Insanity as redemption in contemporary American fiction: by Barbara Tepa Lupack

By Barbara Tepa Lupack

Even supposing insanity is a well-liked topic in literature, modern American writers use that subject matter in a brand new and unusual method, not only to exhibit the results of an unnerving or infuriating truth but additionally to touch upon its hypocrisies.  Barbara Tepa Lupack examines the cultural and literary contexts of 5 significant works of up to date fiction: Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961), Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Jerzy Kosinski's Being There (1971), and William Styron's Sophie's selection (1979).  She indicates that every publication is advanced, with deep roots in American political fact, and every portrays a protagonist who's mad or is taken into account to be mad--but who unearths a unique perception into the hazards of social, political, and cultural conformity.  every one of those characters dwells in a type of desert, starting from the corrupt army base of Pianosa to the plastic suburb of Ilium, from the Nazi dying camps to the ravaged everlasting urban and bombed-out Dresden.  All search affirmation in their authenticity, and all provide social and moral treatments that problem bureaucratic institutions--solutions that quantity to inmates working the asylum.  

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27 The juxtapositions of the arrogance and illogic of military and civilian behavior further confirm the parallels between service life and daily life. Major Major's father, for example, "a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism," specialized in alfalfa, "and he made a good thing out of not growing any. . The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn't earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce" (85).

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization Much Madness is divinest Sense To a discerning Eye Much Sensethe starkest Madness 'Tis the Majority In this, as All prevail Assentand you are sane Demuryou're straightway dangerous And handled with a Chain Emily Dickinson Page ix Contents Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 Chapter 1. Inmates Running the Asylum: The Individual Versus the Institution 7 Chapter 2. Seeking a Sane Asylum: Catch-22 19 Chapter 3. Hail to the Chief: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 63 Chapter 4.

Page 1 Introduction "O! " King Lear Madness has been a familiar motif in literature for centuries, from the myths and legends underlying the works of Homer, the Bible, and ancient Greek tragedy to the novels and poems of the present day. As Marilyn Yalom writes, "The greatest of writersAeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kafkaand their somewhat less celebrated brothersE. T. A. " 1 The contemporary American novelist, however, uses the familiar motif of madness in an unfamiliar way: not just to convey the result of an unnerving, disquieting, even infuriating reality, but also to comment on its hypocrisies.

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