This study “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Rain Man” examines the concept of mental illness, sometimes labeled as madness, deviance, or disability, with particular reference to the way that these issues are represented in two films…
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Theoretical debates on the subject are summarised, and the ambivalence of contemporary society towards mental illness is explained in the light of these at times conflicting perspectives. This review, therefore, provides a firm theoretical foundation for analysis of the representation of madness in films.
The empirical part of this study starts in section 3. Two films are selected for close analysis. Section 3 deals with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975) and section 4 deals with Rain Man (Levinson, 1988). In each case, the film is set in its context, and the representation of madness, or mental illness, is carefully analyzed. Evidence from the film is collated and discussed. The reception of each film is also presented and discussed, revealing how these issues were perceived both by audiences and by academic critics. Finally in section 5 the two films and their reception are compared, showing how an evolution in social attitudes towards mental illness has taken place over the last fifty years in the United States, and arguably also across the Western world which is heavily influenced by mass market films such as the two under discussion in this study. The implications of this change for modern Western societies are considered, as well as the limitations of these filmic representations and the considerable tensions and ambiguities which still remain and are carried into the new millennium.
There is a vast literature on the way that madness has been defined and dealt with throughout history, and another huge amount of material available on literary and cinematic representations of madness. It would not be feasible to cover all of this ground and so for the purposes of the present study, a two-part literature review will suffice.
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The main actor, Randle McMurphy, has been serving a jail term after being convicted of raping a 15 year old. However, McMurphy decides to spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital rather than staying in jail and doing heavy manual work. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is set in a mental correctional facility with McMurphy being the main character.
The narration is direct and ambiguous at once. This characteristic is achieved by the use of Chief Bromden, a patient of schizophrenia at Oregon, victim of hallucinations and paranoia asylum, as the narrator. His hallucinations serve as metaphors symbolizing the society as a machine called the Combine that controls the behavior of all humans.
A detailed analysis of mental illness and madness as they are presented within One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Rain Man. Name March/April 2012. Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Literature review 2.1 The history of madness 2.2 Media and the representation of mental illness 3.
The film also showcases the role of nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher in the recovery of the institutionalized patients. The highlight of the entire film revolves around the escape scene, whereby McMurphy convinces a few of patients to escape with him.
When one delves to the very bottom of such a question, they are left with a very unscientific explication that sane is merely a type of definition of behavior exhibited by the majority whereas insane is merely abnormal and/or otherwise non uniform actions exhibited by a smaller minority. As a function of such a simple yet definitive definition, many of the pejorative meanings that have traditionally be associated with an understanding of insanity melt away. Indeed Henry David Thoreau himself stated, “the only place for a just man is a prison” (Thoreau 12).
This representation and comparison are communicated through the role of feelings brought out by other characters, the fishing trip by Mcmurphy and his disciples, the utilization of images and finally foreshadowing. The use of foreshadowing is key in the contributory factor to the creation of Mcmurphy as a figure that resembles Christ Jesus in the bible.
With other five arrests for assault under his belt, he seeks to escape prison life and is sent to the asylum for evaluation.
Mc Murphy's anti-authoritarianism is the fundamental characteristic of his personality and his attitude is of open defiance. In the ward, Nurse Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher) becomes his nemesis.
The author feels that the Nurse character represents the whole community who might also have a similar outlook on the mentally affected people. This might also be considered as a miniature model of the social problem, which remains for a very long time. In the sense the inhumane tendency of certain people towards the vulnerable in the society.
Dale Harding is a Professor: he is intelligent and uses sophisticated language. “Chief” Bromden is a Warrior: he protects those he loves and respects.
8. Nurse Ratched despises McMurphy because he appears to
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