One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Source Of Mental Illness

960 words - 4 pages

In the novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, many of the patients in the ward have lack of self-respect and dignity. The lack of dignity and self-respect causes many people to become depressed, and even mentally ill. The three patients that lack the most self-respect and dignity are Billy Bibbit, Chief, and Harding. These three characters have had tragic past experience that causes them to lose their dignity, or "man hood". Billy Bibbit lost his dignity by "flubbing" the proposal to the woman he loves, Chief lost his self-respect by being ignored in the past, and Harding lost his man-hood because he can not satisfy his wife. All of these patients suffer from their lost pride and dignity, and all of them became mentally ill from the lack of self-respect. The novel shows how lack of dignity and self-respect of one self is the source of mental illness.Billy Bibbit is born with a speech impediment. He stutters almost every word he tries to say. His mother treated him poorly in the past, and he was never taught better. His life starts be being made fun of. He flunks out of college because when he has to answer, he stutters. "You were suppose to say, 'Here sir,' and I never c-c-could get it out" (119). Because of Billy Bibbit's stutter, it has made him mentally ill by causing him to lose his self-respect. Not only does Billy's stutter weaken his dignity, but he also loses his pride and self-respect by the reaction of the woman he loves. "I said 'Huh-honey, will you muh-muh-muh-muh-muh...' till the girl broke out l-laughing"(121). Billy's past experience will stay with him forever. His speech impediment and destruction of his dignity from the woman he loves causes his mental illness.Chief, another patient in the ward, loses his self-respect and dignity, which causes him to be mentally ill. He can remember things about his past, and he describes when three people come to his village and ignore him. He is ignored even though he is trying to tell them something important. They continue to talk, and Chief responds, "Not a one of the three acts like they heard a thing I said; in fact they're all looking off from me like they'd as soon I wasn't there at all"(181). Because of people ignoring him the past, Chief gives up and "acts" deaf. That way no one will bother him, and he does not need to waste his breath.. He uses his "act" to hide from people, but most people think he is ill just because he does not speak. He uses his experience with being ignored as a lesson; he learns that no one will ever listen to him from his past experience. Chief does not see the point in...

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