One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Essay

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The time is the late 1950s, and tension is high from the city to the suburbs. All eyes are either on the American south or Russia. Billy Bibbit and other patients at the psychiatric hospital are not the center of attention, and are greatly misunderstood both in the realms of healthcare and morality. As one of the tragic figures in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Billy is not concerned with any of the aforementioned issues- his greatest mountain is his mother’s wrath and the fear of facing the world on his own. Another novel, Haruki Murakami’s Norewegian Wood, comes twenty five years later but is based in the late 1960s, when young adults rebel against tradition and adopt new paths of expression and experience. Naoko, the tragic figure of this novel, is not afraid of her mother, but grapples with accepting adulthood. At a glance, it would seem these two characters have little in common besides mental instability and irrational fear, but taking a closer look, Naoko and Billy’s lives speak to the tragedy of living an inauthentic life, according to existentialist precepts. Allowing others to guide…show more content…
Looking at her body, he remarks that it has “the heartbreaking luster of newborn flesh” (131). Although both characters are embarking on a seemingly mature journey in having intercourse, Naoko’s innocence cannot be avoided. However, much later when Naoko is in the sanitarium and invites Toru to visit, the fragile child has metamorphosed. As Naoko kneels by his bedside nude, Toru notices that “all signs of girlish plumpness had been stripped away since Kizuki’s death, replaced by the flesh of a mature woman” (132). Time and seclusion had transformed Naoko from the porcelain girl on her twentieth birthday to a rock of a woman, hardened by time and circumstance. Yet, her external hardness could not stand in for an emotional breakthrough, which Naoko never quite seems to
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