Kesey was a strong advocate for individualism and self discoveration. His writing portrays his opinion on how individuals “conform” by unconsciously falling to society’s needs. When this novel was written, society ostracized individuals who were thought to be abnormal or different, and because of this societal influence, people allowed themselves to become molded into what they thought was “normal”.
Undeniably, Ken Kesey's intention throughout the novel of The One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was to enlighten us to a new world of understanding about the complexities of human nature. From observations on the internal and external conflicts between a rebel and a follower within a suppressive microcosm of society, we are elevated to the understanding of how through human nature, both conflicting figures are inevitably destroyed and further reinforces the social order. Thus, Kesey resolves this complication by inspiring us to be neither a rebel nor a follower, but convinces us throughout the text to take a third option in being a spectator that learns from the mistakes made by others in order to truly escape the repressing order of society.
Born in La Junta, Colorado Ken kesey graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at creative writing at Stanford. In 1959, in need of cash Kesey volunteered in a government sponsored study of LSD, mescaline and other drugs. He later worked as a night attendant in a psychiatric hospital, an experience that led to him writing One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest in
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a first hand account by the narrator about several weeks inside a hospital's ward for the insane. The narrator, Bromden, recounts, “ I been silent so long now it’s gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It’s still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. Bu it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”(page 8). The book is a testament of major character transformation, following characters that transform from detached and constricted individuals to individuals who relearn how to think for themselves and tap into their natural desires. The
The strike of fear that comes with the words ‘mental illness’ is quick to rip through America in the 1960s. Similar to the McCarthy’s Red Scare and the internment of Japanese, government send citizens to institutions for hollow reasons and force unnecessary treatments. Inexperience in treatment and corruption in systems causes more harm to the victims than the initial ailment. Within the hippie, or counterculture era to which Ken Kesey belonged, Kesey was inspired to exploit his philosophy about psychedelic drugs that he experienced through his career choices in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
He also is very influenced by increasing one's dependence with technology and throughout his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest he uses rebellion against society and going against the law. "When New York wants to view somebody's personality, they want it in terms of a sound bite," Kesey said. "They don't want to have it get too complex. It's like coming over [to our performance] tonight. We got caught in the traffic. And I just hate coming to a place late because I know that's what they expect of me and my Prankster upbringing. [They think] 'Here he is; he's late; he's probably messed up.' But I'm not. I've always been a reliable, straight-up-the-middle-of-the-road citizen that just happens to be an acidhead."(Kesey 6). This shows how many people do not believe that Kesey is a reliable person and that he is “messed up” in a way from the things that he has done but he explains how that is not true. “The greatest thing Cowley taught me was to respect other writers’ feelings. If writing is going to have any effect on people morally, it ought to affect the writer morally. It is important to support everyone who tries to write because their victories are your victories. So I have never really felt that bitter cattiness writers feel toward their peers.”(5) Kesey explains how he is not like other writers and he is a just like everyone else and does not feel bitter to his peers like they are lesser than
Ken Kesey was born on September 17, 1935 in La Junta, Colorado. His parents are Fred and Geneva Smith Kesey. Kesey and his family moved away to Oregon. In Oregon, he started a successful marketing cooperative for dairy farmers, named the Eugene Farmers Cooperative. Kesey built it into the largest dairy operation in the area. He then renamed it Darigold. During his highschool years, he was voted “ most likely to succeed” and he did. Later on he attended the University of Oregon. Kesey was in fraternities and sports. He became a star wrestler in the 174- pound class. Following the year of his college graduation in 1956, he married his wife, Faye Haxby. They moved to Los Angeles; Kesey wanted to become a movie actor but starting writing novels instead. Ken Kesey later on got a job as a night attendant. He started taking experimental drugs, that resemble psychoses. During those trials, Kesey became consumed in the drug experiments and his job in the psychiatric ward at night that he would go to work high on hallucinogens; he felt as if he could see into the patient’s faces. During one night while he was working, he hallucinated the face of an American Indian. This vision inspired Kesey to write his first published novel, One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Charters, Ann)
The book One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken kesey is narrated by a patient in a mental institution. Chief bromden the narrator and the others patients lives are changed when Mcmurphy is introduced to the ward. Mcmurphy introduces the patients to gambling and to rebel against nurse ratched's rules. He continues his behavior until he finds out nurse ratched decides how long he stays in so mcmurphy calms down. Not much time passes and he resumes to his rebellious behavior and even gets permission to go on a fishing trip with some patients along with a prostitute. Although when they return Bromden and Mcmurphy are sent to disturbed for fighting two aides. When they are both back they have a party where Billy has sex with prostitute but is caught along with everyone else. Billy then kills himself when nurse Ratched decides to tell his mom on the incident so Mcmurphy tries to strangle the nurse. As a result Mcmurphy is given a lobotomy so bromden kills him and escapes. Kesey reveals to the reader how a feminized society strips a man's masculinity for control.
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is about a mental ward, its patients, and the head nurse, Nurse Ratched, a sadistic woman who overpowers her patients by making them feel small, incompetent, and incapable of belonging to society in a normal manner. Two of the patients, Billy Bibbit, a shy and fearful man with a bad stutter, and R. P. McMurphy, a very smart and outspoken man, each play a big part in the movie. They are both examples of wrongful treatment within the institution. In the end, Billy commits suicide as a result of Nurse Ratched’s threats towards him, while McMurphy undergoes a lobotomy and is eventually put out of his misery by his friend, known as Chief Bromden, so that he would no longer suffer as a vegetable.
Ken Kesey forms the intricate relationships among the characters in the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by the unique use of perspective and speech. Throughout the novel, Kesey depicts this connection between the public world and the seemingly closed off society inside the mental institution. This creates two separate spheres separated by a few walls and doors. Kesey goes on to form a unique perspective in the novel, told by a paranoid schizophrenic, with the narrator’s caricature-like description of characters in the novel. This makes the audience ponder if the narrator is always depicting images as they truly are. This evolves into the Speech-Act Theory, which illustrates reality versus false utterance. Through the
As I have begun reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I made note of a few specific paragraphs that struck me as the most intriguing and significant. Among them was an episode that depicts Chief’s perusal of Mack Murphy’s hands. The decision to make this distinguishment was based on my belief in multifariousness and depth that the aforementioned scene contains. I presume that the “hand” episode compels the reader to reflect on several characters: Mack Murphy, Nurse Ratched, the patients and the Chief himself. First of all, Chief’s precise descriptions of Mack Murphy’s hands allow the reader to closely study the new patient, his background and way of life. The mentioned cauloses, scars and cuts speak to Mack Murphy’s coarseness; the smooth
Representations of the abuse in psychiatry during this time of change including the use of ECT as a form of behavior management and punishment caused thinking to be changed. (McDonald and Walter, 2009). In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the R.P is treated with ECT not out of necessity but rather to teach him a lesson for attempting to defy Nurse Ratched. The famous ECT scene is shown to be quite torturous to McMurphy as he has violent spasms, after the procedure is done he seems to be unaffected but only further empowered to challenge the Nurse. McMurphy foolishly underestimated Nurse Ratched and her cruelty. After his final outburst which involved him hijacking the nurses station and throwing a party in the ward and involving all his fellow
The context of the novel is explored through the background of the author in order to understand the purpose of the text. Ken Kelsey is born in 1935, in La Junta, Colorado.(Biography) During his years at Stanford, he worked as a night attendant on the psychiatric ward of a hospital, where he witnessed the treatment of the inmates and the effects of the sterile structure on their identity and sanity. (NY Times) His experience at the hospital as a aid and as a voluntary experiment subject led to the birth of his 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest. (NY Times) Through the novel, he communicates his dissent against the post-war society that castrates men by sypressing their sexulity and sacrifices their spirit. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest, he constructs a mental ward that held microcosmic resemblance to the post-war American society. He critiques power in American society through descriptions of the Combine and highlights the virtues of male strength and sexuality by placing them in opposition to the ruthless characteristics of females. Nurse Ratched, an oppressive female figure of power, emasculates her patients to empower herself. She represents Kesey 's fear of a feminizing society. Randall McMurphy’s struggle against Nurse Ratched and the system of the “combine” represents a struggle between gender for power. His culminating sacrifice for the group by attacking Nurse Ratched is analogous to a rape act, which links manhood with virility. The inconclusive