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One Flew East, One Flew West... | by tj.blackwell
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One Flew East, One Flew West...

...One flew over the cuckoo's nest.


Psychiatric hospitals appear as popular narrative settings throughout 20th century literature. Historically they have been treated as a way to cordon off uncomfortable social problems and shut away the people whom mainstream society cannot accommodate.


Literary examinations of asylums and their patients often explore notions of how we define sanity, and the arbitrary grey area where overconfident medical diagnoses draw the line between a normal mind and a "defective" one. Ken Kesey's famous novel was a notable critique of the mental ward, looking upon it as an instrument of oppression comparable to a prison. For some people, however, these institutions were a place of safe refuge in the midst of a confusing and scary wider world.

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Taken on May 24, 2011