'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Introduction (1 525 words) The ground breaking novel ''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” written by Ken Kesey, the Pied Piper of the psychedelic era, was published in 1962 and is a story set in a mental institution which is narrated by the gigantic but docile half-Native American inmate "Chief" Bromden. It focuses on the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, who faked insanity to serve out his prison sentence, for statutory rape, in the hospital. The head administrative nurse, Mildred Ratched, rules the ward with an iron fist and emasculates the male patients by prying on their weaknesses. Kesey's use of symbolism in the novel created a critical and allegorical tone; the hospital is presented as metaphor for the oppressive society of the late 1960s and the Beatnik era that saw many rebel against the strict social constructs. The characters in the novel challenge the social norms of gender as the Nurse epitomises the expression of sexual dominance as the ultimate goal and denounces repression through instilling fear in others, that ultimately sees the emergence of Randle McMurphy as the antihero as he embodies the nature of a rebel and opposes social constructs of the 1960’s. An antihero is a protagonist who is the opposite of a traditional hero ore, who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure. The anti-hero may be incompetent, unlucky, clumsy or clownish, such as someone who displays a lack of willingness to perform a task considered to be heroic. In Ken Kesey's novel the reader can see how McMurphy is a prime example of an antihero because his strength embodies antiheroic devotion to the other acutest on the psychiatric ward. His actions transform him from an arrogant, gambling fool to his act of heroism; trying to strangle Nurse Ratched. All of his actions, minor and major, lead to his self-destruction because his rebellious nature was
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