Interactionist Perspective Essay

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     Theoretical Approaches 2
Many theoretical approaches may be used when assessing the behavior of the characters in “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The characters are thought to be mentally ill, however when examining them through the use of the theoretical approaches one realizes that there may be no problems with the characters at all.
     Nurse Rachet, a head nurse that conducts group therapy and dispenses medications, could be responsible for the character’s behavior. Nurse Ratchet consistently talks to the characters about their supposed problems during the group therapy sessions. She forces Martini and Billy Bibbett to discuss their problems during nearly every group therapy
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The fishing trip may be used when illustrating this aspect of the labeling theory. McMurphy portrays all of the patients as doctors when they arrive to the boat, which reinforces that fact that they too can be whatever they wish to be. McMurphy also treats
Theoretical Approaches 3 the characters as responsible individuals, giving them all tasks to do on the boat. For example, some of the characters were in charge of getting the boat out of the dock, some were in charge of steering, and others were to catch fish. This just goes to show that “a psychiatric label has a life and an influence of its own” (Rosenhan p.5). Depending on the treatment they received the patients reacted in what was deemed to be appropriate behavior; when they are treated with respect they act like normal people, but when they are treated as ill, they react as if they are ill.
     The interactionist perspective can be used to understand other types of abnormal or deviant behavior as well. “Also looking at deviance from the interactionist perspective, David Matza (1964) noted that this movement into deviant subcultures occurs through a process of “drift,” as people gradually leave their old crowd and become enmeshed in a circle of deviant associates” (Adler p.50). This is precisely what happened when McMurphy entered the hospital. At first the other characters were quite uphauled by McMurphy’s behavior, however as time progresses they begin to join McMurphy.
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