Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

From hero of the counterculture to risk assessment : a consideration of two portrayals of the “psychiatric patient”

Cummins, ID

From hero of the counterculture to risk assessment : a consideration of two portrayals of the “psychiatric patient” Thumbnail


Authors



Abstract

This article is based on a comparative thematic analysis of two novels that explore the experiences of institutional psychiatric care. Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a classic of modern U.S. literature. It is argued here that Kesey’s representation of the “psychiatric patient” as rebel was not only a reflection of some the changing societal attitudes in postwar America, but it also helped to shape them. The challenge to the asylum system was thus cast in terms of questions of the civil rights of a marginalized group. The main themes of the novel reflect those of protesters against the abuses of the asylum system—the poor physical conditions, the social isolation of the patients, poor physical care and abuse, and the use of ECT and psychosurgery. The rebellious spirit of Kesey’s work is contrasted with a recent novel—Nathan Filer’s 2012 award-winning The Shock of the Fall. In Filer’s work, the optimism and challenge to authority has dissipated to be replaced by a resigned fatalism reflecting the current crisis in mental health services.

Citation

Cummins, I. (2016). From hero of the counterculture to risk assessment : a consideration of two portrayals of the “psychiatric patient”. Illness, Crisis and Loss, 26(2), 111-123. https://doi.org/10.1177/1054137316649734

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2016
Online Publication Date May 16, 2016
Publication Date May 16, 2016
Deposit Date May 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2016
Journal Illness, Crisis and Loss
Print ISSN 1054-1373
Electronic ISSN 1552-6968
Publisher SAGE Publications
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 111-123
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1054137316649734
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1054137316649734
Related Public URLs http://icl.sagepub.com/

Files

From%20Hero%20of%20the%20Counterculture%20to%20Risk%20Assessment[1].pdf (559 Kb)
PDF






You might also like



Downloadable Citations