it's been cliche to note that "girl, interrupted" is the female version of "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" (starriing jack nicholson in 1975, adapted from ken kesy's countercultural classic in the sixties) or compare angelina jolie as the female jack nicholson (letting alone the facts she has been impeccably beautiful, glaringly rebellious, luringly frail, brilliantly talented at the early age of 24 when this film was made.)...also, it is no fresh news that the whole female crew in this pictures are all lesbians (except winona ryder and brittany murphy, i think), literally a house of sapphos!
let's tackle into the parallels between girl, interrupted and one flew over the cuckoo's nest. the analogous facts are, both novels were about the countercultural sixties (except susanna kaysen only published this memoir in 1993. but kesey's work had roused the waves of youth-identification at its time). both stories are about people who got forcily trapped in the nut house and desperate to break free of THE SYSTEM, and the camaderie between the patients in the process of fighting off the evil system. in a short, the major difference between these two works is about the separate ways man and woman choose to adapt in the course of their rebellions, let's say in a professional terms, the diverse forms of male and female transgressions, which furtherly prove the futility of women's countercultural revolts.
to begin with, let's look into the sketch of one flew over the cuckoo's nest, whose main spirit is to defy the system represented by the psycho-bitch big nurse.both the novel and the movie emphasize upon the protagonist's individualistic backbone through his reckless laughter. we witness a man who falsifies insanity to escape the justice of law, a man who doesn't give a damn to the instuitions of law or medical system, a man who shows his contempts toward the system: he, a sane invidual, could get away from the law by faking insanity successfully, and such action proves the invalidity of mental health instituition. also, he could manage to flee off the nut-house if he doesn't choose to stay there to choke the big-nurse just to avenge his pal, whose last trace of manhood gets devastated by this mighty evil bitch! for this, he gets lobotomized!
as for girl, interrupted, susanna kaysen was really suffering from mental illness, and she chose to follow the will of her parents to sign herself in. she penned diaries criticizing her inmates till she met the volcanic lisa who led her into a series acts of delinquency. the worst things these girls did were just drugging the janitor to steal musical instrument to sing songs to console a girl with disfigured face. despite everyone was so enchanted, in the mean time intimidated by the wild lisa, susanna kept her distance, remaining her detachment from her so-called "good friend". women just hurt each other. lisa humuliated the laxative-addict daisy who sadly hanged herself after the insult. susanna also wounded lisa by announcing "she's already dead on the inside" so she could tear lisa's sharp ego apart then beat her up in the last moment.(retribution, retribution, women are simply mean to each other.)
women, on the contrary, demonstrated their attachment to the system. susanna chose to sign herself in; lisa needed the system to break free and get herself locked off again and again just for some kicks; daisy used it as a middle ground to sustain her abnormal relationship with her father. women, in this case, were no genuine rebels, but lost girls who needed some rebellious excuses to justify their own actions, which had really nothing to do with the countercultural temperament of nineteen sixties, but private chamber-room affairs accelerated by the glossy idea of free love. beside that, there's no really big enemy like cuckoo's big nurse to fight against, and what they fight against is just their jealousy toward each other. (constantly one girl is sour when the other girl gets released from the mental hospital)..in the end, susanna kaysen has to play the goody-goody to get herself released from this nut-house. my question is: what made her consider herself superior to other mentally disordered girls while herself was also an inmate? and why she didn't release this memoir until the 90s? afraid to offend those who used to stay in the same room with her? she's the biggest hypocrite to me! she wrote this memoir and got it published to assert she was a woman with individuality, who lived through this unusual circumstance of life, but wouldn't her case just prove that women prefer to be dominated, lectured, tamed and docilized, and they're not individuals but naughty girls who need some spankings from the big daddy to behave themselves???
taken all together, one flew over the cuckoo's nest is a case of men united together to fight against the vile system, which is embodiment through a misogynistic figure: the big nurse; girl, interrupted is an example of women jeopardizing each other, using up each means, even cooperating with the system to hurt their foes, fellow women. (men here are the lucky bystanders who get many gratuitous laids) quite often, i wonder why counterculture wouldn't work on women. here is a perfect case. women involved in countercultural movements were usually countercultural men's sex slaves, whom the men ditched after sex, and "brilliant woman with the capacity to appreciate the genius man" is just a vacant honor to justify such gender exploitation. what did those women do then? fuck-bodies who occasionally talked politics and culture with the men when they were not too loaded on booze and weeds.