Essay on Analysis of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Essay on Analysis of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Conformity has been the target of many works of literature even before Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye spewed angst about everyone around him being a “phony.” To many people, there are forces in the social order that shape others to fit a certain mold, and one who does not fit the mold will be considered an outcast by society. During the 1960’s, rebellion was a shared act among the majority, including authors and artists; this was due to the conflict in the East as well as the Civil Rights movement. To these people, the government was a criminal, even a machine perhaps, which threatened one’s individuality. This provides some historical context on the background of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ken Kesey, the author, worked in a mental hospital, and he realized that society simply regarded the patients as being “too different” and thus cast them out. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey utilizes both blatant and subtle devices to send his message to the world: there should be an uprising against a society that forces conformity upon everyone.

Bromden’s crazed hallucinations of machinery and mechanisms convey a feeling of confinement, which Bromden attributes to the Combine. Conceptualized by the Chief, the Combine is the sum of oppressive forces in society that force others to conform. This belief of society repressing others can partly be attributed to Chief Bromden’s father and his past. Chief Tee Ah Millatoona married a white woman who made him feel small and act subservient; this submission affects how Bromden views society and the way it destroys the natural order. The government is characterized in the novel as the ultimate form of the Combine and causes tribulation for the Chief. Before the events of th...


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... disputed against. Those who don’t follow the rules, as they are set in stone by a particular group, will be attacked into capitulation. Though this generation seems like one full of freedom and equality, it seems as if those who were once the normal ones have begun to suffer indignation from others. It seems that the main enemy of uniqueness in the present is the idea of political correctness; if it is not acceptable for everyone, then it is not allowed. There is certainly irony in this, because in a world trying to embrace equality, originality is being compromised. Still, many combat this conciliation to preserve the right to not have to conform. It appears that, throughout time, certain people will suffer harassment by higher authorities because they are different from a set norm, but there will also always be those who fight against this in words and actions.

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