Prankster narrative in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Dryden, Nick
Griffith, Jean Carol

The opening lines of Ken Kesey's 1962 novel recall the title imagery and central metaphor of psychiatrist Frantz Fanon's 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks: [t]hey're out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them" (3). Read within the context of Fanon's concern with colonization Cuckoo's Nest presents a satirical microcosm of a male dominated society creating a place where colonial gender constructs disintegrate into the post-colonial as perceived by the culturally displaced Chief Bromden. The evident effects of Chief Bromden's sociocultural displacement demand a Fanonian context. However, in the literary world Kesey inhabits, Herman Melville's palpable presence encourages an examination of the post-colonial nature of the asylum through the lens of 19th century literature. This approach reveals the nature of prankster narrative and con artistry in Chief Bromden's colonized voice.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English