Drug Use and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

The Effect of Ken Kesey’s Drug Use in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    While Ken Kesey was in college, he made the life changing decision to be a part of the U.S. Army’s experiments involving LSD and mescalin, which caused many hallucinations. His experiences while taking these drugs changed his outlook on life and made him an entirely new person. He continued to promote drugs after college claiming they were a good way to find individual freedom. Kesey was even involved in acid tests and traveled the country on a bus called “Further” with a group called the Merry Pranksters. This group was the inspiration for a book titled The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Because of his drug use, Ken Kesey was put in jail for six months, causing a big change on his view of the government. Ken Kesey’s drug use had a large effect on his writing style, especially when writing the schizophrenic visions of Chief Bromden and comparing the government to an evil, controlling Combine in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
    Ken Kesey was a strong supporter of finding and believing in individual freedom that is defined by The Free Dictionary as, “A belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence”. He thought that the way to do this was through drugs because they caused the user to view things in a very different manner. His support of individual freedom is very evident in characters Chief Bromden and Randle McMurphy and mostly every other mental patient mentioned in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. McMurphy is trying to break free and regain his individual freedom, whereas most of the other patients are making an attempt to gain their individual freedom for the first time. Chief Bromden has a flashback in which he remembers his home village and the freedom he had before the Combine took over. He recalls the day workers were sent to buy the land from the village. He distinctly remembers how small it had made him and...