Sometimes a Great Notion Analysis

Ken Kesey

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Sometimes a Great Notion is a highly complex novel in its time scheme, point of view, and imagery. The panoramic narrative begins and...

(The entire section is 626 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

With its epic sweep and radical experimentation with narrative techniques, Sometimes a Great Notion is not a novel easily grasped in a...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Ken Kesey's friend Ken Babbs once remarked, "A man should have the right to be as big as he feels it's in him to be." So taken was Kesey with...

(The entire section is 120 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Brown, Chip. “Ken Kesey Kisses No Ass.” Esquire 118 (September, 1992): 158-166. Profiles Ken Kesey as a literary prankster and details his offbeat personality. Describes Kesey’s image of himself as a “magician” and the art of writing as magic. Brown’s profile gives many personal insights into Kesey’s life and writing.

Carnes, Bruce. Ken Kesey. Boise: Idaho State University Press, 1974. Provides brief biographical information and critical background to Kesey’s works.

Kesey, Ken. “Ken Kesey: The Art of Fiction CXXVI.” Interview by Robert Faggen. The Paris Review 35 (Spring, 1994): 58-94. Kesey discusses his views on the role of the writer, whom he feels has the right to impose his ideas and attitudes on readers. Includes biographical information and a discussion of the Kesey novels that were made into motion pictures.

Leeds, Barry H. Ken Kesey. New York: Ungar, 1981. A critical interpretation of Kesey’s works.

Porter, M. Gilbert. The Art of Grit: Ken Kesey’s Fiction. Columbia: University Press of Missouri, 1982. Porter’s discussion of Kesey’s early work is an excellent starting point for study of Kesey.

Tanner, Stephen L. Ken Kesey. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Tanner provides a critical and interpretive study of Kesey, with a close reading of his major works, a solid bibliography, and complete notes and references.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Kesey's notes to Sometimes a Great Notion illuminate his literary precedents. In them he confesses that he wanted his second published...

(The entire section is 258 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Thematically, Sometimes a Great Notion bears a close resemblance to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in presenting the battle...

(The entire section is 54 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In 1971 a two-hour film version of Sometimes a Great Notion was released. Directed by Paul Newman, the movie had a talented cast,...

(The entire section is 85 words.)