One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 3.1 The context of the book and the film 3.2 The film’s representation of mental illness 3.3 The reception of the film 4. Rain Man 4.1 The context of the film 4.2 The film’s representation of mental illness 4.3 The reception of the film 5. Conclusion Bibliography A detailed analysis of mental illness and madness as they are presented within One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Rain Man.1 Introduction Every human society draws boundary lines between different categories of people, and the fictional works that are produced in each generation both reflect and contest these prevailing categorisations.This study examines the concept of mental illness, sometimes labelled as madness, deviance, or disability, with particular reference to the way that these issues are represented in two films.The literature review in section 2 explores the history of madness, and the extensive theoretical literature on madness as a social phenomenon first of all, and then examines its literary and film representation, showing how films represent tensions and changes in social categorisations.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....
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. 2. Literature review 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. Part one deals with the history of madness and therapeutic treatments meted out in different historical periods, with an emphasis on the last two hundred years. The contribution of psychology and sociology are discussed, and the gradual evolution from an absolute concept of “madness” to a more relative concept of “mental illness” is described. In part two the role of fictional representations of madness is discussed, showing how they both reflect prevailing opinion and in some cases also challenge it. The particular context of modern mass market film is emphasised, with some the underlying theories about its role in contemporary society. The scope of the literature review is to summarise early theories very briefly and concentrate on the period immediately after the Second World War, and on the debates and issues that were important in the specific context
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Every human society draws boundary lines between different categories of people, and the fictional works that are produced in each generation both reflect and contest these prevailing categorisations…
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This review provides a firm theoretical foundation for analysis of the representation of madness in films. 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.
35 pages (8750 words)Dissertation
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