"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"...how Kenny Kesey uses humor to disguise underlying truths.

Essay by Bonita610High School, 11th gradeA+, April 2004

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In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, the author uses humor in the characters' sarcastic comments and bantering to faintly disguise the truths beneath. Kesey writes about men who find themselves trapped in a crazy world and each man is seeking his own solution. It is evident that the only sane response to a crazy situation is humor.

"Everyday, the people of this Earth take part in the simple act called laughter. We laugh at the jokes of David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as those from our good friends. We listen to humorous anecdotes about vacations and one-of-a-kind experiences. There is humor in nearly everything around us. Sometimes it is in forms we can't see, or it is masked by something tragic or depressing. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, humor is present in a very powerful form. Normally, insane people don't have the capacity to laugh or find the humor in something as we "normal" people do.

They live tragic existences, wandering day by day in the bland depressing world of an asylum. They have forgotten how to live because they are under the authorities rule of the head nurse, and under the behavioral influence of drug doses and bossy orderlies. The patients have no real existence of their own, and they are essentially lifeless (Domby 1)"

The main source of sarcasm throughout One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is Randal Patrick McMurphy, who has been "sent" to heal the patients of the asylum. He is constantly trying to make the other mental patients laugh, or at least show some reaction to what he is saying. When he first enters the ward, the thing that immediately distinguishes him, aside from his lack of fear, are his jokes. He manages to avoid any sort...