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Compare The Ways In Which The Authors Of Two Texts Use Stylistic Features To Position The Reader To Respond To Ideas Common To Both Texts

1163 words - 5 pages

In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the film Girl, Interrupted directed by James Mangold, the authors look at American psychiatric institutions of the 1960s and explore the idea that hospitals act as a microcosm for society, where characters are used as symbols to represent aspects of society. The settings represent conformity and rebellion, prejudice against minorities and authority figures ruling absolutely. Both authors use stylistic features to position the audience to respond to ideas common in both texts.
Within a society, non-conformity and individualism are conveyed in a negative light, which is explored through the institutions of both texts. In Kesey’s novel, ...view middle of the document...

At the beginning, Susanna is placed far right to the screen, while sitting in car with a view of outside the back window. This symbolises Susanna is mentally incapable of controlling her own life, as the view out the window represents her past and those in it are controlling her. As the film progresses, Susanna is placed centre of the screen a demonstration of her not conforming to the stigma of mental illness but allowing herself to recover as her past is not in control. These cases of rebellion, described by Kesey and Mangold, display the idea that within a society, represented through the mental institutions, there are those who do not conform, and that this expression of individuality is confronted by an authority who want to control all people.
An element of society, explored by the authors is the prejudice against minorities. The minority groups conveyed during this time period include racial groups. Racism in the 1960s was a decade of damage between white and coloured people, this element of society is viewed within the Oregon psychiatric hospital and McLean Hospital of Belmont. In Kesey’s text, dialogue is heavily used to display the racism against the minorities. The specific tilting of the “black boys” is used throughout the novel, reflecting the race of the individuals and singling them out, similar to dialogue used against Valerie and coloured nurse in Girl, Interrupted. Through Chief’s narration the audience learn that “[the black boys’] heads bob up and down” due to their white uniform camouflaging against the stark white walls. Additionally, Mangold’s film conveys prejudice against the minorities. Racism caused destruction against the white and coloured communities; this is seen by the audience in the scene where Susanna believes that Valerie “is nothing but a black nurse maid,” showing a comparison to the treating of the “black boys” as their only title by Kesey. The director’s choice of displaying Valerie as a coloured women evoked racism within the constitution, singling her out against the patients who were all white. Kesey and Mangold use dialogue to reflect an element of the racism during the 1960s as the hospitals perform as a microcosm for society.
The authors of both texts explore the idea that authority figures rule absolutely. In Kesey’s novel authority is seen as having positive and negative influences. The microcosmic government, portrayed through Nurse Ratched and the Combine, represent the controlling aspect of authority that encourages conformity....

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