Essay on Setting in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

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Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a unique fiction novel about oppression and rebellion in an American 1950’s Mental Hospital. In this highly distinctive novel, setting definitely refers to the interior, the interiors of the Institution. It also refers to the period this novel this was set in, the 50’s, 60’s where McCarthyism was dominant. Furthermore, it has great symbolic value, representing issues such as the American struggle of freedom and conformity. This essay shall discuss the ‘setting’ & its significance towards Ken Kesey’s “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

In the novel, setting is important towards the interiors, as the vast majority of the novel is set within the closed, confined space, the interior, of the
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The interiors are also significant as it is a representation of ‘how’ society applied their expectations of each other. Throughout the McCarthy period, there was the great threat of the Russians, the communists, who could potentially use nuclear technology to attack America. Also, any person who unpatriotically supported communism was harshly dealt with. These events were represented in an exact scale model of the Mental Institution. Anyone who dared to cause an uproar was humiliated in group therapy sessions, or given Electroshock Therapy, or in extreme cases such as McMurphy, lobotomy. In the hospital, McMurphy represented the rebel, the opposer to the Combine (McCarthyism), the one who wanted to break free of society’s conformity.

Setting is also important, as it refers to the period this book was set in, the 1950’s. Ultimately, it is a reflection of what was happening in American society at the time, and what American society expected from each other. McCarthyism, as started by Senator Joseph McCarthy, was the most prevalent movement of the 1950’s, where there was great momentum for anti-communism and the suppression of the Anti-communist party. Freedom of speech was suppressed, just like speech and actions were inside the hospital. Here, the
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