One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, By Ken Kesey

1172 words - 5 pages

With its confronting issues, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was an extremely important novel of the 1960's. The author, Ken Kesey, played a key role in the usage of the counterculture of the 60's; this

included all groups who did not adapt to society’s standards,

experimented with drugs, and rightfully lived their lives in an unorthodox style.

Ken Kesey had momentous experiences that enabled him to create One

Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Kesey moved to

to Perry Lane in Menlo Park as a student at Stanford University. While at

school Kesey and other student writers began experimentitng with

psychedelic drugs. A friend of Kesey's, Vik Lovell, told him about local experiments with controlled substances at a V.A. hospital. Volunteers were to induce mind-altering drugs. These experiences were some of the first to inspire Kesey's book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. These experiments with the little known drug LSD, brought about a disillusioned state of conciousness. He was quoted as saying, "he was in a realm of consciousness he had never dreamed of before and it was not a dream or delirium but part of his awareness."
This cognizance made him belive psychedelic drugs could enable him to see things the way they were genuinely meant to be seen.

The book is set in a mental hospital where the patients' identities have been tarnished by the depracating nurse, Nurse Ratched. When Randle P. McMurphy admits himself to the hospital to escape a prison term, he immediately interupts the order. McMurphy is an egotistical man whose main goal is to cause problems for Nurse Ratched. However, this changes as the battle changes direction and becomes a fight for the other patients souls. The battle to liberate the other patients from the nurses' grasp proves to be difficult, consequently, resulting in McMurphys' own self destruction. Through McMurphys demise the patients begin to see themselves as individuals, and break free of the manipulative control of Nurse Ratched. McMurphy tried to help all of the patients but kept his main focus on Chief Bromden, the narrator of the story. Chief Bromden was the largest of the patients: however, he was made to feel inferior throughout his stay at the hospital. After finding his own strength towards the end of the book, the chief participates in the compassionate killing of McMurphy. This event maintains McMurphys' legend as a savior, as well as liberating the other patients.

Chief Bromden was a tall Native American man who was mute by nature. He appears to be an unhinged patient at the institute who has hallucinations about the inabilities of the others. He is the main charachter that symbolizes the constant shift throughout the text.
Bromdens' vulnerbility to change is at times used against him; however, some of his perceptions are not always reality based.Through his hallucinations and experience he provides great intuition in to the demeaning behavior that they are all...

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