A sarcastic criticism of the science of its day, O Alientista tells the story of psychiatrist Simão Bacamarte, who convinces the town of Itaguaí to pay for an assylum, and begins to fill it with residents he believes insane. While the assylum at first has a few patients, it grows quickly until, after a revolt by many in the town is fought off, it includes 4/5ths of the town! Realizing something is wrong, Bacamarte releases those committed saying that those committed are infact normal. Instead, he concludes, the insane are those who are considered normal or exemplary. Then his friends convince him that he is, in fact, exemplary. . .