Reading Responses: Eastern State Penitentiary: Eat your heart out, Dr. Foucault
Eastern State Penitentiary opened its steel doors in 1829 and, before closing in 1971, welcomed thousands of inmates. It served as a “new” kind of reform which perhaps a fellow like Dr. Michel Foucault could appreciate. Inspired by Quakers, the prison’s infrastructure was built upon the notion of…
This reminds me of a film of Leonardo DiCaprio named Shutter Island. It tells a story happened on a shutter island in the Pacific Ocean which is built into an Ashecliffe Hospital. To some extent, the hospital is a prison, where people are believed criminally insane and are locked,isolated and cruelly treated by those so called “doctors”. In the film Dicaprio acted as a federal marshal who is assigned to do some investigation on the shutter island, however, at last he was told by Dr. Cawley , the head of the institution that all happened around him is false and carefully designed. Everything is a kind of treatment, for Dicaprio himself is in fact a patient with heavy mental illness who have lived on the shutter island for more than ten years. At the end of the film, Dicaprio lost in confusion and begins to doubt whether he is normal or insane.
The movie can be read as an interesting story of a madman, but also can be considered as revealing the unimaginable power of the autiority which can even discipline a normal people to believe himself a madman.
There is a famous Chinese poem with only one word
What is life?