Filter Your Search Results:

Mental Illness in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay


n the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the author, Ken Kesey, chose a patient who suffers from schizophrenia like symptoms to narrate the story. The novel is seen through Chief Bromden and how he interprets the insane asylum he lives in, which he calls "the Combine." Chief is very observant and gives detailed descriptions on everything in the ward. The other patients are under the impression that he is deaf and dumb. This allows him to eavesdrop throughout the entire hospital and know exactly whats going on at all times. A new patient, Randal McMurphy, is admitted to the hospital and he sees right through Chiefs act. As time progresses in the novel Chief becomes worried that McMurphy is becoming the man in charge of the hospital and that he will expose that he isnt deaf and dumb. Chief doesnt like the idea that McMurphy could ruin everything that he has worked for in the hospital.

Chief claims that he has stayed hidden and under the radar for all of these years because of the fog the nurses use to control the patients. But there is a downside to the fog. Chief often gets lost in the thick fog and finds himself standing in front of the door that leads to the electroshock table. But they kept making the fog thicker and thicker, and it seemed to me that, no matter how hard I tried two or three times a month I found myself with that door opening in front of me to the acid smell of sparks and ozone. In spite of all I could do, it was getting tough to keep from getting lost (117). Out of fear of being given electroshock treatment he remains perfectly still when the fog becomes thick. In a way the fog brings him comfort. He knows his secret is safely hidden, but he also fears the secrets in the fog can be hiding. Its my idea theyre doing it on account of McMurphy. They havent got him fixed with controls yet, and theyre trying to catch him off guard (118). Chief is blaming McMurphy for the change in the schedules of the fog. He feels thats they are punishing the rest of the ward for what one individual such as McMurphy. Hes worried that one of the times the ward gets fogged hes going to wake up on the electroshock table.

Chief is a veteran of World War I and sees the fog because of his schizophrenia. It is all a hallucination. Even McMurphy doesnt know he has been fogged in. if he does, he makes sure not to let on that hes bothered by it (104). McMurphy as well as the other patients arent bothered by the fog because to them it does not exist. They dont see the fog like Chief does. While fighting in the war armys used the fog to cover up air fields from enemy planes flying above. The drugs they keep giving Chief to sedate him also create this fog. It causes Chief to not think straight and give him a foggy mind. When Chief starts believing in McMurphy and rebelling against the ward the fog

also disappears. He stops taking the drugs and starts seeing things with the same way as does McMurphy. This scares Chief because he doesnt know how to handle changes such as this in the ward. He can no longer hide himself in the fog, and he feels his secret is out in the open.

Chief has been a patient in the hospital since the end of World War I. He has been there long enough to see how corrupt the staff is. Since he was admitted he had everyone convinced that he was deaf and dumb. The nurses and aides give him special advantages. He was given the task of cleaning the offices of the nurses and aids because he couldnt hear what they were talking about in their meetings. He also wasnt subject to all the harassment during the group therapy sessions. McMurphy asked Chief to vote to watch the World Series game on the T.V. Chief responded by raising his hand. Chief became very paranoid that the staff knew he was faking his hearing loss. The staff always let me clean the room because they didnt think I could hear, but not that they saw me lift my hand when McMurphy told me too, wont they know I can hear. Wont they figure I been hearing all these years, listening to all their secrets meant only for their ears? Whatll they do to me in that staff room if they know that? (130). Chief knows what the nurses are capable of doing to the patients and he is afraid of what they will do to punish him for lying all these years.

You'll need to sign up to view the entire essay.

Sign Up Now, It's FREE
Filter Your Search Results: