Fear and Control of the Unknown Essay

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Throughout history many communities have been persecuted for being different from the general public. Society has often forced these unique individuals to assimilate or be constrained because of the public's fear and anxiety of the unknown. Such insecurities led to the mistreatment and restraint of both the slaves as portrayed in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and the mental patients in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.

One of the most apparent and important themes in both One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is control. Fear is used as a means to gain control over the slave by their master or even by the slave to achieve a sense of power over the master. The white men of this era attempted
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The black aides also harassed the men on a daily basis, asserting their control over one of the only groups considered socially beneath them during this discriminatory era. In Incidents in the Life... the violence is even more apparent. Gruesome accounts of punishments inflicted upon misbehaving slaves by masters like Mr. Litch, who "[...]tied a rope around a man's body, and suspended him from the ground. A fire was kindled over him, from which was suspended a piece of fat pork. As this cooked, the scalding drops of fat continually fell on the bare flesh" (Jacobs 51).

Many characters in both novels became so desperate that they believed that death was the only practical means of escape. Both Billy Bibbit and Cheswick in One Flew... decided suicide was their only way out and in Incidents in the Life...Linda often wishes for death for her and for her loved ones (68). Even McMurphy, the brave protagonist of One Flew..., hints at his own demise when he chooses to stay after the party rather than make an easy escape (Kesey 166). This leads the reader to believe that for McMurphy, the only method to escape with dignity is through death. The Chief evidently agreed and in the end finished the task for him (279).

Sexuality was a greatly feared phenomenon in both the late 1800's and the mid 1900's. Both authors used this…