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One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

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There are times when people need to escape from their surroundings and must find a way to ease their mind of worry or panic. It is through this escape that an individual can take their mind off of whatever problem is hurting them. This means that someone can take their mind off of a problem, or get out of a situation that imprisons them. Some ways to escape reality are by altering your state of mind and leaving the problems of the world behind. Drugs and medicine offer a path to a different state of mind where the user doesn't have to think about their problems. Another way to escape is by violently trying to overthrow someone who has imprisoned you. The prisoners of jails around the world have used violence to escape from the people holding them captive. The more people are regulated and controlled, the more they will want to rebel through violence. A third form of escaping can be from a source of entertainment of pleasure. When something extremely admirable is perceived, it can change the mood of whoever it is affecting. If someone is very passionate toward music, they might be able to escape their problems by listening to their favorite song. Other things like games can offer an escape because they take everyone's mind off of their problems and focus them on the game. Escaping is something that people do all the time without even noticing it. When someone feels uncomfortable or troubled they perform some kind of escape to feel better. The theme of escapism appears throughout the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey as well as in A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The characters in both novels display their motives for escape in three main ways. They escape by using drugs and medication to alter their mind state and get them out of the present situation. In addition, they can use violence to escape or destroy their surroundings to break free. A third method the theme of escapism is used is when the characters lose themselves in some form of pleasure or entertainment. The ways to escape are illustrated in both novels and the first one is to take drugs or medication. The first way to escape that I will discuss is how medication can cause individuals to leave reality. When Taber questions the "two little red capsules", the Big Nurse assures him that "it's just medication, good for you"(32). The medication is what the mental institution wants the patients to take so they don't create a hassle or lash out. It puts them into a state of paralysis, rendering them virtually unconscious and incoherent. Kesey asserts that this is a type of escape the institution is forcing on its patients so they don't stay in the right state of mind. When the patients are under the control of the hospital, they cannot do anything against the rules or cause any trouble. As a result, the medication causes the patients to obey the authority of the ward and not pay attention to the real world around them. By having the institution make patients take medication, Kesey shows his view of escape through the patients in a drugged state of mind. Before going to shock therapy, McMurphy is offered "three of those red capsules" and declines by saying "[he'll] forgo the blindfold"(267). The red capsules are compared to a blindfold by McMurphy because the pills act as a masking agent and numbs the brain. Through McMurphy's statement, Kesey defends that people shouldn't escape from the realities of existence. When the offer of escape to a world without pain is presented, McMurphy decides to stay in the real world to experience everything happening. Kesey is reminding us that escaping is not the right way because you will never understand the consequence of actions. The use of medication and drugs as an escape is clear with the use of the red capsules for the patients. Burgess also uses forms of drugs to represent escape from the regular world of perception. Alex and his droogs all drank "the old moloko, with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom" every night at the Korova Milkbar (3). Moloko is slang for milk and Alex and his friends all put various drugs in the milk to travel into a new level of consciousness. Burgess demonstrates escape when the boys take the drugs and become excited and violent, which in turn makes them happy. The drugs help the boys escape into a world where being evil and violent is fun and they can enjoy taking advantage of others. Burgess contends that when people have the urge to be in a different state of mind, they use drugs to affect their brain and take them away. When the drugs enter their system, the boys escape from the normal mind-state and now feel extremely happy as opposed to how they were before. Before Alex is about to start his treatment, a nurse "[slams] the needle into [his] left arm, and then swish in [goes] the vitamin stuff"(111). Burgess uses the needle and vitamin stuff, which is really some drug, to force Alex to escape into a certain state of mind. The liquid going through Alex makes him extremely vulnerable to violent images and brings up the feelings of guilt for what he's done. Burgess illustrates the theme of escape by having Alex forced into a different mind-state that he is not used to. To Burgess, this is an unethical way to have someone go through treatment and shows it because Alex is forced into it. Both Kesey and Burgess use forms of drugs and medication to show escape in their novels. Kesey uses the red pills to numb the brains of the patients on the ward and control them. Burgess uses the drugs in the milk and injections of medication on Alex to push his mind into another realm. It is clear they both believe the use of drugs to escape from reality is a negative route. The ability to feel the things around us is a privilege that Kesey and Burgess believe needs to be appreciated. By having the patients on the ward fight being sedated, Kesey illustrates how it is necessary to be alert and in the right state of mind. In addition, Burgess makes Alex go through pain and disgust because of the drugs forced into him, making it clear that escaping the normal mind-state is bad. Burgess also believes that some people can enjoy escaping by taking drugs that make them feel good. Kesey somewhat agrees with this because he has some patients that are willing to take the pills and escape to a numb feeling. The use of medication and drugs to escape reality is noticeably a negative course of action to Kesey and Burgess. The next type of escape that I noticed was through violence and rebellion to get away from the problem. After the party, Billy Bibbit fears that his mother will be angry and "[opens] the doctor's desk and [finds] some instruments and [cuts] his throat"(304). The way Billy decides to escape his problems is by violently committing suicide with a sharp tool. The form of escape that Kesey does not think is right is by using violence to get away. There is no way to solve problems through violence and Kesey defends that trying to escape from those problems in that way is unacceptable. By using violence to get away from his problems, Billy didn't get to experience what might have happened if he lived. When the Chief is finally tired of being on the ward, he "[heaves] and [hears] the wires and connections tearing out of the floor" and hurls "the panel through the screen and window"(310). Kesey is using the destruction of the window as a form of escape by using violence. The Chief rebels against the hospital and breaks his way out of the ward to escape from the hospital's control. By using destruction to demonstrate escape from the grasp of the hospital, Kesey shows that it is necessary to break free. Kesey contends that if you are trapped or controlled by a force that is evil, you must rebel against it and destroy it to escape. The breaking of the screen and window symbolizes how Kesey feels about an institution holding someone down. He believes that people should escape from those who try to imprison them, even if it means using violence. Burgess also uses violence to demonstrate escape because Alex is sucked into a different state of mind when he becomes violent. Alex's cellmates "all [stand] around while [Alex] [cracks] at this prestoopnick" and "[dances] about with his boots on"(99). The new person, or prestoopnick, who comes into Alex's cell and annoys him gets beat up by all the cellmates. Alex in particular has such a grand time that he actually escapes into his own world through his acts of violence. Burgess is showing how violence can take someone to a different state of mind, thus giving them an escape from reality. Alex shows his glee when he dances around his victim and actually has a fun time hitting and kicking him. The escape that Burgess is demonstrating is when someone is so passionate about committing acts of violence that they can travel to a feeling of bliss while doing them. Alex fakes being sick and "[raises] [his] two fisties to tolchock [the doctor] on the neck" while hiding "behind the door"(135). Alex wants to escape from the hospital and believes that he can achieve it by hurting the people watching him. He uses violence to try and escape from the institution that is holding him captive. Burgess believes that violence to escape is unacceptable because Alex fails to do this task. The theme of escape through violence is taken most literally when Burgess displays Alex's motive to break free. Kesey and Burgess have different views on how violence and rebellion act as ways to escape reality. Kesey thinks that using violence to escape wrong in the example of Billy killing himself. The reaction is completely negative when Billy uses suicide to escape, so we can assume Kesey doesn't agree with it. Burgess, however, thinks that people escape using violence to make themselves feel good, and would disagree with Kesey. Another way Kesey shows escape through violence is by destroying the establishment. Burgess follows the same view because he shows how Alex wants to break free of the establishment when he tries to secretly fight the doctor. The last area of escape to address is when using pleasure or entertainment to forget about any problems. The patients on the ward have "a Monopoly game going" that's been going on "for three days, houses and hotels everywhere, with two tables pushed together"(110). The patients have nothing to really look forward to in their day so they use board games to entertain themselves. This is a form of escape because they do not want to be reminded of where they are or their condition. Kesey claims that this type of escape is just what someone needs when they have something troubling on their mind. Doing something to occupy your time and attention will make it harder for the problems to surface. Kesey thinks that this is a smart way to avoid feeling bad all the time and that when something is wrong, people should entertain themselves to forget about it. McMurphy and the patients continue "sitting there lined up in front of the blanked out TV set, watching the gray screen" while the Big Nurse tries to control them (138). The patients and McMurphy are the ones trapped under the Big Nurse and decide to escape from her rule by imagining a show was on the TV. The patients entertain themselves with the imaginary show and escape the Big Nurse's control over them. Kesey feels that by entertaining people, they are able to escape from whatever may be holding them down. The patients actually escape by making the Big Nurse look foolish and not powerful anymore, thus leaving them with the freedom to have fun. Kesey maintains that escaping something by indulging in a pleasure is a smart choice because it is not violent and solves the problem. Burgess also feels that pleasure and entertainment can offer an escape from uncomfortable situations. Alex hears "the lovely blissful tune of the Ninth" and "felt the old tigers leap in [himself]"(51). Alex is strongly affected by classical music, and specifically the Ninth Symphony. The old tigers are the feeling of bliss and exhilaration that Alex gets when he hears that song and it causes his mind to escape reality. Burgess asserts that escaping from reality by indulging in the pleasures of music is acceptable. When Alex is about to do something he doesn't want to think about, he plays music and gets into a different state of mind so he won't care. Kesey is saying that it is possible for people to use entertainment such as music to bring them to a level of thinking where they aren't concerned with whatever else is happening. When Alex is left alone he "[lays] there with [his] glazzies closed, slooshying the lovely music, the glorious Ninth"(199). Alex is again affected by the same song and closes his eyes, or glazzies, and listens, or slooshies, to escape from the hospital. He doesn't literally escape, but in his mind he leaves the pains of being in the hospital and the discomfort. This escape demonstrates Burgess's opinion on how pleasure can give an escape from the pains of the world. By listening to music, Alex no longer cares about the people bothering him or being in an unfamiliar place. Burgess professes that using pleasure to escape from problems is a safe way to avoid pain. Using entertainment and pleasure is just one of the ways people can escape from their problems and both Burgess and Kesey have similar views on it. Kesey uses the Monopoly game and the TV to show how entertainment and pleasure can help people escape. Furthermore, Burgess uses the music to show how Alex's pleasure offers him an escape from reality. Both authors assume the position of supporting the idea of using pleasure to escape from problems of the world. Since each incident using some form of entertainment ends with a successful escape, Burgess and Kesey believe it is good. The main point of using a pleasure to escape is that it makes the person happy when they do it. The feeling of happiness overcomes the problems that someone may be facing and forces them to the back of the mind.Both Kesey and Burgess feel that escaping by using pleasure is seen as a peaceful and effective way to forget problems. In conclusion, there are three main ways the authors Ken Kesey and Anthony Burgess illustrate escape in their novels. Using medication and drugs to escape problems and traveling to a different state of mind is the first way to escape. Another way to escape is by using violence or destruction to get away from something holding you down. The last way to escape is by entertaining yourself or indulging in a pleasure. The best way to go about living is to try not to escape as best you can. It is not a smart thing to do because it takes you away from reality and doesn't let you experience everything that you should be. However, there are certain circumstances where it can be beneficial to escape from your surroundings. An example is when something emotional is affecting someone such as a close friend dying or a break-up and they watch a funny movie to take their mind off it. They indulge in a pleasure - that is, laughing and enjoying a funny movie - to escape from the pain or depression. This type of escape is innocent and doesn't really affect anyone besides the person using it to feel better. A more serious type of escape is one that involves violence. A felon who breaks out of jail is committing an escape through violence because he or she used force to get away from their problem. This type of escape is something that should not be happening. If someone goes to jail, they deserve their sentence and should pay for whatever they did. An escape from something like that would just make things worse because they would get into more trouble than before. A different type of escape is by using drugs or medication to alter your mind and feel like your in a new world. For example, someone who is alone and has no job might do drugs to feel better about their situation. Drugs are used as an escape all the time because they effectively mask most feelings of pain and sadness. By blocking out the negative feelings, drugs give an easy but addictive escape that is generally discouraged. Escaping from reality happens all the time in life and it is up to the individual to decide if they want to embrace reality or hide from it.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Character Analysis

...nurse throughout One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey reveals Nurse Ratched’s authoritative demeanor she holds throughout the ward. The ward runs on a policy-based system that Nurse Ratched has created to ensure the floor works like a machine. But, now that McMurphy has become a part of the ward, he is determined to mess up, even the littlest bit, of Nurse Ratcheds system. Specifically, when Nurse Ratched walks into the ward she finds McMurphy standing in nothing but his towel with his toothbrush in his hand. Nurse Ratched is becoming “madder and more frustrated than ever” because she expected an aid to have “[issue] a change of greens” to McMurphy (89). Here, Kesey has brought...

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