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Questioning Our Assumptions of Sanity

Questioning Our Assumptions of Sanity

Paper instructions:

Watch one of the two films listed below and use these set of guidelines to

frame your paper.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Directed by Milos Foreman, and

starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher or The Elephant Man (1980),

Directed by David Lynch, and starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, and Anne


(a) Introduction (1 page): Briefly introduce the film, your initial reactions, and

your thesis/argument.

(b) Body (2-3 pages): The questions below were developed to help guide the

body of your paper. Depending on the film you watched, some questions will

resonate more than others. If there are other areas you wish to discuss, feel

free to do so.

? Briefly describe how sanity and insanity are portrayed.

? Do the definitions of sanity and insanity match those you learned or

those included in the text and acceptable by the profession?

? Are sanity and insanity real, socially constructed, or both?

? In what way does the central character defy what is sane or insane?

? Describe how secondary characters relate to central character.

? How is therapy represented in the film?

? How are institutions represented in the film?

? How is authority represented in the film?

? How did you feel about the film’s conclusion?

? Which of the seven unifying themes in psychology appear most relevant

in the film and why?

? A central theme in both films is the struggle between the sane individual

vs. the insanity of institutions. Do you agree? Why/Why Not?

(c) Reflection (2-3 pages): In what way does this film contribute to your own

understanding of what is normal? Was there anything about the film that

surprised you, enlightened you, or made you question your assumptions about

what you believe to be normal/abnormal behavior?

(d) Conclusion (1-2 pages): Considering what you learned by completing this

assignment, how would you diagnose the central characters of the film? Close

the paper by summarizing the main points of your paper.

(e) References (1 page): There are a number of chapters in the text with

interesting material to work with, including, but not limited to, Chapters 1, 3, 12,

14, 15, 16. Make sure that you reference all works in the body of your paper in

addition to the required reference page. I expect 5-10 references.

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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