"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" portrays the physical, psychological and spiritual changes one undergoes in an asylum

Essay by Alex499High School, 11th gradeA-, May 2007

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In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, Ken Kesey exposes the physical, psychological and spiritual changes individuals encounter within an asylum. The novel has an honesty that is disturbing in it's vision of human psychology and spirit and of the existing society. In the regimented, institutionalised mental asylum of Nurse Ratched's the patients are stripped of own identity and it is not until the entrance of the charismatic character McMurphy that the patients begin to change and question the institutions functioning. Kesey writes the novel as an expose on the conservatism of the United States that existed at the time and the way in which citizens are forced to conform with no trace of individuality to become less than human.

Every character changes for specific reasons; however Chief Bromden is a character who is a catalyst for change throughout the novel. Bromden, the narrator, begins the story bullied, paranoid and surrounded much of the time by a hallucinated fog that represents both his medicated state and his desire to hide from reality.

He believes that he is extremely weak, even though in reality he is immensely strong. He has chosen to osiolate himself from all those around him. He has done this to protect himself from the other patients and from Nurse Ratched and her "black boys". He loaths Nurse Ratched and fears the power she wields. However throughout the novel, with the input of McMurphy he gradually begins to change.

The attention McMurphy shows Bromden awakens him from a living nightmare. Bromden respects and reveres McMurphy so much that he puts aside his personal feelings of fear and trepidation and acts against the constraints of Nurse Ratchet. An example of this is when he raises his hand to make the winning vote on whether to allow...