Control Expressed Through 20th Century Literature

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the writers festival,The 20th century has provided the literary world with several great novels which have stained the readers mind. It is these novels that will maintain a lasting effect on society. One of these novels include Ken Kesey’s, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Written in 1962 in America, it was an era where counter-cultural attitudes promoted individuality and challenged conformity. The novel brings awareness to the reader that, in order for the facility to run smoothly, total control can be classed as being essential, and it is Nurse Ratched who achieves this for some time. Similarly, in Jeffrey Archer’s novel As the Crow Flies, written in 1991, when these related ideas of conformity and individualism had spread throughout England. The novel revolves around the main character, Charlie Trumper and his desire to build a retail empire. However his dreams become controlled by Mrs.

Trentham. Characters that seek total control can be connected between the two novels due to their repressive authority. It is Mrs. Trentham and Nurse Ratched that are these authority figures, who emasculate the males in order to get their way. Control can be a successful administrative tool when established through fear, however if misused, can lead to victimisation.

Nurse Ratched, also known as the Big Nurse in the novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, gives those employed around her an unpleasant time, which causes them to leave. It is not until she finds people who can be trusted, that she begins to take total control of the mental facility. Through the constant emasculation of the men, Nurse Ratched is able to maintain the fear in the patients minds. It is this control of Nurse Ratched that the “Practice has steadied and strengthened her until now she wields a sure power that extends in all directions on hairlike wires too small for anybody’s eyes.” This fear and control keeps the facilities’ patient.

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