In addition to the theme of non-conformity, the Beats were daring in their anti-intellectualism and unrefinement, and their humor--much like the character of Randle McMurphy, whom critics find is not unlike his creator, Ken Kesey. McMurphy boasts of his sexual exploits and taunts others for their inadequacies. For example, in Chapter 4, he teases Dr. Spivey by asking him if he has, like him, been "overzealous in your sexual relations."
One Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, known for his combination of humor and darkness, wrote poetry which reflected the state of America in the mid-twentieth century. Perceiving the prudery of American culture, Ferlinghetti scoffs at the absurdity of it. Similarly, Kesey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest satirizes the prudery of Nurse Ratched who tries to hide her large bosom and is the stereotype of the controlling woman who emasculates men. In fact, she turns her prudery into a lethal weapon as she threatens to tell Billy's mother about finding him naked with a woman after McMurphy has bribed Turkle to let female friends into the institution. Unable to face this humiliation before his mother, Billy commits suicide. This scene of partying and then death mirrors the humor and darkness of Ferlinghetti.
The nurse's tongue clucked in her bony throat. "Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy. I'm so ashamed for you."
Billy wasn't awake enough to respond much to her shaming, and the girl was fussing around looking under the mattress for her nylons....
She swung aback to Billy...lwho] rolled over and came to her knees, butt in the air like a cow getting up....
"What worries me, Billy,...is how your poor mother is going to take this...."
"Nuh! Nuh!....You d-don't n-n-need!"
"Billy Billy Billy....Your mother and I are old friends.
The orginal meaning of the Beat Generation was that of a people beaten down and walked over. Certainly, characters in Kesey's novel express this.