One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Research Paper

1744 words 7 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
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“Hum of black machinery, humming hatred and death and other hospital secrets. They don't bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when I'm nearby because they think I'm deaf and dumb. Everybody thinks so” (Keasey 3). In this novel the perspectives of what is sane and what is insane is dramatically different. What the hospital deems as insane and the way those labeled people are treated represents the rule of society on the definition of normalcy, or saneness. Depending on the point of view it is possible to say that the people that run the hospital are insane themselves, furthering the theme of what is sane versus what is deemed as insane.
In this novel, the literary element of characterization is implemented heavily and expressed strongly, creating the spine of the story. There are two main ways in which characterization is displayed, through appearance and speech. Appearance, such as clothing in this story is emphasized strongly, as it represents the entire makeup of the character in question. “The way characters dress provides insights into their personalities. Nurse Ratched’s perfectly white, tight uniform indicates her obsession with cleanliness and order as well as her attempt to contain her womanhood by disguising how big her breasts are. McMurphy, in contrast, is often wearing boxers with whales on them, showing that he’s