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The Painted Bird: Stigma and Mental Illness

The Painted Bird: Stigma and Mental Illness: As the boy in Jerzy Kosinski's 1965 book, The Painted Bird, wanders about Eastern Europe fleeing the Nazis who have entrapped his Polish parents, he witnesses an event that is apocryphal in its depiction of stigma. He comes upon a professional bird catcher who paints a captured bird with many colors, and then releases it to the sky. The boy watches as the soaring, painted bird comes upon its flock and is mercilessly attacked by its own. The bird plummets, dead, to the earth below.


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