One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Analysis

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Throughout the sixties , America- involved in the Cold War at this time- suffered from extreme fear of communism. This caused numerous severe changes in society ranging from corrupt political oppression, to the twisted treatment of the minority. Published in 1962, Ken Kesey ’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest , manages to capture these changes in the variety of ways. Kesey’s novel incorporates some of the main issues that affected the United States during the early and mid 60s. The government had no limits and was cruel to those who did not fit into society, including the mentally ill. The wrongful treatment of the people caused an eruption of rebellion and protest- thus the Beatnik era was born. The novel, written during this movement, sheds light on Kesey’s personal opinion on this chaotic period in US history . The treatment of mentally ill patients, the oppressive government, and uprising in the 1960s inspired Kesey while writing his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. During this era where war and communist spies were prominent, the American Government was in a “Big Brother” state; meaning that they were watching over the people very closely. As a result, numerous innocent citizens were investigated by the CIA and accused of being anti-american (2facts) . While writing his novel, Kesey was able to incorporate this theme through his characters. Nurse Ratched, better known as “The Big Nurse”, represents the controlling and all-knowing state that the government was in during this era. Nurse Ratched would accuse and Pagan 2 interrogate men in the institution and force them to reveal any secrets they withheld from her. By doing so, she would be able to suppress any corruption in the institution and make everything seem peac... ... middle of paper ... ...s a time where the people were not afraid to uproar against controlling institutions. During this time period, a common hatred against conformity was shared throughout the public- these people were later to be known as beatniks ("Beatniks and Hippies"). Kesey himself being considered one of these “hippies” tries to portray his radical views through the character McMurphy. He represents the leader of the psychiatric ward, and has the ability to actually see the corruption occurring in the institution. He seeks to rally up the other patients through rebellious acts in order to break free of their oppression of Nurse Ratched (Kesey). Kesey is able to incorporate the anti-conformists ideology through McMurphys’ rebellious nature in the mental ward, and therefore is able to truly capture the anti-materialistic and anti-government tone of the time period of the 1960’s.
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