Mapping Ken Kesey’s ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’


“I’m sorry to disrupt you…but don’t you understand that everyone must follow the regulations? ” The large nurse asks “Ya know, ma’am, ya know.” Replies McMurphy nervelessly. “That’s the exact thing person ever tells me about the rules…just when they figure out I’m about to make the dead opposite.” Ken Kesey’s novelOne Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nestis one of the greatest illustrations of the battle against authorities and subjugation. It captures the full sweep of control every bit good as societies outlooks of order through the mundane experiences of a mental establishment. Although the book could fall into legion genres, it most closely resembles a amusing play. And though you may non recognize it, there are oppressive forces all around you in today’s society. You are required to go to school, get a occupation, follow a set of regulations, and pay revenue enhancements. If you refuse to make so you are about certain to run into resistance that either makes you follow the regulations or takes you to a topographic point for you to be corrected. It seems that there are people who thrive on a regulated agenda of regulations and order, and those who are in changeless rebellion. Whichever of the two classs a individual may fall into:One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nestis a powerful and enlightening position on this affair.

Plot Maping

The book is narrated by a 6 pes 7 half Indian named Bromden, who has been a patient on the mental ward for over 20 old ages. He acts like he is deaf and dense because he assumes that no 1 cares to listen to him any longer. The ward is broken up into two different types of patients. The Acutes, that have minor psychological defects and can still be fixed, and the Chronics, who are so far gone that there is no opportunity of mental stableness. Bromden, due to his elaborate rouse, has fooled the staff into believing him to be a Chronic for all these old ages. He does nevertheless, suffer from intense hallucinations of a elephantine machine he calls the Combine that has complete control over everything. Life on the ward is a stiff and dry calm of bland humdrum held in topographic point by the austere appreciation of a adult female the patients merely refer to as “The Big Nurse” . This is until a wild and tittuping good hearted con adult male named Randle McMurphy arrives. He is transferred from a work farm after he engages in legion battles with other workers. His brainsick jokes and bent for chancing ( peculiarly card games ) along with his bright uncontrollable spirit ignites a rebellious craze among the patients. The Big Nurse is non used to this sort of rebelliousness and instantly goes to work seeking to incorporate him.

She keeps a unagitated calm and frozen smiling whenever covering with McMurphy’s mischiefs. He makes a stake with the other patients that he can do her lose her forbearance by the terminal of the hebdomad. When the Nurse turns off the Television while McMurphy is watching the World Series, he sits at that place gazing at the space screen feigning to still be watching the game. Soon the others join him whooping and hollering at the fanciful homeruns. The nurse loses her forbearance and shrieks, wholly fade outing her solemn and unagitated tone. After this episode McMurphy continues to seeking her forbearance invariably, until he realizes why the other patients aren’t about every bit bold as him. Most of them are in the infirmary by pick, whereas he can non go forth until the Big Nurse deems him suit to. So he follows her rigorous regimen closely. But after hebdomads of obeying ward policy precisely, he begins to see that the other work forces will stay weak and unstable unless he helps them detect their worth that is shunned under the oppressive nurse.

He ramps up all attempts to subvert her, including taking Bromden and the Acutes on a fishing trip and crushing the dirt out of the nurse Plutos. During this clip most of the patients start to experience much more confident in themselves and Bromden’s hallucinations begins to lessen and he starts speaking after old ages of silence. Even though McMurphy is given extended electroconvulsive therapy therapy, he continues frontward without the slightest mark of halting. The Acutes eventually hold that the lone manner that McMurphy will of all time go forth the ward is to get away. He plans to do an flight after he throws a party on the ward and sneaks two cocottes in to assist a patient named Billy eventually lose his virginity. But by the terminal of the dark he is excessively intoxicated to creep out of the unfastened window and falls asleep. When the nurse discovers Billy asleep with the miss the following forenoon she threatens to state his female parent. Billy is in hysterical and putting to deaths himself by cutting his carpus. The Big Nurse Blames it on McMurphy and this proves to be the concluding straw as he gets up and about strangles her. As a consequence he is given a leukotomy that turns him into a mindless veggie. After his operation the Acutes are stronger than of all time and about all of them leave the ward or transportation to other 1s. In the center of the dark Bromden suffocates McMurphy with a pillow so that he will non stay a symbol of the Big Nurse. Bromden throws a 400lb control panel through the window and escapes into the dark eventually crushing the nurse at her ain game and fring himself of all psychotic beliefs.

Fictional character Analysis

McMurphy is a strong, tall, tattooed, and unsmooth red-head that has bounced from topographic point to put his full life. He enjoys smoke, gaming, mischievousness and non taking orders from anyone. But with all of his jobs he is queerly one of the kindest and most echt people to come from that sort of background. He’s merely a good old male child that laughs when things get gluey. In the beginning he is merely as happy and content with life on the ward as if he was at a resort. He doesn’t have a attention in the universe as he jokes with the patients and accepts every one of them as if they were his best brothers. But half manner through the book he feels the fright of ne’er being able to go forth if he continues to maintain up the manner he’s been moving. He complies because he is scared of the fact that the Big Nurse has so much power. But so he transforms into a sort of male parent figure assisting the work forces conquer their frights as he battles his ain. He feels as though it is his responsibility to see that the patients and he are non repressed by the nurse. And even though deep down he is tired and beaten he’ll dice before he lets her round them.

Motifs & A ; Subjects

The book is chock full of implicit in messages and subjects, one of them being the battle against forces of control. The characters are shoved into order by the ward nurse and her eternal policies. We see great illustrations of what happens when the patients try to interrupt free of this chokehold. Their battle is brightly illustrated in ways that remind us of the bind of our lives every twenty-four hours. Another strong message conveyed is the compassion shown by McMurphy, as he sympathizes with the work forces on the ward and can see how suffering their state of affairs has become. He cares profoundly for others and will contend for their cause even when others won’t. The last major, but most important subject is sacrifice. McMurphy could hold wholly ignored the Canadian dollars if he wanted to and allow their state of affairs worsen. But alternatively of allowing them putrefaction, he trades the possibility of go forthing the ward and devotes his life to doing them weather, smiling, and happy persons. In the terminal it cost him his life, which he considered good worth it.

Critique of Author

Ken Kesey majored in psychological science in college and so served as a adviser in a mental establishment for many old ages. Kesey, like most intellectuals during the psychedelic 1960ss dabbled in LSD and finally fled to Mexico when he tried to blush marijuana down the lavatory. He wrote the book in 1962 because he saw how edge and helpless most of the entrees on in the infirmary felt through his experiences on the ward. He thought that the populace in the United States did non hold an accurate thought of what people with mental disablements experience, and weren’t every bit psychotic as they were made to look. He besides felt that the authorities in topographic point at the clip was unjust and had the power to do determinations that were unethical and destroyed individual’s lives. He was highly effectual in showing an wholly different position on authorities and their incorrect behaviors and it couldn’t have come at a better clip in American history. He made a convincing statement that made people recognize precisely what goes on in those establishments every bit good as altering their position on authorities and its ability to pull strings. The book was finally adapted into a wildly successful film movie Jack Nicolson. The film remains # 15 on the list of the greatest films of all time made. Kesey seems to keep house to the thought that there are other ways to populate life without following a regulation set precisely. The writer suggests that the manner that you perceive life as a whole truly dictates what you can do of it. He is an optimist in about every facet, happening the simplest things the most gratifying and that “The merely thing you can make when you’re in a universe of crap, is sit back and laugh” .

Analysis and Evaluation of the Book

Personally I loved the book. It starts off grim and bleak and so flourishes into a humourous and deep narrative of battle and rebellion. The characters and their actions are by far my favourite portion, as they react in ways so vivid I can about see them moving the thing out in forepart of me. The item that goes into every sentence is unbelievable and I could hardly maintain myself rupturing through the novel in a twosome of hours. But with every rose comes its irritants. I hated the manner that McMurphy had to be slain for the other to recognize their worth. Even though it gives the book its power, it still makes for a intestine twisting stoping. I do believe that there are other ways to bask life besides making precisely what you’re told and like Kesey, besides feel that there does necessitate to be some signifier of control to keep justness and peace. I have officially seen the movie eight times, but the book offered so much more than the movie could of all time capture. It pulled on every emotion and made me experience so thankful to hold the life that I have. It besides refreshed my grasp for people who devote their lives to accomplish something that they believe in. One of the biggest obstructions in my life has been the ability to be able to suit in with others and seek to pass on with them in a manner that doesn’t make them run off shouting. The patients on the ward felt similar castawaies on a different wavelength than everyone else, and it made me experience as though I was sitting following to them seeking, to happen a topographic point where I belong. And I found great words of wisdom in a fictional character that told me “You’re no different than the mean bastard on the street, so discontinue your whining.”


The fresh trades with control in a manner that is so realistic that it is perfect. No failings shine through the pages at any point. A individual could knock that its reply to any signifier of authorization would to oppose and subvert it. But It truly what it does is informs you on ways to cover with bids that are inevitable. There are merely two inquiries that remain. Will the Big Nurse continue to govern with an Fe fist, or will she soften and recognize all of her mistakes? The other is whether the patients will keep true to the lessons that McMurphy taught them, or will they fall back into their former provinces? But whatever the concluding consequence is you can be certain that no affair how at bay and suffocated you may experience, there is ever a manner to freedom. “One flew E, one flew West, and one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

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