One Who Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

In: Novels

Submitted By ccv09
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Ken Kesey’s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, takes place in an Oregon psychiatric institution. On the surface, the major characters in this book all seem like your average mental health patients and that their stories are all open and shut cases about people who are institutionalized because they are simply crazy. However, this is a book that deals with social issues that give a reader the opportunity to understand the complexity of who we are, how different we are from one another, and what influences each one of us. Inside the mental institution, each character could be the same as anyone else outside the walls in which they are confined. These characters represent a microcosm of what exists in everyday life in the outside world. In the “real world” as we know it, there are paranoid people like Chief Bromden; obsessive compulsives like George Sorenson; or someone like Randy McMurphy, who chose the mental institution as the lesser of two evils to pay for a crime he committed. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the most prominent social conflict emerges through the character of Randle McMurphy. McMurphy was the protagonist in this book and he was the one who showed the patients the way to rebuff the system, laugh, and defy authority through humor. The patients began to find strength in his leadership. However, McMurphy came to realize that the very people he was defying were the same people who would determine the timeframe of his release from the hospital. When McMurphy decided to play it safe and stop bucking the system, the other patients who looked up to him were very disappointed because they did not have him to support them and they were not strong enough to fight the system alone. I never believed in the philosophy that we are our “brothers’ keeper (28).” But, because everyone relied on McMurphy to stand up and help them fight the horrible…...

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