Cuckoo's Nest Psychoanalysis

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The goal of most mental hospitals is rehabilitation of the human psyche. To be cured of a mental disorder is nearly impossible, but the purpose of these hospitals is to attempt to suppress the id of a person’s subconscious. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey utilizes the psychoanalytic theory and his own life experiences to depict his dynamic character’s dreams, hidden subconscious thoughts, basic desire of their id, and reality of their ego. Kesey uses his character’s dreams to reveal their subconscious desires, express what they wish they could accomplish but are limited due to society’s rules, and showcase what they secretly desire when their subconscious goes unchecked during their sleep. The only character’s dreams that Kesey …show more content…

McMurphy arrives to the ward thinking he is different from the other patients on the ward, but throughout the novel his hidden subconscious thoughts of his true mental state are revealed. While introducing himself to the patients, McMurphy tells the background story of how he ended up where he was. He says that the “court ruled that [he’s] a psychopath” (13), and he didn’t argue with that ruling. Although he doesn’t deny that he belongs on a mental ward, he claims that he only acted the way he did to leave “those damned pea fields” (13) and quit working. Because he is a true gambler at heart, he bets the patients that he can get under Nurse Ratched’s skin and shake up things on the ward. The way he doesn’t take things seriously shows that he most likely believes that he is better than everyone else on the ward, although he is one of the only ones committed. When the patients get to visit the pool, McMurphy meets a patient from the Disturbed ward who he can relate to because he is also committed. The patient was picked up for something trivial, but has been there for “eight years and eight months” (171). After realizing that being committed meant that how long he stays is up to the head nurse and doctor, McMurphy’s entire demeanor changes from rebellious to submissive. He finished two months on the work farm and only had four more months until he would be released. Four months was the “most he wanted to spend locked up any place” (171), and he had already spent a month on the ward. Although the ward had better living conditions than the work farm, it was guaranteed that he would be released from the farm as long as he completed his sentence. But now, there is no set day for him to leave the ward. McMurphy starts to realize that he might’ve made a mistake by trying to get out of a few months of work, and trading that for commitment to a mental hospital. In the back of his mind McMurphy knew that he might be on the ward longer than what

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