Ken Kesey Biography and One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

Topics: Ken Kesey, Psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants, Eugene, Oregon Pages: 3 (929 words) Published: November 1, 2012
Kesey was born on September, 17th, 1935 in La Junta Colorado. Growing up his father worked for a creamery business as the family lived on a farm. Both his parents were very religious Christians and raised Kesey the same way. The family had moved around quite a few times before finally settling in Eugene Oregon, where Kesey’s father founded Eugene Farmers Cooperative.

Ken Kesey went to high school and university in Oregon where he majored his studies towards acting and continued his love for sports with wrestling. Kesey received his bachelor degree in 1957, and then enrolled in creative writing at Stanford University.

After University, he returned to his hometown to work in the dairy business (like his parents) for a year with his brother Chuck. Kesey also married in 1957 and had four children. He singed up for the military but, was disqualified because of a shoulder injury while wrestling, which also stopped him from doing the sport. Since this career was out of reach Kesey signed up for a writing program in 1958. However, he went through some radical transformations when a friend offered him the job of doing experiments with hallucinogenic drugs at Veterans' Administration Hospital. This job convinced Kesey to start working in a mental hospital which is where he was inspired to write ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ which was finished in 1962.

While working with his brother back in Eugene for the creamery business, Kesey started his next book ‘Sometimes a Great Nation’. While ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest’ was gaining more popularity, a Broadway version of it was made in 1963. ‘Sometimes a Great Nation’ was then finished in 1964 but, never achieved the same success as Kesey's first book.

Kesey took a break from writing to form a small group with his friends called the "Merry Pranksters". The group did "Acidic Tests" and introduced LSD to a wider audience. Kesey was then under drug arrest in 1966 and went to Mexico with his family to avoid...
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