Mental illness in American comedy
Elson, Kate Christie
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The goal of this thesis is to explore the subject of mental illness in current American comedy films. Its focus centers upon comedic depictions of two classes of diseases: those within the category of Anxiety Disorders and Clinical Depression and related illnesses. Further, I discuss differences between depictions ofthe two. This thesis also details the cultural importance of the comedic genre in America and the dissonance between the genre's rigid structure, the nature of mental illness and our current lifestyle. It also explains our nation's complex and at times contradictory relationship with mental illness as a cultural and social phenomenon and illustrates how these contradictions play out within the entertainment industry. Lastly, my focus centers upon the ways in which America's dominant ideologies clash with the reality experienced by mental illness sufferers and discusses film's role both in perpetrating pre-existing ideologies and in challenging them by creating new perspectives.
Thesis (M.F.A.)--Boston University