One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Individualism

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AP English IV 1st 13 November, 2014 A Life Vicariously through Fiction Much like the characters in his novels, Ken Kesey thrived and wrote to reveal a higher meaning to his encounters to compel his ideology. Raised and inspired by a strong-willed “American frontier” way of life, and changed by, “Social evil, with institutional constraints that hinder individuality” (Cultural Revolution), Kesey never stopped embedding his beliefs into works that helped spark a revolution. In the creation of novels such as, Sometimes a Great Notion, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Sailor Song, Kesey unfolds the significance of individualism against a structured society, the need for rebellion, and the value of being an outlier in conformity. Ken Kesey…show more content…
Soon after entering adulthood, he would take part in an experiment that would not only enhance his perspective, but also intensify his individualistic beliefs into actions that, “sparked the psychedelic revolution, which spawned the hippie movement” (Great American Trip), along with giving him the insight and inspiration to write, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In 1960, Ken Kesey volunteered to take part in an Army test to observe the effects of mind-altering drugs. From this, Kesey reveals that the drugs, “gave me a different perspective on the people in the mental hospital, a sense that maybe they were not so crazy, or as bad as the sterile environment they were living in” (Great American Trip). This mind set is what led him to the story of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. To continue Kesey expression through strong-willed lead roles who differentiate from the crowd, he created the character of Randle Patrick McMurphy, to showcase his own rebellious ideas into, “a defiant man in a madhouse where madness was the only affirming and clarifying response to the dehumanizing tyranny of an authority figure” (Great American Trip). Though the use of psychedelic drugs contributed to Keseys expression, he states that, “Drugs don’t create characters or stories any more than pencils do. They are merely instruments that help get them on the page” (Ken Kesey). It is in this novel that Kesey sets out to relay his ideas that he lives his life through. He first begins by constructing a setting of societal influence, a mental hospital. This alone sets up such a high risk of controversy, depicting society as an enemy figure. Believing that, “Anytime you have a force that comes along and says, ‘We will eradicate these people’, you have evil” (Great American Trip). Through Randle McMurphy, Kesey not only brings to light

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