Similarities Between Catcher In The Rye And One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Rebellion and Manipulation in Catcher in the Rye and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest In J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, both authors present similar lead characters who struggle to accept society’s standards. Both Holden Caulfield and McMurphy respectively attempt to change society through manipulation and rebellion in order to have society reflect their personal opinions and values. They try to counteract these struggles through their rebellion against and manipulation of objects, authority figures and friendships. Both characters use chosen objects to demonstrate their individuality from society. In Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Holden expresses his individuality and highlights his rebellious …show more content…

Holden believes that society wants him to conform; wearing the hat allows him to express his individuality, which in his eyes is a rebellion. Furthermore, Holden displays his altered sense of reality when standing outside of the museum’s entrance: “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move” (Salinger 135). Visiting the museum enables Holden to maintain a distorted view of society and reality. The museum helps facilitate and manipulate his perceived sense of self and the world around him. Similarly, in Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chief Bromden, a fellow patient, observes that McMurphy blatantly dismisses institutional expectations by wearing his flamboyant boxers throughout the halls of the institution : “She's [Nurse Ratched] glaring at those big white whales leaping round on his shorts in pure wordless outrage” (Kesey 99). McMurphy wears his boxers to disregard the dress codes in a clear rejection of the institution’s protocols and standards. The boxers set McMurphy apart as odd or unusual. In addition, McMurphy displays his disdain for the rules …show more content…

While on a train to New York, Holden meets Mrs. Morrow, the mother of a fellow student. Although Holden despises her son Ernest, he proceeds to lie to her: “He’s one of the most popular boys at Pencey…he’s so darn shy and modest and all” (Salinger 63-64). Holden manipulates Mrs. Morrow into thinking her son is popular and successful. He distorts the truth in order to make himself look favorable in her eyes. Further, Holden attempts to gain personal pleasure by misleading Sally, a girl whom he casually dates, when they were exiting the theatre: “When we were coming out of this big cinch, I told her I loved her and all. It was a lie of course” (Salinger 139). Holden deceives Sally by telling her he loves her in order to ‘make out’ with her. He lies about his feelings in order to gain sexual gratification. In a like manner, McMurphy exerts his power and control over Billy Bibbit during a group therapy session, telling him that he “oughta be out running around in a convertible, bird-dogging girls” (Kesey 195). McMurphy manipulates Bibbit into having sex with a prostitute named Candy Starr by suggesting that there is something wrong with him because he is still a virgin. McMurphy does this to feel like he has some power and control over others. By the same token, Nurse Ratched becomes aware of his manipulative tendencies when she tells the

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