Ken Kesey 's One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest

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"’Ya know, ma 'am,’ he says, ‘ya know-that is the ex-act thing somebody always tells me about the rules...’

 He grins. They both smile back and forth at each other, sizing each other up. 
 ‘...just when they figure I 'm about to do the dead opposite.’"(Kesey 64). One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, a story of inmates in a mental institute who struggle to maintain their freedom and masculinity, portrays the time-honored story of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object, law and order versus anarchy and freedom, and, most importantly, men versus women. This reflects the changes of the novel’s era. Published in 1962, Cuckoo’s Nest was Kesey’s response to the changes of the times during the Civil Rights period and the second wave of feminism, a commentary on mental illness and the value of law and order, but also on changing gender roles in society. Kesey advocates for a more traditional patriarchal society by undermining women both with and without power, and holding a misogynistic stance on women’s’ place in society, particularly how women deal with power or control. A recurring motif throughout the novel is that women are resented for being in positions of power, opposed to more traditional, subjugated roles. Any female character in a powerful, influential, or otherwise controlling position are demonized as a “ball-cutter... – people who try to make you weak so they can get you to toe the line, to follow their rules, to live like they want you to.” (Kesey
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