Ken Kesey, Sometimes A Great Notion

Jill E. Anderson (Middle Tennessee State University)
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In the opening of Ken Kesey’s 1964 novel

Sometimes a Great Notion



), Leland Stamper receives a postcard from his hometown of Wakonda, Oregon, written by his cousin Joe Ben. The postcard arrives in the midst of a botched suicide attempt while Leland is in attendance at Yale. The postscript is written, “showing black and blacker, large and larger than all the rest of the message”, by Leland’s half-brother, Hank (Kesey 69). The postscript reads, “You should be a big enough guy now, bub”, and Leland fixates on the implied challenge to his masculinity (69, 70). After a mention of Hank’s wife, Viv, Leland sees the idea of his brother married as “so ludicrous that I found some actual humor in the idea, enough to give me a real laugh and the courage of contempt…

2375 words

Citation: Anderson, Jill E.. "Sometimes A Great Notion". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 January 2013 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

1991 Sometimes A Great Notion 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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