Mental Disorders Depicted in Fiction

Many fiction books depict the main as well as minor characters to suffer from different types of mental disorders. In the most cases their features and personalities are subjected to a stereotypical of mental patients, consequently forming a tighter bound association of being an outcast with a certain state of mind.

Commonly the images from literature show the frightening or repulsive cases of the violent insane characters, but still there are some books where the mental illness receives a fleur of mystery and hidden fascination becoming romanticized.

However, recently the associations protecting the rights of the mentally disordered and intellectually challenged people claim that the portrayals of the mental cases in literature should be accurate and revealing the whole picture of personalities and character traces of people whose mental condition is altered. This could put an end to all the fallacies and prejudices against the mentally disordered people.

If one looks closer, he may be surprised how many of the familiar books tell about different types of mental diseases. The wide variety of fiction plots develop around a character affected by this or that type of a psychic illness.

“Flying over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is probably the most known book concerning that problem written by Ken Kesey being 27 years old. During that period of time he was taking part in a series of the experiments on changing the human’s mind with LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. That novel was actually a home task on the course on writing in Stanford University.

The novel brought Ken Kesey money and fame, but the author hated his child and was in a fury with the success of the filming of his book by Milos Forman in 1975.

“Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen is a memoir of a former psychiatric clinic patient. The parallel world in the mind of the main character is depicted so vividly that it makes the reader take it for the real events happened. It interchanges with the constantly alternating world of the late 60s. It is an acute and trustful witness which helps us to see the problem of mental illness from different angles.

“A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess tells the story of a young cutthroat named Alex. Destruction is far more understandable and close to him than the creation. He commits crime after crime without realizing the the fact that the retribution is always inevitable. But he has to face the consequences of his own evil doths and take the responsibility for them. Turning page after page the reader’s feelings gradually change from disapproval and disgust to pitying this totally lost teenager. The young man who kills other people easily appears to be unable to cope with himself. Transforming fear and denial of the main character’s way of thinking to experiencing sympathy towards him the author gives us the chance to see that people suffering from mental disorders are not monsters and are capable of leading a normal life.

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