Over time, society has neglected as well as welcomed ideas to the understanding of normal. Society merely fosters ideas to help maintain a balance in the understanding of what is right and wrong. Through strictly basing laws that revolve around their ideas, society can balance the ideas that they wish to neglect in an attempt to live in the “ideal” world. Many ideas are belittled and labeled as taboos and the sole factor that affects their label is time. Time is a major factor on the ideas and the evolution of their understanding. The main problem with society is the labeling of the people that follow the ideas that they neglect.
Sanity and Insanity easily fall into the category of welcomed and neglected ideas. Society needs to control the rebels that believe in the neglected ideas through labeling them as insane. Insanity is a mystery in itself, it is not completely understood and yet many interpret it in many ways. Two infamous authors that best interpret insanity in their own astounding ways are Ken Kesey and Sylvia Plath. These two authors point out the negative interpretations made by society on the insane. They use their characters to portray the negative understanding of mental illnesses.
In Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey uses his main character to emphasize the negative aspect of the treatment towards the mentally insane. In Plath’s The Bell Jar, Plath uses her main character to emphasize that insanity can be rational as well as the negative aspects of the treatments used to “cure” the mentally insane. Kesey and Plath both provide intelligent ideas in an attempt to rebel against the conformities of society. Their ideas revolve around the negative labeling of the insane made by society and the emphasis on the significance of the inhumane treatments.
These two novels are exquisite due the author’s portrayal of insanity. The authors’ use of descriptions, metaphors, and characterizations help build a foundation for supporting the message. Each novel has its unique use of literary features according to the point the author wants to acknowledge. Kesey specifically uses descriptions, metaphors, and characterizations to help provide a better understanding on the idea of sanity and insanity according to the point he wishes to show. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey uses literary features to emphasize the acutes’ behavior towards what society calls “not normal.
” He uses descriptions in this novel in order to give a precise understanding of the ward’s atmosphere. He uses this literary feature to describe the characters’ importance to the novel, he succeeds through describing each characters’ way of speaking, way of moving, and physical aspect. Through his writing, Kesey is able to provide a great understanding of what behavior society belittles. Kesey also uses metaphors in his novel to highlight society’s negative outlook on the mentally insane. The metaphors used by Kesey are indirect criticisms on society and their ways.
His use of metaphors such as the one where he labels society to be a “flock” that “pecks at blood-spotted chicken,1” criticizes society’s way of dealing with the mentally insane. He indirectly states how society dehumanizes and destroys the mentally insane through the inhumane treatments used to treat them. Another main metaphor used by Kesey is the significance of the ward and its relation to society. Kesey uses the ward as a mini-society2. The ward contains everything a society contains; it contains a leader and authority that are represented by Nurse Ratched and the black boys.
Through providing this metaphor of a miniature society, Kesey is able to highlight his point of how negative the actual society perceives mental illness. Kesey’s use of metaphors attacks society and what they call normal. Another literary feature used by Kesey is characterization. Kesey uses characterization to make every character significant. Although Kesey’s use of characterization fostered some ideas of sexism and racism, its use provided a background on the conformities of society. 3 Each character has a different flaw that helps contribute to the successful output of Kesey’s main point on the idea of insanity in relation to society.