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The Power of Silence

Exploration of Muteness in Jerzy Kosinski's «The Painted Bird» and Ken Kesey's «One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest»

Hasine Şen

This book discusses silence as a state born either by trauma-inflicted muteness or deliberate abstinence from speech focusing on the mute(d) characters, the nonverbal forms of communication and textual ellipses in Jerzy Kosinski’s «The Painted Bird» and Ken Kesey’s «One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest». Using a methodological approach based on the close reading of the novels, the work proposes that Kosinski and Kesey disrupt the conventional equation of power with speech and present silence as a valiant mode of resistance too. It also explores how the trope of muteness functions as an implicit strategy for the investigation of language itself, its power to create meaning, to control and eventually— silence.

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