Ken Kesey, the author of the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was encouraged by his own life experiences to share with the world his extreme dislike towards a life of confinement. He illustrates his belief in anti-conformity through the life of Randall Patrick McMurphy, a patient who opposes the restrained and controlled life in the mental hospital. McMurphy is seen as a manipulator who rebels against the rules set forth by the institute and persuades the other patients to revolt with him. Thus, showing the inmates that there is life past the hospital. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest explores the anti-conformist feelings of a psychosomatic being, who attempts to break free of the restricted lifestyle and escape into a world of freedom.
Ken Kesey's inspiration to write this book came from his personal experience with psychedelic drugs. He was told through a friend that a hospital was searching for paid volunteers to take mind-altering drugs.
By going to work high on LSD, he was then able to understand the pain felt by the patients on the ward, which led to his total hatred for the restrictions put upon the them. In addition, the job allowed him to examine everything that went on within the confines of the hospital. In the words of critic Lynne Shackleford, "Disturbed by the dehumanizing treatment of the patients, Kesey decided to write a novel about them, even going so far as to undergo, in secret, electroshock therapy to render his portrayal credible" (Shackleford 3089). "Part of Kesey's motivation was to criticize certain methods of psychiatric treatment that he found cruel or ineffective..." (3090). Kesey's determination to fully represent and understand the ways of life described in One
Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is what makes the book so appealing to