McMurphy as a Fighter Against The Totalitarian System in Ken Kesey’s Novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

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Ketevan Khokhiashvili


Beatniks and Hippies were the rebellious young people. They were foundation of counterculture in the 1960s and they defined everything in future American literature.

The main writers of this era were: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs who originally met in 1944 in New York City to form the core of this literary movement. Their cult writer was Ken Kesey, who voiced the main message of this generation in the novel: " One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." This book published in 1962 and became bestseller.

For each character, Ken Keys has selected special features that allow the reader to focus on the details that are necessary to create a unified picture of the novel. In presented report I am going to discusses and analyze the symbolic face of McMurphy as a Fighter Against Totalitarian system. Also, he is seeking hero who wants to find his own” Holy Grail” and this grail is liberty. Because the walls of hospital are an allegory of totalitarian state and its head and main representative is nurse Retched, this means that McMurphy is a warrior with the system. He is the main tool in this war. One of the important symbols which is between people and hospital stuff is glass shield. Behind this miss Retched controls all processes that taken place in the clinic. It is also figurative that McMurphy repeatedly smashes this glass whit his own hands, which is so polished that it seems invisible. Real democracy is brought by him. He restores the values that were lost. He argues that life alone is not important, there are principles that go far beyond that. It will make you realize how important is it to break down totalitarian and all non-democratic systems. It may not happen right away, but fighting for it really make sense.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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