Journal of Advances in Humanities and Social Sciences
Journal ISSN: 2414-3111
Article DOI:
Received: 02 April 2016
Accepted: 16 April 2016
Published: 21 June 2016
Download Article (PDF)
  • Overcoming the traumatic through the psychedelic in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Mongia Besbes

Published online: 2016


This is an attempt to investigate the causal relationship existing between the psychedelic literary genre in fiction and the application of trauma theory in the study of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. Trauma theory, which is a psychological theory in essence; has been widely linked to the study of literature since traumatic responses take narrative forms. Scientifically, many studies have proven that the psychedelic trip leads to a deepened exploration of the unconscious tracing latent emotional traumas. Henceforth, I am going to explore this novel as a psychedelic example of science fiction through a generic analysis due the numerous parallels I have noticed with the effects of drug administration on real life patients. I will base my claim on a medical theory known as Psychedelic Information Theory which investigates psychedelic hallucinations, expanded consciousness and their impact on the metaphysical aspects of self-exploration. Consequently, I shall presuppose that psychedelics act metaphorically on the text of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest inducing character-based hallucinatory narratives. Hallucinations are caused by an eruption of a psychedelic consciousness that is the antithesis of the normal state of a mind. Hallucinations range from happy enjoyable experiences laden with kaleidoscopic colourful streams of visions to painful manifestations of latent trauma. I endeavour to analyze this novel as a traumatic example of psychedelic fiction through establishing a cause-result relationship between information theory and trauma theory as a fluid encounter between literature and science within science fiction framework. Finally, I attempt to link the cultural integration of psychedelics to the shift of the traumatic experience from cultural to structural. This paper explores primarily the manifestations of Chief Bromden’s historic trauma. It traces secondarily the psychedelic characteristics of the novel. Lastly, it studies the effects of Bromden’s psychedelic journey on his traumatic recovery.