Books and Movies Reviews

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Ken Kesey, United States
Randall Patrick McMurphy: A manual laborer, gambler and a con man, who is
admitted to the ward from Pendelton Prison Farm, diagnosed as a psychotic. Really not
insane, he transforms the ward by teaching the other inmates how to be free. Finally
lobotomized after attacking Nurse Ratched, he is killed in his sleep by Chief Bromden.
Nurse Ratched: The ;Big Nurse,; a representative of the ;Combine,; the Chief;s
name for the forces of repressive organization in society. She is a former army nurse, in her
fifties ; an absolute tyrant. She maintains order by pitting the inmates against one another;
McMurphy compares her techniques with the ;brain-washing; used by the Communists
Chief Bromden: A huge paranoid-schizophrenic Indian, the narrator of the novel. He
is a Chronic, diagnosed as incurable, and had been on the ward since the end of World War
II. He imagines himself to be small and weak and pretends to be a deaf-mute in order to
protect himself. The Chief is gradually rehabilitated by McMurphy and emerges as maybe the
real protagonist of the book at the end. He kills McMurphy after the Big Nurse has had him
lobotomized, and escapes from the hospital.
1950s, in a mental hospital in Oregon. I think the story takes about two months.
The story is told in chronological order and there aren;t any flashforwards, but there
are some flashbacks. Because sometimes the Chief thinks back about the past for example
with his mom and dad. For example a nursery rhyme from which the title is taken is quoted
(in Part 4) by the Chief, as he remembers his childhood while awaking from a shock
treatment. The rhyme was part of a childhood gameplayed with him by his Indian
grandmother after the shock treatment. But the flasbacks are rather short, though important
like the n…

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