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"In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest can the figure of McMurphy be..."
In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest can the figure of McMurphy be said to offer realistic alternatives to the conformity of America in the 1950s?
Author:
Alexander Bartfield
This essay will show that the character of McMurphy in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' (1962) does offer realistic alternatives to the conformity of 1950s America. The essay will achieve this through an examination of the culture of the time, how the author of the novel, Ken Kesey, developed the McMurphy character so as to become a symbol of non-conformity and how through similar developments, the non-conformity of ideals, principals and thoughts became a reality during the 1950s and 1960s of American counter culture. The essay will also demonstrate that although McMurphy can be seen to be ultimate symbol of enforced authoritarian conformity at the end of the novel, the influence of his particular brand of non-conformist ideals continued to be carried forward in those patients who managed to 'free' themselves from the restraints of the institution. Yet the essay will also demonstrate that ultimately the system against which those of the institution are rebelling, continues to survive as the dominant influence in society. At the time during which the novel is set, it is important to understand the social and cultural environment in which a majority of Americans were living, in order to appreciate those social 'norms' against which McMurphy can be seen to be rebelling.


America of the 1950s was a nation undergoing significant economic, social and political changes which, following the Depression of the 1930s and the War years of the 1940s, left the country as a whole in a state of paradoxical flux. This can be seen to have been demonstrated in the election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, who despite turning his attentions to politics following the Second World War - during which he had been a General and Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for the Invasion of Europe in 1945 -...

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essay on In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest can the figure of McMurphy be said to offer realistic alternatives to the conformity of America in the 1950s?
Pages:
10 (2551 words)
Comments:
0
Added:
12/13/2011
Category:
Literature / English
Plagiarism level of this essay is: 89%
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