One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Essay

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Essay

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


While we can view One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, from a literal perspective, as a classic story of rebellion and deliverance, we must also view it as a metaphor for one man’s triumph over of “the establishment.” The old saying, “You can’t fight city hall” is challenged, which is represented by the patients rebelling against the hospital staff. Liberals are likely to view this novel as a powerful tale that glorifies the human spirit. Conservatives are more likely to perceive it as an advertisement for social disorder and chaos. I personally thought the book’s most powerful message was that human differences should be celebrated; not censured

I drew similar conclusions from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. From beginning to end, this autobiography is laden with issues of racial prejudice that perpetuate self-doubt and insecurity. As early as the second page, Maya explains how she wished that she would wake up in a white world, with blond hair and blue eyes, claiming that being black was a living nightmare. There are blatant instances of racial tension throughout almost every adventure Maya experiences, including one in which “ the po' white trash children” confronted Momma in front of her store. This scene culminates with Maya’s insightful realization that in spite of the disparity of power between the po'white trash and Momma, Momma had triumphed by maintaining her dignity.

Eric Foner is able to dissect racial issues from an historical perspective, and show how these issues remained at the heart of the controversy surrounding the period of Reconstruction. By blending historical fact with such emotionally charged issues as race and polit...


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...ess wise than true, Who thee abroad expos'd to public view..."

Although part of the Puritan doctrine enforces a deep reverence for responsibility and honesty, at this point in the poem, Anne is solely blaming societal influences for her child's shortcomings.

Joann Robinson faced similar personal struggles and triumphs in a more modern time. A professor at the all-black Alabama State College, Robinson was active in every level of the Civil Rights movement, even before it had officially gotten off the ground. Subsequent to her distressing experience on the bus in 1949, she tried to start a protest but was shocked and disappointed when other members of the Women's Political Council to which she belonged brushed off the incident as "a fact of life in Montgomery." Fortunately, Robinson did not feel defeated by this insipid attitude, she felt inspired by it instead.

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