Ken Kesey was born in 1935 in La Junta, Colorado. "After being elected the boy most likely to succeed by his high school, Kesey enrolled in the University of Oregon. He won a fellowship to a creative writing program at Stanford University- (Leeds 3). While he was there, Kesey became a volunteer in a program to test the effects of new drugs at the local Veteran's Administration hospital. During this time, he discovered LSD and became interested in studying alternative methods of perception. He soon took a job in a mental institution, where he spoke extensively to the patients. He began writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which is based on some of his experiences with mental patients. In the conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, the novel dealt with individuality and rebellion against conformity. The novel was published in 1962 and was an immediate success. "With the money earned from the book, Kesey purchased a farm in California where he and his friends experimented heavily with LSD. He believed that using LSD to achieve altered states of mind could improve society- (Leeds 23).
Kesey, a high profile sixties personality and up and coming author, took his beliefs about authority, government and society, and put it into his writing. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest embodies these beliefs and their influence can be strongly felt.
In 1975, a movie version of Kesey's novel was released without his permission. "It was quite successful, but many people who had read the novel disapproved, saying that the movie did not accurately represent the events of the novel- (Leeds 40). "The book shows great illustration from Chief Bromden, better then in the movie- (Gatto 68). In the book Chief Bromden gives his interpretation of the Combine and how Nurse Ratched runs it. The movie shows many differences from the book. Like each character has their own attitude about the ward and the patients.