Research Paper For The One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Comparison Of Mental Institutions In 1960's America, and The One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestThe novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey, is known as one of America's finest and most popular books. This book, published in 1962, brought a huge wave of impact to Americans at the time by bringing truthful and realistic aspects and imageries of mental facilities and institutions (Swaine). The novel bases its story off a Native American patient, Chief Bromden's, point of view towards the hospital and the events that occur in it. The situations and scenes in the novel shocked countless readers with its new perspective. This novel and its content have both similarities and differences when compared to other mental facilities in the 1960's.In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey, through his use of character - most notably Chief Bromden - vividly and thoroughly describes the environment and the events at the ward. Ken Kesey described his view and understanding of mental institutions of the time through the usage of Chief Bromden as the narrating character. In the beginning of the novel, Chief Bromden explains the way the ward functions through his explanation of Nurse Ratched: "Year by year she accumulates her ideal staff" (Kesey 29). Kesey describes the routine in the wards through Chief Bromden's words:Lights flash on in the dorm at six-thirty: the Acutes up out of bed quick as the black boys can prod them out, get them to work buffing the floor, emptying ash trays, polishing the scratch marks off the wall… The Wheelers swing dead log legs out on the floor and wait like seated statues for somebody to roll chairs in to them. The Vegetables piss the bed, activating an electric shock and buzzer, rolls them off on the tile where the black boys can hose them down and get them in clean greens... (32)The quote here shows how badly the disabled and mentally ill people were treated at these wards. Here, Nurse Ratched ordered lobotomy procedures and electro convulsive shock to patients she believed were misbehaving, or 'needed it'. Ken Kesey described the ward as a place where ridiculous rule and control existed, and a place where the mentally and perhaps physically ill and disabled were treated horribly, without reason.Back in the 1960's, mental institution situations were similar to those shown in the One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Starting in the 1950's, the trend of lobotomy procedures and electro convulsive shock treatment continued on into the 60's as dominant practices held in mental institutions and asylums (Leupo). Thus, in both the bigger picture and the novel, these inhumane practices were held to control the patient's symptoms and, as seen in the book by Nurse Ratched, used as an excuse to make the patient's symptoms worsen, or to...

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