Explain the message of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest touches on many themes, and could conceivably contain more than one "message," depending on how it's read and how readers focus their attention. One message you might explore is the nature of sanity, since the novel is set in a mental hospital. What is author Ken Kesey saying through the story about mental institutions, and their patients, and the hospital administrators? We know that the protagonist, McMurphy, gets admitted to the hospital by feigning mental illness to avoid prison. If McMurphy is not "insane," or mentally ill, how many other patients might be like him? Is Chief Bromden sane? Is Nurse Ratched? Is anyone?

Another possible message of the book concerns control and rebellion. McMurphy rebels against the rules imposed by Nurse Ratched, and encourages other patients to do the same. Why? Ultimately, his efforts cost McMurphy his life, but free Chief Bromden. Could the situation inside the hospital be similar to other institutions in America at that...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 649 words.)

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