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An Examination of Humor and Laughter in the Lives of the Patients in the Novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Word Count: 997
Humor and Laughter do not play a significant role in the lives of the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey In One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey the patients of the ward live miserable existences drifting day by day in the homely-looking sterile depressing world of a mental asylum They have forgotten how and when to laugh or otherwise express humor because they are under such strict and authoritative rule at the ward The patients have lost purpose in their lives and are essentially comatose With the injection of a new figure into their world Randle Patrick McMuphy the asylum residents are reminded how to laugh and learn how humor and laughter can be the best medicine for their dismal existence McMurphy has an affinity for laughter and makes it a goal to bring joy back into the hearts and souls of the patients Humor and laughter play important roles in life at the ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest My theory is that humor and laughter assist the patients in overthrowing the head nurse Nurse Ratched and regaining control over their lives From day one at the ward McMurphy brings this intangible idea of laughter to his new companions When he first enters the ward the thing that immediately distinguishes him aside from his lack of fear are his jokes He laughs out loud at anything and everything and makes fun of the patients aides and staff and most astonishingly Nurse Ratched McMurphy finds it strange that none of the patients are able to laugh they can only smirk and chuckle surreptitiously behind their cards at the game table or behind their fists during their therapy sessions 19 I believe that since McMurphy has discovered that genuine laughter is rarely heard in the ward he transforms the idea of laughter into a perpetual goal as he converts insults and oppressive conditions into jokes
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