Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered one of the seminal works of 1960’s American literature. The unique components and distinctive features used to portray themes and ideas of Kesey’s in the novel which account for its high regard include: characters and language devices. Individuality is a key concept that constantly features in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest through themes such as individuality and free expression and society’s destruction of individuality. This idea was important in the 1960’s America as it was a time that saw the Re-emergence of Individualism. Oppression is another theme in the novel with the institution being much alike the oppressive American society. Along with these, Kesey's thoughts on women is also an idea that acts as parallel between the novel and the American society of the 1960s as it was a time of women’s liberation.
Kesey effectively utilises language techniques to assist in developing his theme of society’s destruction of individuality and in turn setting the novel as an influential piece. The metaphor of the Combine is an example of a link between the novel and the counter culture movement of the 1960’s. The idea of the combine as a dominating force which strips people of their individuality and pressures them to conform to socially constructed norms is much alike the force which had to be confronted by the members of the counter culture movement. In the novel the responder is made aware of how the institution completely destroys the patients individuality through symbolism in Chief Bromden’s dream. “there's no blood or innards falling out like I was looking to see-just a shower of dust and ashes, and now and again a piece of wire or glass." The rust that pours out when Blastic is cut open symbolises that the institution has turned him into a robot which just conforms; society has destroyed his humanity as well as his life. The institution acts as a microcosm for the whole 1960’s society and by...
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