Examples Of Mental Illness In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

2027 Words9 Pages

Mental illness has proven to be one of the most controversial topics, leading to a severe stigma surrounding it. In the time that Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was written, people who were rejected and outcast from society for either being gay or too feminine were considered as mentally ill and were placed in mental asylums, similar to the one present in the narrative. These men were judged solely on their lack of masculinity, and were further stripped of this characteristic by the women in the novel. Ken Kesey illustrates that the imbalance of control between genders leads to a continuous power struggle through the symbolism of Nurse Ratched’s uniform, Bromden’s schizophrenic episodes and flashbacks, and the characterization …show more content…

From Bromden’s schizophrenic illusions as seeing the entire corruption of the hospital to the mechanical descriptions of many of the authority personalities, this comparison is one of the most stressed symbolisms. The mental institution, commonly referred to as the “combine,” clearly demonstrates the outcast members of society especially for not fitting within the pre-made confines created by the world around them. The many patients are deemed unstable solely because they contradict preconceived notions about men, specifically those pertaining to sexuality, strength and confidence. This allusion is further exemplified by the back and forth reins of control between masculine and feminine forces. Especially in this time period, women were only to be thought of as purely objects, and not strong people, and men as hardworking and overly manly. Kesey defies these stereotypes constructed by his society by including countless feeble men and an overbearingly powerful woman. The continual war between Ratched and McMurphy is not only progressive for the setting in time of this novel, but also includes both a well-rounded female and male, who can both be seen as potent personas for the same reasons, making One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a concept that surprisingly challenges many social constructs, especially those involving gender

Open Document