One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Defense Mechanisms in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, mainly takes place in an Oregon psychiatric hospital ward controlled by Nurse Ratched according to a precise schedule and strict rules. The narrator, Chief Bromden, describes many patients in this ward, all of which have different problems and reasons for being there. Among the characteristics of the patients, each person has a unique defense mechanism, which they used to shield themselves from their problems in outside society. Each individual's way of protection can be viewed as intentional or subconscious. Three characters that play an important role in this story, Chief Bromden, Dale Harding, and Billy Bibbit, each make their defense mechanisms apparent while they are in the ward.

At many points in the story, Chief Bromden tells the reader that the ward is "fogged" to some extent. Chief, a paranoid schizophrenic patient, believes that his hallucinations of the clouded ward are real, and doesn't understand how something that he can see might be in his imagination. According to Chief, the fog is created by a machine and clouds the ward by coming in through the vents. We learn from Bromden that the images of fog that he generates originate from his days in...

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