Examples Of Conformity In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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The Beat Generation of the 1950’s and early 1960’s encouraged a new lifestyle for young Americans striving for individualism and freedom, which included rock and roll music, long hair, relaxed style attire, vegetarianism, and experimenting with drugs (“Beat Movement”). Many young Americans of this era wanted to experiment with new social and cultural concepts, rebelling against “normal” American life. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey, portrays the gruesomeness of conformity through the lives of patients in one of the asylum’s wards. The novel shows how the patients are confined to strict rules and limited freedom because of Nurse Ratched’s power. The Beat Generation wanted change because of this conformity, by rebelling against the rules and structure of society. In the text, Kesey implies that conformity is damaging because he believed that conformity and mental institutions negatively impact the patients by destroying their self-esteem, while many in the ‘50s and early ‘60s believed mental institutions helped someone become a normal member of society. In the novel, the aides constantly help the patients with simple tasks. In the beginning of the book, the Nurse orders that the aides help Chief shave, “And since it is…show more content…
Through the institutions, patients had less freedom, were forced to do activities, had no say in their treatments, and had to be helped with everyday tasks. The lifestyle in mental hospitals corresponded with American life in the 1950’s and early 1960’s because the mental hospitals encouraged conformity. Even though the Beat Generation’s ideals would have been seen as outrageous in the 1950’s and 1960’s, their beliefs rejected conformity and encouraged a new lifestyle for
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