Acoustic Hallucinations and Racial Disparities: A Psychoanalytic Lacanian Reading of Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange (2000)

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-1-2022


Schizophrenia is a disease that has a powerful stigma, particularly in ethnic communities in the UK. Statistics show as reported by Morgan et al (2005) that Black individuals and ethnic minorities in the UK have a greater propensity of being diagnosed with mental illness. Professor Jonathan M. Metzl (2009), explains that medical psychiatry came to view schizophrenia as a disease rampant mostly amongst Black men. This paper, through a psychoanalytic Lacanian reading, examines the acoustic hallucination representations in Joe Penhall’s Blue Orange (2000) and argues that Christopher’s African-Caribbean ethnicity represents the debatable connection between racism and psychosis. The study further argues that Penhall’s play is not about schizophrenia, but an open criticism of Britain’s Mental Health Policies and a mirror stage of the racial disparities in today’s multicultural climate in the UK. The paper concludes that poverty and socioeconomic disadvantages are the true symptoms of schizophrenia and hence, the psychotic patient is a multiple being.