/43 Military: Very poor adjustment. “I just can’t stand it; I like to be by myself.” He was in the Merchant Marine and was fired because he was bucking everybody.

4/23/43: Patient’s father states that his son has been “boiling” for a long time. Has always been seclusive, stubborn, resentful of authority and advice, unreliable, and unstable.

5/8/43 Social Data: Interested in world affairs and political theory. Is gregarious. Has many boyfriends. Mother believes him heterosexual but interest in girls shallow. Somewhat stubborn. Broods when unhappy or lonely.

Sexual: Has masturbated up until one year ago. Enjoys rather promiscuous relationships with girlfriends and is boastful of this.

5/27/43: Patient states he believes he might have been nervous when in boot camp because he had been working too hard just prior to induction. He had been writing a novel in the style of James Joyce about his own hometown, and averaging approximately sixteen hours daily in an effort to get it down. This was an experiment and he doesn’t intend to publish. At present he is writing a novel about his experiences in the Merchant Marine. There seems to be an artistic factor in his thinking when discussing his theories of writing and philosophy.

6/2/43: A review of this patient’s health record reveals that at recruit examination he was recognized as sufficiently abnormal to warrant trialduty status, and that during this period, neuropsychiatrie examination disclosed auditory hallucinations, ideas of reference and suicide, and a rambling, grandiose, philosophical manner. This patient appeared to be restless, apathetic, seclusive, and described experiences that were interpreted to be auditory and visual hallucinations. The diagnosis Dementia Praecox was established and the patient was transferred to this hospital.

At this hospital, patient denied ever having had hallucinatory experiences, explaining the previously described experiences as “echo” effects in his mind of conversations he had had previously.

According to the patient, he had made very poor adjustment in school and in work. He impulsively left school because he felt he had nothing left to learn; and then left, just as precipitously, various jobs, such as sportswriter for a local newspaper, because he felt too stilted and held back. Without any particular training or background, this patient, just prior to his enlistment, enthusiastically embarked upon the writing of novels. He sees nothing unusual in this activity.

On June 2, 1943, the diagnosis was changed to Constitutional Psychopathic State, Schizoid Personality, it being unanimously agreed that this patient has shown strong schizoid trends that have bordered upon but have not yet reached the level of psychosis, but which render him unfit for service.

The patient is considered fully competent to be discharged into his own custody. He is not considered to be a menace to himself or to others and is not likely to become a public charge.