Objective: In order to give an alternative explanation for the phenomena described by ‘theory of mind’, this topic is approached firstly by an examination of literary productions and then by reference to psychoanalysis. Conclusions: In literature there are many references to the apprehension of the other in terms of a mirror image of the self. The difficulty of grasping the other is described in a passage by the author Ian McEwan as ‘the unbearable idea of other minds’. The notion that this difficulty can in part be overcome through both spoken and written language is also salient in the novels examined here. The concept of an entrapment within one’s image of oneself was elaborated by Freud in his notion of narcissism. Lacan further developed this notion as foundational in one’s relation to the other, but clarified that such mirroring relations to others are always imbued with jealousy and rivalry. Lacan’s notion of “paranoid knowledge”, an imagined knowledge of what the other is thinking, is precisely a ‘theory of mind’ that is able to account for the way one subject attempts, and ultimately fails, to read the mind of another.