In year 10 I studied ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, a 20th century American novel written by Ken Kesey of which we are (hopefully) going to see a stage production!

The story’s protagonist, although it is not made clear in the film adaptation, is a deaf and mute Native American man in a mental institution, (referred to as ‘Chief’). I apologise as the following is like a 10% spoiler, (not really though). Near the end of the story he reveals to the other main character that he is not actually deaf nor mute. He evidently has some serious mental issues (including paranoia and schizophrenia) and I find it fascinating that for many years he pretends to be deaf and mute. It becomes clear that he has done this because the mistreatment he has received in his life has diminished his confidence, assertiveness and manhood (traits which First Nation men traditionally live by). His self-esteem is so low that he believes he can do nothing but remain silenced.

This post is not entirely relevant to our psychology unit, but I believe that the Chief’s mental situation shows something about how personality can be changed through the environment one lives in and the treatment one receives.

You should all read the book; it is truly thought-provoking and it symbolically represents some dystopian elements which is just superb.