There are many influences in our lives that will have a great impact on our successes and our failures. Depending on what environment we are born into and the immediate people surrounding us, who are responsible for our outlook on life, our destiny is already decided.
When comparing the characters of Charlotte Vale and Norman Bates the influences in their lives by their mothers has devastating effects on both characters, both suffer from a mental illness. Charlotte Vale suffers from near-crippling depression and Norman Bates from schizophrenia.
Charlotte's depression with the help of a psychiatrist, Dr Jasquith, is treated in a sanitarium in Vermont. Here Charlotte faces her demons, her lack of self-confidence, loneliness and shame at her appearance. She searches for love and independence that she is unable to find at her home due to her overbearing mother.
To combat the pain Charlotte immerses into her unconscious mind and recalls a time when she is beautiful and in love while travelling with her mother on the open sea. But then reality comes back and her conscious mind brings back the demons. After a number of weeks Charlotte improves and by the end of her stay at the sanitarium has found new strength to continue.
On the other hand Norman Bates, who has been totally dominated by his mother until her death, is a person who has two personalities. The authoritative and possessive old woman has made her son into a frustrated man who has never been able to accept her death.
Norman's first personality is a shy, quiet spoken man. The second personality is an evil, bad tempered old woman, his mother. When he kills it is his mother's personality who kills. Normans characters are totally controlled by a domineering mother.
Unlike Charlotte, Norman is never able to shake off the past. His bedroom still contains remnants of his childhood. In his subconscious mind he is still the little boy who is obedient towards his mother.