Analysis of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"

1714 WordsMay 27, 20137 Pages
The psychiatric ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey directly represents a society in which free thinking is rejected. Randal McMurphy, the protagonist in the story, symbolizes the free spirit, or the one who is on the journey to truth because of his outgoing personality and want to break the rules. As the story progresses, McMurphy teaches the other patients about how to push boundaries, and stay true to yourself in order to find truth. In a similar way, the poem Brahma by Ralph Waldo Emerson takes over the persona of Brahma, a Hindu god, who reveals two important facts about the journey for the self. Brahma teaches that all things, no matter how unrelated, are part of a bigger picture or purpose, and that material goods are worth nothing when it comes to finding truth. Although both these works are, at a first glance, totally different, they both relate directly to lessons that can be followed in order to reach enlightenment. In the journey for the self, being a free thinker is difficult, especially in this society because of the increased reliance on the system. It is important to always push the boundaries and test the authority of one’s superiors because without the restriction of a higher power, truth cannot be accomplished. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shows this kind of attitude in the scene where he wants to switch the schedule so he and the rest of the ward can watch the World Series. “’Come on now, what is this crap? I thought you guys could vote on policy and that sort of thing. Isn’t that the way it is, Doc?’ The doctor nods without looking up. ‘Okay then; now who wants to watch those games?’ Cheswick shoves his hand higher and glares around. Scanlon shakes his head and raises his hand… And nobody else. McMurphy can’t say a word. ‘If that’s settled then,’ the nurse says, ‘perhaps we should get on

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