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Deranged Psychopaths and Victims Who Go Insane: Visibility and Invisibility in the Depiction of Mental Health and Illness in Contemporary Legend

Deranged Psychopaths and Victims Who Go Insane: Visibility and Invisibility in the Depiction of Mental Health and Illness in Contemporary Legend

Chapter:
(p.157) Chapter Seven Deranged Psychopaths and Victims Who Go Insane: Visibility and Invisibility in the Depiction of Mental Health and Illness in Contemporary Legend
Source:
Diagnosing Folklore
Author(s):
Diane E. Goldstein
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496804259.003.0008

In chapter 7, “Deranged Psychopaths and Victims Who Go Insane: Visibility and Invisibility in the Depiction of Mental Health and Illness in Contemporary Legend,” Diane E. Goldstein analyzes the portrayal of mental illness in contemporary legends, focusing on the values inherent in depictions of demented killers, quietly “mad” neighbors, and psychologically damaged victims. Taken as a group and read as parallel texts, Goldstein argues that these narratives construct and present a complex of images of mental health and illness set in changing historical and cultural contexts. Together, she asserts, the narratives create explanatory categories for mental illness and convey popular understandings of “madness”; they equate insanity with visibility of difference; they explore the gendered associations of male aggression and female passivity, and they pinpoint areas of socially tolerable and intolerable deviance.

Keywords:   Contemporary Legend, Mental Illness, Visibility, Gender, Mental Health

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