Hon Eng 11
17 November 2011
Sanity in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
In the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey shows sanity as conforming to the authority. Although in the story, the authority is the one that acts out insanely. In the novel, Chief Bromden narrates his life in a mental hospital. He tells the tale of when a man named McMurphy comes to the ward and goes against all of the rules of Big Nurse Ratchet. McMurphy claims to be sane, and states that he is only here to get out of being in jail. McMurphy tries to show the guys in the ward that they do not have to listen and conform to the authority. Ms Ratchet is trying to get all the guys to conform to her ways, or else they have pain and suffering delivered to them. Ms Ratchet acts out unnecessarily and over emphasizes her punishments. It is obvious that Ratchet is the real insane person, but it does not matter because she is the one with the authority.
In this novel, it is shown that it seems like the patients were sane at one point, but their surroundings have affected their way of thinking. Chief Bromden shows a lot of knowledge of life through his narration. The quarantining from the outside world has distorted his view of the world. In part one of the novel, he explains that the ward is “for fixing up mistakes in the neighborhoods…” As much as this is correct, it is still a weird way to look at the mental hospital. Another part of the book that shows that the ward has molded their minds to thin differently and slowly become insane is when McMurphy challenges the other patients to stand up for themselves with Nurse Ratchet, after the first group meeting in part one. It explains that the patients are “Even scared to open up and laugh.” While he explains that the patients need to laugh more he says “When you lose your laugh you lose your footing.” This shows that the patients are even going crazy just from not laughing. This is the wards fault, not...