• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Bell Jar and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Extracts from this document...


A comparison of the ways Sylvia Plath and Ken Kesey explore societies' notions of sanity and insanity in The Bell Jar and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest discussing the effect of societies' need for conformity upon the individual. In this essay, I plan to discuss the way Plath and Kesey use insanity as a device in their novels One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and The Bell Jar to rebel against society and it's expectations upon the individual. Both novels have a central character, which is put into a mental institution, to be re-educated to the conformity of their society. The Bell Jar is set in the U.S.A. in 1953. In this period, Yale, the university Buddy Willard attended was a male only college. Even though is it post - world war 2, it was still a time of female repression as in the fact that achievement for a woman was to have a secure family and to be a good mother and wife still outlined success. ...read more.


She is only accepted when she receives a letter from Buddy inviting her to the Yale Senior Prom, which makes all the other girls in the Amazon Hotel believe she is now worth talking to. She doesn't have any real friends and favours the girls who seem to be doing exiting things for example when she chooses to go out 'on the town' with Doreen over going to the arranged party with Betsy.2 It is obvious that socialising in this way is not good for Esther, especially in the way that she takes a bath after returning to the Amazon, " I felt myself growing pure again... I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water. I said to myself: "Doreen is dissolving, Lenny Shepherd is dissolving, Frankie is dissolving, New York is dissolving, they are all dissolving away and none of them matter anymore. ...read more.


This is an important fact, as it is mentioned in the first paragraph and gives the audience an idea of Esther's unhealthy fascination with death. "It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves."4 This is the first thing that is fed to the audience that clues them that Esther is not of the healthy mindset that society expects. She also feels as though she has to live up to the expectations of others all the time. During her childhood, she was always a high achiever and won many awards. In One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Chief Bromden sees society as a machine or 'Combine' as he calls it and describes the mental hospital as "a factory for the Combine"5. 1 Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, Faber and Faber Limited, 1966, page 10 2 The Bell Jar, pages 6-7 3 The Bell Jar, page 19 4 The Bell Jar, page 1 5 Kesey, Ken, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Picador, 1973, page 37 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

    exclaims McMurphy.) At first, McMurphy is happy to play the rebel - from his pornographic playing cards to his bet; "I bet I can put a bug up her ass..." He even triumphantly wins by ironically 'pretending' to be mad (even though he is officially insane!)

  2. Great Expectations Essay -

    "Pip dear old chap, life is made of every so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man's a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come" After their awkward meeting in London.

  1. Great Expectations

    From this the audience assimilate Pip needs to be nurtured mentally and physically to help him achieve extraordinary accomplishments. I think Dickens' style is effective as the readers are able to visualize Pips growing stages. The importance of the name also creates extra effects on the reader's view of the character Pip.

  2. Great Expectations - Character Introduction

    She has been so badly wounded inside that she cannot seem to carry on with life, but instead just wasting away waiting to die. This could possibly create sympathy towards Miss Havisham as she has been so badly hurt and seems to have nothing to live for.

  1. Great Expectations

    convict who has most probably stole it from somewhere not from someone that has earned the money fairly. However by the end of the novel Pip learns that true gentlemen are not always rich. Therefore the only character who has been a true gentleman throughout the novel is Joe Gargery

  2. Explain the different notions that Shakepeare uses in The Christmas Carol

    He also saw that Scrooge, his only friend in the world, was following the same path. Marley was able to procure a chance to help Scrooge avoid this fate by arranging the visitations of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

  1. Great Expectations

    "lord strike me dead if I don't" pip actually believes if he does not Copley with Magwitch's wishes he will be struck dead. In the eighth chapter, Pip is requested to "play" at Miss Havishams mansion; a total strangers house - were he is greeted with an icy reception from Havishams adopted daughter Estella.

  2. English Literature

    his friend, Rob Penny, a playwright and teacher, in an effort to politicize black Americans and to increase their race consciousness. Wilson's earliest plays were written for Black Horizons, including: Recycling, written in 1973 and produced at a Pittsburgh community theater.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work