One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Criticism

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“Kesey portrays his society’s definition of ‘madness’ as something used by an authoritarian culture to dehumanize the individual and replace it with an automaton that dwells in a safe, blind conformity.” (Teglen 226). One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel about the corruption of society, and the importance of individualism. It is told from the perspective of a patient, Chief Bromden, who is ridiculed for being deaf and dumb, even though he fakes these two qualities. He is among other “mentally unstable” patients, who are all controlled by Nurse Ratched. To her dismay, a man named Randall McMurphy enters the hospital and disrupts her control over the other patients. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey uses characters and theme to criticize the structure of mental hospitals and flaws of society. One character that shows the negative influence of the mental hospital’s establishment is Chief Bromden. Bromden was a schizophrenic character who pretended to be deaf and dumb to avoid confrontation with other patients. He was convinced of the idea of something he called “the Combine”, which he believed to be the government and industrial groups that are trying to control people with machines (Kesey 6). To Nurse Ratched, Bromden was thought to be unfixable. This just increased his hatred for her and her staff. He hallucinated that they created a constant, dense fog that hung over the ward (Kesey 7). To McMurphy, Bromden was not crazy. He was “not exactly the everyday man on the street”, but he certainly was not crazy (Kesey 195). After McMurphy came into the ward and “took over”, Bromden started to feel comfortable with him as the authoritative figure and began to participate with the other patients. He even was the deciding vote which allowed the patients to watch the World Series (Kesey 142). His relationship with McMurphy developed, and he felt so comfortable with Randle that he finally spoke. McMurphy influenced the Chief so greatly...
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