Persecution Explored in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Trial

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The Oxford Dictionary defines institution as “a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose”. On the contrary, an individual is defined as “a single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family”. Institutions are organizations created by groups of individuals in order to provide social order and guidelines for a community. Although institutions are intended for common good, they can ignore, manipulate or even enslave individuals. In corrupt institutions, authoritative figures maintain power by oppressing and persecuting those who threaten their authority and are even willing to exterminate individuals to protect the institutions. There are two types of individuals whom institutions typically persecute: those who cannot be molded into the ideal citizen; and those who speak out against the institution. Throughout history, authoritative figures and controlling institutions have taken extreme measures to stifle the individuals, threatening their power. For example, the German Nazi regime sought to create a perfect society by eradicating individuals it deemed contrary to the model Aryan race. The result was Nazi control of the lives of individual citizens across Europe and systematic murder of more than six million people who either spoke out against the regime or were considered unworthy of life within the corrupt insitution of Nazism. How did so few within the corrupt Nazi regime control the life and death of millions of individuals? In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Trial, Ken Kesey and Franz Kafka describe the threat corrupt institutions in modern day society pose to the individual. The authors explore the dehumanizing and conforming effects of societal institutio... ... middle of paper ... ... Studies 46.1 (2011): 210+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. . Sherwood, Terry G. "Kesesy, Ken." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Vol. 1. Detrot: Gale, 1973. 167. Print. Sokel, Walter H. "Franz Kafka." European Writers. Ed. George Stade. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992. 847-75. Print. European Writers. Ward, Bruce K. "Giving Voice to Isaac: The Sacrificial Victim in Kafka's Trial." Shofar 22.2 (2004): 64+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. . Sutherland, Janet R. "A Defense of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NEst." English Journal 61.1 (1972): 28-31. JSTOR. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. .

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