Ewrrew Essay

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PSYCHOLOGY One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Not too many books take you into the world of mental illness. One Flew Over the

Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey does. It is told through the eyes of a mental patient named

Chief Bromden. He is a northwest Indian, who is disturbed with hallucinations about

machines taking over the world he knows. The mental hospital is in Oregon; a Nurse

Ratched, has machine like control of everyone and everything in the ward. The only hint

of her humanity is the fact that she posseses very large breasts, which she keeps tucked

away under her neat-as-a-pin white uniform. The Chief has been there the longer than

anyone except for Ratched. He uses this to his advantage by making the other people in

the ward think he is deaf and dumb.

Life in the ward is quiet until a new patient is admitted. His name is Radall

Patrick McMurphy and he is a redheaded brute who smells of sweat, work, dirt and dust.

He starts in by disrupting everything familiar in the ward, the silence, the admitting

showers, and the way the black boys bully the patients around. He quickly makes friends

with everyone including the Chronics who are vegetable like patients. McMurphy is a

gambling man who insist that he wanted to come to the ward for an easier life than the

one he had at work camp where he previously stayed. One of his first bets with the other

patients is to make Ratched lose control of the ward without giving her an excuse to

punish him. McMurphy leads the patients through numerous confrontations with the

staff. He soon learns he can't leave the hospital without Ratched's approval, so he begins

to obey her rules.

By raising hopes he hasn't fulfilled, he leaves the patients worse off than before.

One becomes so depressed he drowns himself. McMurphy plans a fishing trip for the

ward and talks to Chief about it. The Chief speaks for the first time in years about the

Combine: his world of the machines, the government, his own mother, who destroy

freedom in favor of machine like conformity. He talks about how the Combine made his

father "small" in the mind and how it is making him "small" in the mind as well.

McMurphy makes another deal with Chief: if Chief can grow strong enough, mentally, to

lift the control panel, then McMurphy will let him go on the fishing trip for free. On the

trip away from Ratched the patients grow stronger and more capable, but the Chief

notices McMurphy has grown weaker from the hospital. McMurphy arranges a date for

Billy Bibbit with a prostitute to enable Billy to become a man. When an aide abuses a

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