Any text, despite an appearance of neutrality, is underpinned by specific discourses. Throughout the novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest written by Ken Kesey, and the poem Advice to Young Ladies crafted by A.D. Hope, there is evidence to suggest that the discourses represented by the characters in both text unveil the ways discourses of conformity underpin the characters’ actions, perceptions and motives, as well as inviting and silencing beliefs, attitudes and values of individualism. The author and poet are able to strongly convey their beliefs about the importance of individuality to the reader from their point of view. The three dominant discourses that both the novel and poem share and represent are: conformity, sexuality and Christianity. These values are privileged by the novel and challenged by the poem.
The dominant discourse of conformity in the novel is characterised predominantly by obeying the rules described by Kesey. At the start of the novel, all the acute and the silenced chronic patients conform to the rules of Nurse Ratched, the main antagonist, before the arrival of McMurphy. This is demonstrated by the following quote: “…she blows up bigger and bigger, big as a tractor...” (p.5). McMurphy is portrayed as a Jesus figure in the novel. After he arrives, he begins to take control of the patients. He begins to take the role of leader. Kesey has foregrounded the character of McMurphy to be different thus creating a binary opposite that is represented in the novel. Kesey shows the binary opposites as being good versus evil. The former is represented by the con-man, McMurphy, and the latter is represented by the Head Nurs...
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...ce Of being a woman genius a crime” (Line 25). Clearly this demonstrates that women can not be superior to men. Furthermore, Postumia’s life was being torn from her is quite distinct in lines 19 to 20: “A vestal virgin who scandalized that town Had fair trial, then they buried her alive?” Obviously this was the religious belief that the Vestal Virgin has because she did not conform to the Vestal Virgin. In conclusion, this complements the religious discourse in Kesey’s novel.
From the arguments and supporting evidence presented throughout the essay, it can be established that the novel and poem, both contain the conformity discourse. The novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey and the poem Advice to Young Ladies, crafted by A.D. Hope, endorses conformity, sexuality and Christianity discourses presented; the poem differs by challenging them.
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