Hallucinogenic Drugs In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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During the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, American society looked negatively on psychiatric wards and how to treat those that inhabited the wards along with the women that were fighting strongly for equality in the workplace, and in the community. In the wards of America, harsh operations were bestowed upon patients in hopes that it would cure whatever ailment the patient suffered from. In society, women fought for equality, and at times had impacts stronger than man. Ken Kesey accurately shows the struggle of the patients of a psychiatric ward that struggle with the impact of a stronger matriarchal society. By writing while experiencing the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shows the struggles…show more content…
While writing his first published novel, Kesey was still using those drugs and used them to his advantage: “There he was introduced to psychoactive drugs such as mescaline and LSD, and became a frequent user of them. He was under the influence of these drugs during some of the time he wrote this, his first published novel” (Telgen 219). While Kesey was using those drugs and still while writing, he traveled the country with a group of friends called the Merry Pranksters. Kesey and the Pranksters often stopped to conduct “...a series of ‘Acid-Tests,’ festival-like events held at various venues where LSD was introduced to a wider audience” (“Ken”). These acid tests help to show the frequent use of hallucinogenic drugs that Kesey often used while writing. In the novel, main character Chief “Broom” Bromden is frequently given medicinal drugs that make him hallucinate things that are never there, “Nobody complains about all the fog. I know why, now: as bad as it is, you can slip back in it and feel safe” (Kesey 108). The fog that Bromden sees is a figment of the drugs that he is given, like the images that would see during his useage. Finally with Kesey’s drug use, while a part of the Merry Pranksters, he was a government test to see the effects of certain drugs: “Kesey’s experiences bridged the two groups, for he was a subject in a scientific experiment on the effects of LSD-lysergic…show more content…
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a Chink in McMurphy’s Armor.” English Literature: Twentieth Century: Authors: Kesey, Ken, Arcadia, 2011, pp. 209-213. ProQuest Literature Online, Tanner, Stephen L. “The Western American Context of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Jeffrey W. Hunter, vol. 341, Gale, 2013, Walsh, Kenneth T. “The 1960s: A Decade of Change for Women.” U.S. News, 12 Mar. 2010, Wexler, Robert P. “The Mixed Heritage of the Chief: Revisiting the Problem of Manhood in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” English Literature: Twentieth Century: Authors: Kesey, Ken, Journal of Popular Culture, 1996, pp. 225-235, ProQuest Literature Online
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