What Is Mental Illness In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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The plot of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest fluctuates between the individual and the role of authority during the 1960’s. The film questions the amount of power that authorities have and highlights what happens when authorities have too much power. In Dedria Bryfonski’s book, Mental Illness in Ken Kesey’s Over Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, she writes that “evil is not exercising free will and that evil is always the thing that seems to control” (Bryfonski 38). In the film, Nurse Ratched is an authoritative figure who is in charge of the ward that McMurphy is in and she has full control of all of the patients. She dictates when they take their medication, what they can and cannot do, and how they live their lives. This renders as an issue because…show more content…
McMurphy is not really mentally unwell, but he put on an act to avoid hard labor for the crime that he committed. This impels the question of the definition of mental illness. According to Corey Keyes article, “Mental Illness and/or Mental Health? Investigating Axioms of the Complete State Model of Health,” he explains how it is important to clearly explain the difference between mental illness and mental health as they are not mutually interchangeable. Mental health is generally associated with emotional, psychological, and social well-being, while mental illness is related to having major depressive episodes, generalized anxiety, or panic disorders (Keyes 539). According to Keyes, some people assume that mental health is the opposite of mental illness. They believe that if someone is cured of their mental illness, then they will have their mental health back. However, this is not the case as mental health does not necessitate that one is mentally well. It just correlates to how one feels emotionally. By carefully defining the two terms, people whose mental health is underway can also get the help that they need. Just because they are not suffering from a mental illness does not mean that they are exactly healthy, either. People who have mental health issues also need all the help that they can get. Relating to the…show more content…
Under the scope of psychiatric disability, mental illness is defined as such when the illness greatly impedes with one’s performance in activities such as communicating, working, and learning. Because of this definition, people suffering from mental disorders are allowed to apply for social security disability. In Allison Ruby Reid-Cunningham’s journal article, “Anthropological Theories of Disability,” she explains how “people with disabilities and mental illnesses are often labeled “the other,” somehow separate from people who are not considered to have disabilities” (100). The idea of having a mental illness as the other is seen in Shutter Island. In Shutter Island, when Teddy first enters the island where the mental institution is located, he sees a woman with no teeth and little hair. When she smiles at him, he shudders at her appearance. This is because he views her as different from himself due to her appearance and behavior. This is further seen in the movie when Teddy goes into Ward C, where the most deranged prisoners are. He sees George, who is locked in the ward’s lowest floor. Teddy is scared of George because he appears creature-like with a hunched back and crooked teeth. Teddy once again views George as the other because of his behavior and appearance. This relates to how society sees people with mental illnesses. They see

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