One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey Essay

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey Essay

Length: 976 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Every American has grown up with these words, lived by these words, and thusly, accepted them as a given: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This sentence has made its place in the United States Constitution as well, and there are variations of this all over the world—“liberté, egalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France, “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (unity, justice, and freedom) in Germany, and many more. Not having to curtail speech, have every move checked, or suppress individuality are gifts, often taken for granted in today’s society. People go about their day, not having a second thought about choosing when to smoke a cigarette or being able to play a game of cards with friends without fighting for it. But in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, personal freedom, a sense of self, and individuality are withheld from the patients in an Oregon insane asylum. The asylum itself is symbolic of society and how it pressures people to act a certain way, and portrays how deviating even slightly from the label “normal” is cause for being confined. In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, characters such as Chief Bromden and Dale Harding are prime examples for how society manipulates differences into weaknesses, and only with the aid of Randle McMurphy are they able to reassert themselves and defy society’s conformity.
Chief Bromden is the narrator of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and although in the beginning he appears to readers as physically formidable, he is a docile and unusually subdued man. He is a staggeringly tall N...


... middle of paper ...


...he would not have wanted to be an example, a trophy to Nurse Ratched and suffocates him (Kesey 270). Even then, he serves as the impelling force that makes Chief leave the Combine and its oppression for good.
Society can be an antagonist or an ally, depending on the individual and the circumstances. This is shown indefinitely in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Differences like Chief Bromden’s race and Dale Harding’s sexual orientation were turned into weaknesses, and only with Randle McMurphy’s courage and perseverance were they overcome. However, it came at a cost. McMurphy died for this cause. Billy Bibbit and Cheswick were casualties along the way. So, readers must ask themselves the question that Chief’s father asked: “What can you pay for the way a man lives? What can you pay for what a man is?”



Works Cited

Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Patient Control in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

- The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey is about the power structure of a mental ward from the perspective of a patient, Bromden. The story takes place during the 1950's in Oregon. Many of the patients on the ward are not necessarily insane however do not fit in with pre established societal norms and have chosen a life away from these norms. The men who are voluntary have given in to the staff and follow them like sheep, however, the men who are committed need controlling according to society so they were sent to the ward....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Better Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest The theme of this story “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” according to Daniel Woods is “Power is the predominant theme of Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest': who holds power, who doesn't, who wants it, who loses it, how it is used to intimidate and manipulate and for what purposes, and, most especially, how it is disrupted and subverted, challenged, denied and assumed” (http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/cuckoosnest/essays/essay1.html)....   [tags: Ken Kesey Flew Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Better Essays
1184 words (3.4 pages)

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey's use of symbolism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest transforms the novel and the hospital within the novel a microcosm of society, a battle between the sane and insane, the conformist and the non-conformist. Randle McMurphy's arrival influenced the lives of almost every person, whether patient or employee. Whether or not his motives and actions were moral or good-hearted is difficult to conclude, however. On one hand, he undoubtedly saved the patients from losing their souls, so to speak, to Nurse Ratched and her ward....   [tags: Ken Kesey Flew Over Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Better Essays
1163 words (3.3 pages)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey in 1962, is a book about a lively con man that turns a mental institution upside down with his rambunctious antics and sporadic bouts with the head nurse. Throughout the book, this man shows the others in the institution how to stand up for themselves, to challenge conformity to society and to be who they want to be. It is basically a book of good versus evil, the good being the con man R.P. McMurphy, and the bad being the head nurse, Nurse Ratched....   [tags: One Flew Cuckoo's Nest Kesey]

Free Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a multidimensional novel with many important messages in which Kesey strives to relay to the readers. Kesey did not write this novel for the sole purpose of entertainment, even though it was very entertaining, but did write it with the intent to show the readers many realities of life. First of all Kesey shows in this book that how people are perceived in society may not really be how that person is and that things are sometimes different than what they seem....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Better Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- Everyone at some point in their lives have felt different or out of place. Everyone has also either had a bully or that one person they just didn't want to be around them or anyone they knew. Furthermore, everyone has had that one person they admired for sticking up for themselves and saying what they wanted, even if it meant sure punishment. In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, these three attributes stick out in the story. A discussion of the setting, theme, and character situations of the story will help one understand how those feelings fall into line with most every person on the streets today....   [tags: Kesey Flew Cuckoo's Nest Analysis]

Free Essays
1294 words (3.7 pages)

Laughter as Therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- Laughter as Therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Laughter is a therapeutic form. In the novel One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey laughter represents freedom and an escape from nurse Ratched’s restrictions. Laughter also proves a vital role in helping the patients deal with their problems. Not only does it help them deal with problems but it also gave them the push toward progress on getting out of the institution.      Mcmurphy was the one who started making people laughing in the ward....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Better Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)

Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay examples

- Chief Bromden is a character who has to work his way back to being and acting like a real human after so many years of being 'dehumanized' (Porter 49) into a machine created by the evil Nurse Ratched. I. Bromden in the beginning A. Dehumanized by Nurse Ratched 1. structured 2. forbids laughing 3. controlling B. The effect that the Nurse and the ward have on Bromden 1. could not smell 2. thinks of himself as little 3. hides in the fog 4. fears everything 5. sees himself as comic 6. hallucinates II....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Free Essays
3215 words (9.2 pages)

Essay on Woman in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

- Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a book in which he dealt with the issues of racism, sex and authority that is going on in a mental institute. In the novel, the women are depicted as the power figures who are able to significantly manipulate the patients on the ward. There are four ways of Ken Kesey’s using of “woman” as a subject: Superiority of male sexuality over female authority, matriarchal system that seeks to castrate men in the society, mother figures as counterpart of Big Nurse and “Womanish” values defined as civilizing in the novel....   [tags: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest]

Better Essays
2138 words (6.1 pages)

Essay on Chief Bromden's Escape in Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

- Chief Bromden's Escape in Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest How can you be big and small at the same time. In Ken Kesey's novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden is one of the inmates in an insane asylum who escapes the Institution. Many of the other inmates are afraid of the Institution and cannot escape. How does Chief escape. McMurphy helps him break free. He teaches Chief how to be strong and independent again. He listens to Chief and helps him get back his self-confidence....   [tags: Ken Kesey Cuckoo's Nest]

Free Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)