One That Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Character Analysis

756 Words4 Pages
In the novel, One That Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey sheds light on one of the world’s best kept secrets; the mistreatment of the ‘mentally ill’. Kesey proves that anyone capable of free-thought or having any form of diversity is seen as ‘broken’ and is forced to undergo certain treatments to fit expectations. From lobotomies to electroshock therapy, anything is fair game when it comes to treating those deemed as mentally ill. Bromden, the protagonist in One That Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, views the society he lives in as one that is brutal and oppressive. The hospital he lives in is seen as a ‘mechanic’s shop’ for those that don’t fit right in with the rest of society; a prison for displaced souls. He believes that those that…show more content…
Two characters that symbolize the ‘failures’ of the system in terms of treatment are Ellis and Ruckley. Both patients are seen as failures of treatment when their conditions severely worsened after being forced to submit to electroshock therapy. Ellis, as a result of the electroshock therapy, is then a symbol of religion as he stands against the wall in the form of a crucifix. “Ellis is a Chronic came in an Acute and got fouled up bad when they over loaded him in that filthy brain-murdering room that the black boys call the “Shock Shop.” (Kesey, twelve.) As a result of his increase in illness, he lives his days in the hospital by being nailed to the wall of the ward in the shape of an eerie crucifix. “He’s nailed against the wall in the same condition they lifted him off the table for the last time, in the same shape,arms out, palms cupped, with the same horror on his face… They pull the nails when it’s time to eat or time to drive him into bed when they want him to move so’s I can mop the puddle where he stands.” (Kesey, thirteen.) One character in the novel is known as the hospital's largest success story; Max Taber. Taber was known as the ward’s largest rebel before he too was forced to undergo electroshock therapy. The result, however, was different than Ellis’ and Ruckley’s. Instead of worsening any conditions, Taber seemed to function more as a robot of society, rather than a person who was capable of producing independent and creative thoughts. “Watch him sliding across the land with a welded grin, fitting into some nice little neighborhood where they’re just now digging trenches along the street to lay pipes for city water.” (Kesey, thirty one.) Taber’s grin is described as one that is molded and forced to be the way it is by society, not a carefree and genuine smile that was once found in the past. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s

More about One That Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Character Analysis

Open Document