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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

by Ken Kesey

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Are there any 20th century American Indian short stories I can use to compare to Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? I am looking for how the American Indians were displaced from their land or losing fishing rights or stereotyping by whites. Any of the problems faced by Chief Bromden's tribe would be great.

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One of the immediate ideas that come to mind is the collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie entitled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Alexie in so many of his short stories explicitly addresses the history of the Native American Indians and how they have been systematically denied an identity through stereotyping and their treatment by the majority. In "Every Little Hurricane," the protagonist, Victor, remembers a whole series of memories that points out the way in which native American Indians have been systematically disenfranchised and treated terribly by the wider society, a society which has often left them to face terrible conditions, the "hurricanes" of the story. Consider the following memory that Victor remembers:

When children grow up together in poverty, a bond is formed that is stronger than almost anything... Adolph and Arnold reminded each other of their childhood, and how they hid crackers in their shared bedroom so they would have something to eat.

This aspect of Alexie's shorter fiction, through focusing on the reality of life for American Indians now, is something that can definitely be linked with Chief Bromden's state of having been cheated out of his inheritance by the whites and his treatment by them in the mental institution.

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