One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Research Paper

1764 Words Jun 20th, 2013 8 Pages
Drugs and Insanity Against Society
The author of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Keasey, received his inspiration for the book while volunteering at a veteran's hospital. This is where he was first introduced to LSD. The moment he tried it, he became addicted, and began experimenting on himself with the drugs, observing the effects. The novel deals with the tyrannical rule of head Nurse Ratched in a mental hospital somewhere in Oregon. She runs all business and daily life in the asylum to her every whim and rules the ward by fear and manipulation. This has gone on for as long as the narrator, Chief Bromden, can remember. However a new patient, Randle McMurphy, enters the hospital and begins to wreak havoc upon the system put
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society, as well as sanity vs. insanity are greatly expressed through the characters actions and events in the novel, as seen from a patients eyes. Randle McMurphy, the main character of the novel portrays the theme of the individual against society through his dealings with Nurse Ratched and the hospital. “The main action of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest consists of McMurphy's struggles against Nurse Ratched. Her ward at the hospital is a society in itself. McMurphy challenges the rules from the beginning” (Malin 224). The effects of the battle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched is expressed in the reactions of both characters, as well as the changes brought to the ward. “But she stops. She was flustered for a second there. Some of the acutes hide grins, and McMurphy takes a huge stretch, yawns, winks at Harding” (Keasey 45). The individual vs. society theme is clearly displayed here though McMurphy's struggle against the rules of the asylum, and against the rule of Nurse Ratched. This represents a a man, or individual, fighting for his own rights when faced with the views and obstacles forced upon him by a tyrannical society with strict guidelines. The second major theme in this novel, tied to the individual vs. society, is the theme of insanity vs. sanity. “Sanity vs. insanity is a topic that is established by society itself, set by public values and rules on what normalcy should be and what insane should be qualified…