"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey

Essay by ImpossoHigh School, 10th gradeA-, April 2003

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Truthfully, this is a groovy book. Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest qualifies as a classic novel because it was influential to the time period it was written in and generations after. The drug use related to Ken Kesey and the characters in his book attracted many readers at the time it was written. Power is a strong theme in the novel as it was in the sixties because of the war in the Vietnam. This theme of power is also shown through the females of the novel, which few women in the sixties had. The success of the counter-culture-based novel has also contributed to the reason why this book is considered a classic.

The infamous hippies and their drug culture had a great deal of influence towards the writing of this book. Kesey established a group known as The Merry Pranksters who drove around in a, "Day-Glo-Painted bus," (Larson 580) and introduced LSD to people all across the United States.

This group gave Kesey a lot of support in his writings and their fame brought the novel much attention. It is known that, "parts of the novel were written while [Kesey] was under the influence of LSD and peyote." ("Biographical" para 1) Being high gave him ideas on how to write the book and specific events that happened in the book. One of these events is when Mr. Turkle and McMurphy are waiting to be picked up by some girls and they are smoking a marijuana cigarette together. Chief Bromden, the narrator, explained that Turkle and McMurphy were smoking the cigarette in a, "funny way, holding the smoke in when they inhaled till their eyes bugged." (Kesey 248) It is very clear that drugs were a huge part of this book's evolvement and success.

The theme...