Ken Kesey Critical Analysis

4231 Words17 Pages
Ken Kesey used a psychiatric institution as an extended metaphor and microcosm for American society or as Dr Spivey puts it a ‘made-to-scale prototype of the big world outside,’ Kesey did this to symbolise how American society dealt with people who didn’t conform to the social norms at that time, and were classed as insane. The novel is set in the late 1950’s and the book was published in 1962. In this essay I’m going to examine the factors that may have encouraged Kesey to write the novel, how the novel is a metaphor for how the American government tries to control their citizens who are considered ‘un-American’ and how the author ridicules this by introducing the plot, the characters, imagery and the battle between McMurphy, the individualist, and Nurse Ratched the dogmatic Nurse. American society during this period was still recovering from McCarthyism, when McCarthy took over in 1946. Rumours were going around that government officials were secret communists. Communism became the main concern in the 50’s and, as a consequence, American society, during this period, was very dogmatic towards people who had different opinions about the ‘dominant moral discourse at the time.’ and society at the time began to resemble a totalitarian state. Andrew Foley in his book ‘imagination of Freedom’ used a quote from the author that explains how he felt about American society; Ken Kesey said ‘conformity, fear, violence- that was the cancer in the heart of society’ . During this

More about Ken Kesey Critical Analysis

Open Document