"One flew East, One flew West, One flew over the Cuckoos nest Goose swoops down and plucks you out.
Crazy, psycho, weird, strange, fool, freak, nutty, screwy and wacky- what do these words bring to mind when you hear them. For me they remind me of the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" by Ken Kesey. This is a counterculture, protest novel that changed the way everyone looked at society. Kesey was enrolled in a creative writing program, while working as an orderly in a psychiatric ward. He got ideas for this book by working at the ward and seeing what went on. He was the first experimental participant in LSD (acid) trials- he thought by doing this it would set your mind free, which in his case it did. That's why all throughout the book Brodmen hallucinates and has delusions. .
Brodmen is a patient at an Oregon psychiatric hospital- he's been there for 10 years. He pretends to be dead and dumb to go un-noticed. This lets him hear everything going on making him a good narrator in the sense he knows everything. On the other hand he could be a little unreliable because he hallucinates quite a bit. Many important facts are hidden throughout the book. For example Brodmen tries to act deaf and dumb so he can hear everything going on and so nobody bothers him. .
This book has many motifs and different symbolic meanings. A few of them include: power of laughter, invisibility, the fog machine, sexuality, and the electroshock therapy. All these meanings play an important role in this book. .
The power of laughter is brought up throughout the book. The patients are deprived of this and forgot how it actually feels to laugh. They only know to smile or snicker with the hand over their mouth. Brodmen mentions how he forgot how "He knew you can"t really be strong until you can see a funny side to things" (pg 277) When McMurphy is submitted, he is the first genuine person anyone has heard in the ward for many years.