Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical text, The Bell Jar (1963), and Ken Kesey’s asylum novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) demonstrate different aspects of the changing status of 1960s literary women. They also represent an emergence from Modernism to Postmodernism in 1960s literature. Specifically, the paper will discuss the deconstruction of the subject and the introduction of subsequent “pluralities” in which the female protagonists of these texts -- Esther Greenwood (Bell Jar) and Nurse Ratched (Cuckoo’s Nest) -- embody this sense of plurality and use it to become women freer from patriarchal constraints. This thesis thus pinpoints a slow but significant progression toward a postmodern, deconstructed, agency-retaining, pluralistic female subject rejecting essentializing "truths" of oppressive patriarchal binaries in order to assert a more wholistic, complex female identity.