Essay PreviewMore ↓
Importance of Humor and Laughter in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
"There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. Since the first two pass our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third."
In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, humor is present in a very powerful form. Normally, insane people don’t have the capacity to laugh or find the humor in something as we "normal" people do. They live tragic existences, wandering day by day in the bland, depressing world of an asylum. They have forgotten how to live because they are under the authoritative rule of the head nurse, and under the behavioral influence of drug doses and bossy orderlies. The patients have no real existence of their own, and they are essentially lifeless. As the Lord works in mysterious ways, Randall MacMurphy is "sent" to heal the patients of the asylum. He shows them that to laugh is good, and laughing at yourself can sometimes be the best medicine. He is the comic healer who gives life to the otherwise hopeless patients of the asylum. MacMurphy seems to have an affinity for laughter. In essence, it is an escape for him- it makes him feel good, and most importantly, it radiates to his friends, and helps heal them.
This book is about so many things, it is hard to stay on one topic for any length of time. In order to focus on the laugh and laughing as a healing agent, I would like to look towards other influential writers and thinkers to tie together laughing and healing. First, let’s see what laughter is according to Meriam Webster: laughter- n. a cause of merriment. Using this simple definition, we can assume that laughter can come from any form of merriment or emotion like triumph, contempt, relief, and almost any other emotion there is. It is easy to picture in your head different underlying emotions in laughter; the sinister laughs of witches and ghosts, the insincere, fake laughs you hear after pointless, humorless attempts at jokes on the six o’clock news, to the silent laughs of mimes and clowns that fill the people around them with a happy feeling. These are all examples of what laughter is and how it is used. But why do we do it? What in nature created the laugh and made it so successful?
How to Cite this Page
"Importance of Humor and Laughter in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- People often find themselves as part of a collective, following society's norms and may find oneself in places where feeling constrained by the rules and will act out to be unconstrained, as a result people are branded as nuisances or troublemakers. In the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the author Ken Kesey conveys the attempt McMurphy makes to live unconstrained by the authority of Nurse Ratched. The story is very one sided and helps create an understanding for those troublemakers who are look down on in hopes of shifting ingrained ideals.... [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Hippie, Ken Kesey]
1210 words (3.5 pages)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a controversial novel that has left parents and school authorities debating about its influence on students since its publication in 1962. The novel describes the inner workings of a mental institution, how the patients are emasculated and mistreated by the terrifying Nurse Ratched, who will go to any length to control them. But in comes McMurphy, a criminal who chose to go to an asylum rather than serve physical labor; he disrupts the order of the hospital with his big personality and loud opinions, undermining the authority of Nurse Ratched and encouraging the patients to live their own lives, until he too, is silenced forever by authority.... [tags: Essay on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest]
671 words (1.9 pages)
- Absolute power corrupts absolutely. In the psychological novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, this statement is not just a cliche but a prominent theme throughout the novel. Kesey uses a tyrannical nurse and savior like patient to prove that the corruption of power has an effect on others oneself. In the mental ward there are immoral and illegal things going on. Nurse Ratched employs men whose exposure to social injustice and racism on the Outside has created in them an unfocused hate that is a constant source of energy” (“henryPorter”).... [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]
1697 words (4.8 pages)
- Pros and Cons of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Chaitrangi Patel Eng: 122-03 Prof. Lasky Thesis Statement - The mental institution which restricts the settings and moods the films sets in different scenes. Introduction > Name and Director of Film > Characters II. Summary of Film > Jack Nicholson as R.P. McMurphy > Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched III. Details in the Film > Cons > Pros IV. Mise en Scene > Setting > Cinematography > Supporting Actors > Last Scene V.... [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy]
1681 words (4.8 pages)
- “There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back. Life 's point of no return.” - Dag Hammarskjold This quote flawlessly describes the state each main character reaches in Chapter 28 of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. By the point of no return, I do not mean that the characters have reached a dead end. My intended meaning is much deeper than that. The point i speak is the point in which they can not revert to their old selves.... [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy]
2078 words (5.9 pages)
- The society that we live in today has shaped individuals perspectives on what is right or wrong. Take for instance; I acquire a metal pot and a wooden spoon and advance to the streets of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. I am right next to the stop sign of the HPER building. I sit down and sat drumming up any sort of rhyme. The chance that I will looked at crazy or even called crazy will be over 90%. What defines humans as crazy. Who is the person that made this rules. These are the kind of questions the play “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST” is trying to ask.... [tags: Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]
771 words (2.2 pages)
- Ken Kesey in his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest question a lot of things that you think almost everyday. With this famous portrait of a mental institute its rebellious patients and domineering caretakers counter-culture icon Kesey is doing a whole lot more than just spinning a great yarn. He is asking us to stop and consider how what we call "normal" is forced upon each and every one of us. Stepping out of line, going against the grain, swimming upstream whatever your metaphor, there is a steep price to pay for that kind of behavior.... [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy]
711 words (2 pages)
- One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Sometimes in life people are forced to conform to a certain situation for lack of a better alternative, and this is the case in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. These such people lack the will to stand up for their scruples, and intern are simply guided through their mundane lives by the powers that be. Until someone comes along offering them leadership and the prospect to become “big again.” The man who does so is no other than R.P. McMurphy. Scanlon, Harding, Bibbit, and Chief Bromden may have become adjusted to the oppressive system in which they lived, but certainly were much better adjusted to the real world and life in general after their experienc... [tags: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest]
1632 words (4.7 pages)
- 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]
932 words (2.7 pages)
- 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]
852 words (2.4 pages)
This is clearly evident in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when MacMurphy leads the unauthorized fishing excursion. They laugh, laugh at each other, and by simply reading about their adventures, their feelings, and the laughs they shared, the reader gets a warm feeling inside knowing that everyone is being healed with such a simple, yet powerful device. Sigmund Freud, probably the world’s most famous psychologist, had his own view of what laugher was. Freud believed that humans built up psychic energies to carry out different tasks. When an excess of energy build up, it is pleasurably discharged as laughter. In general, he thought of humor as an economical use of thought and feeling.
Using terms more familiar with Freud which I learned in Introductory Psychology, humor signifies the success of the ego and the fulfillment of the pleasure principle. Laughing, to Freud, then, is a sort of playful judgment, because he makes it clear that the nature of humor includes thoughts and feelings. MacMurphy’s humor is full of thoughts and feelings, and it rubs off on others. When he was discovered in a dark bathroom late one night, his friend came to the rescue when MacMurphy was asked what he was doing there by saying that the mirrors in the bathroom made a man uncomfortable while doing his business. This is an example of Mac’s humor being learned by his friends. Reading this indicates that they now possess something that gives them the freedom to be people again, and the power to control their own emotions and actions. So the act of laughter has now been broken down and examined by a variety of methods and people. What once seemed to be so simple is now a complex composition of emotion, science, and human nature. We thrive in, relate to each other in, and most of all, we heal each other with that now complex activity. It is clear to me that life would not be the same if we didn’t have humor. The elements of a joke, the feeling it radiates, and the therapy it gives to all of us is the power with which Randall MacMurphy heals his friends in that otherwise lonely asylum. We don’t understand much else about the why’s and how’s of laughter, but we all seem to know, simply, that it works. Ken Kesey receives my praise for integrating such a simple thing into a complex shoreline filled with so many other things that we could spend weeks picking apart. Freud says that "Discovery often occurs only when one is willing to ignore the obvious and focus upon the curious detail that has the appearance of fortuitousness and the aura of triviality." This means that in order for us to further understand the existence of things like humor in Kesey’s book, we have to ignore our feelings and sacrifice the pleasure and ask questions that help us discover what it is about humor that is so powerful. But that’s not a job I want to do. I think I’ll stick with analyzing the power this book has on my life and what it teaches me about the opportunities we all have, no matter how crazy we are perceived to be, to make a difference in others’ lives.