Course Hero Logo

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest | Study Guide

Ken Kesey

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 2 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, July 28). One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 2, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed June 2, 2023.


Course Hero, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed June 2, 2023,

Ken Kesey | Biography


Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado, on September 17, 1935. He moved to Oregon as a child. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he moved to California to study creative writing. While working on his first novel (which has never been published), Kesey served as a paid experimental subject at the Menlo Park Veteran's Hospital near Palo Alto, California, taking a series of mind-altering drugs and reporting on their effects. One of those drugs was lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Kesey earned extra money working nights in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. As a nurse's aide, he saw firsthand patients who underwent treatments that were anything but therapeutic. Everyone in the ward—patients and staff—seemed damaged. Kesey began writing a new story, basing characters on people in the ward. The narrator, who came to him in a drug-induced hallucination, is "a full-blown Indian" who suffers from schizophrenia.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was met with rave reviews. Kesey went on to become a hero of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, traveling the country and spreading the gospel of psychedelic drugs. His three published autobiographies detail his travels with the Merry Pranksters, a group immortalized in Tom Wolfe's nonfiction work The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968). Though Kesey continued to write through the 1990s, none of his works received as much recognition as his debut novel. Kesey died on November 10, 2001, in Eugene, Oregon.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!