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Mental Illness In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Ken Kesey uses his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to describe the lives of patients in a mental institution, and their struggle to overcome the oppressive authority under which they are living. Told from the point of view of a supposedly mute schizophrenic, the novel also shines a light on the many disorders present in the patients, as well as how their illnesses affect their lives during a time when little known about these disorders, and when patients living with these illnesses were seen as an extreme threat. Chief Bromden, the narrator of the novel, has many mental illnesses, but he learns to accept himself and embrace his differences. Through the heroism introduced through Randle McMurphy, Chief becomes confident in himself, and is ultimately able to escape from the toxic environment Nurse Ratched has created on the ward. Chief has many disorders including schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and, in addition to these illnesses, he pretends to be deaf and dumb. This combination of many mind and life altering diagnoses leads to an interesting point of view, and a deeper look into the lives of people living with the…show more content…
“Paranoia is the belief that people are conspiring against you and deliberately trying to harm you” (Mirowsky, Ross 228). It is only natural for a man who had everything taken away from him to be wary of his surroundings, and find it difficult to trust anyone or anything. However, Chief’s association of the Nurse's station with a control panel that keeps the entire ward running, reveals his deepest layer of paranoia. Chief has always felt as though he was being controlled, and his paranoia regarding those running the ward shows readers that he does not trust them in any way. At one point Chief even goes as far to say that Nurse Ratched controls time on the ward. He
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