Madness in the Society: Analysis of ‘One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest’

  • Irine Maria Joy Assistant Professor Department of English Sahrdaya College of Advanced Studies Thrissur, Kerala, India

Abstract

Sanity is what society projects it to be, and which isn't true always. Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest stands against the institutionalised mental illness in hospitals. The novel can be analysed as a metaphor of nineteenth century America when asylums were a place where non-conformists of the society are sent to. Foucault's Madness and Civilization discusses these notions clearly along with the interconnected themes of power, insanity and rebellion. The patients in the asylum may seem insane, but the idea of insanity is often misinterpreted and misrepresented by the society Madness is connected to correction rather than sickness. Therefore, the techniques used to heal the illness are far more unethical. This paper is an observation of insanity or madness in the society. It also unravels the concept of ‘unreason’ by Foucault in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The social and historic reading of the whole text explores Anti-Conformism (Beat Generation) and Counter Culture Movement (Hippie-culture) in America i.e, Individual v/s Society.

References

Bělíkova Andrea. "An Analysis Of Authority, Insanity And Rebellion As The Major Themes In Ken Kesey’S One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest". Tomas Bata University In Zlin CzechRepublic,2017. https://digilib.k.utb.cz/bitstream/handle/10563/40020/b%C4%9Bl%C3%ADkov%C3%A1_2017_dp.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Tanner, Stephen L. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Viva Modern Critical Interpretations: Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, edited by HaroldBloom, Viva Books Private Limited, 2007, p. 125. Gutting, Gary, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault. 2nd ed., Cambridge UP, 2005. p.62.
"Contrasting Portrayals of Mental Illness (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Girl, Interrupted)."Bodies of Film, Kelsey Kline,7Apr.2013, justanotherbodiesoffilmblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/32/. Accessed 17 May 2019. Swaine, Jon. "How 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' Changed Psychiatry." Telegraph.co.uk, 1 Feb. 2011, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8296954/How-One-Flew-
Over-the-Cuckoos-Nest-changed-psychiatry.html. Accessed 16 May 2019. "New Historicism." Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossaryterms/ new-historicism. Accessed 3 May 2019.
Sherwood, Terry G. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Comic Strip.” Viva Modern Critical Interpretations: Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, edited by Harold Bloom, Viva Books Private Limited, 2007, p. 3.
Kunz, Don. "Mechanistic and Totemistic Symbolization in Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Studies in American Fiction 3:1 (1975), p. 81.
Nicole. "“Along That Road to Crazy”." College of Charleston: Introduction to English Studies | ENGL 299.02, Prof. Anton Vander Zee, 24 Apr. 2016, blogs.cofc.edu/literature/2016/04/24/along-that-road-to-crazy/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2019.
Rosenwein, Robert. "Out of the '50s, into the 60s." Readings on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Ed. Lawrence Kappel. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2000. p. 48.
Foster, John Wilson. “Hustling to Some Purpose: Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Viva Modern Critical Interpretations: Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, edited by Harold Bloom, Viva Books Private Limited, 2007, p. 72.
Gaventa, John, and Jethro Pettit. "Foucault: Power is Everywhere." Understanding Power for Social Change | the Powercube | IDS, Sussex University, www.powercube.net/otherforms- of-power/foucault-power-is-everywhere/. Accessed 16 May 2019.
"Biopower." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 28 Nov. 2004, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biopower. Accessed 16 May 2019.
White Fuse Media Ltd. "Power/knowledge." Social Theory Rewired | New Connections to Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, routledgesoc.com/category/profiletags/ powerknowledge. Accessed 16 May 2019.
Koopman, Colin. "Why Foucault’s Work on Power is More Important Than Ever? Colin Koopman Essays." Aeon, 15 Mar. 2017, aeon.co/essays/why-foucaults-work-onpower- is-more-important-than-ever. Accessed 16 May 2019.
"SparkNotes: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Themes, Page 2." SparkNotes: Today's
Most Popular Study Guides, www.sparknotes.com/lit/cuckoo/themes/page/2/. Accessed 16 May 2019.
Tanner, Tony. “Edge City (Ken Kesey). Viva Modern Critical Interpretations: Ken Kesey'sOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, edited by Harold Bloom, Viva Books Private Limited, 2007, p. 32.
Leeds, Barry H. "One Flew, Two Followed: Stage and Screen Adaptations of Cuckoo's Nest." Take Two: Adapting the Contemporary American Novel to Film, edited by Barbara T. Lupack, Popular P, 1994, p. 36.
Porter, Gilbert M. ""Ken (Elton) Kesey." Twentieth-Century American Western Writers: First Series." Lower Moreland Township School District / Overview www.lmtsd.org/cms/lib/PA01000427/Centricity/Domain/174/Ken%20Kesey%20bio. docx. Accessed 16 May 2019.
Vitkus, Daniel J. "Madness and Misogyny in Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest/
الوقواق عش فوق الطير كيسي كن رواية في المرأة ونبذ الجنون ." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 14, 1994, p. 67, www.jstor.org/stable/521766?readnow= 1&seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents. Accessed 17 May 2019.
How to Cite
JOY, Irine Maria. Madness in the Society: Analysis of ‘One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest’. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 11, p. 23, nov. 2019. ISSN 2582-3574. Available at: <http://ijellh.com/OJS/index.php/OJS/article/view/10132>. Date accessed: 12 dec. 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v7i11.10132.