One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey is a 320 page classic about one characters unexpected rise to heroism. It is very obvious why this book would be considered a “banned” book considering all of the improper racial references and the sexual content but the bigger picture of this story is one everyone should get the chance to read.
“All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.”
When you first meet McMurphy you think he is just an everyday trouble maker (well one that ended himself up in a mental ward) however as the story progresses he becomes someone all the patients look up to. He defies all the rules in ways the others never even imagined to try, he sneaks in alcohol, popularizes gambling and even sneaks girls in. His defiance grows from just something to keep him entertained to a full on battle with the head nurse; Nurse Ratched. She is a stern woman and practically runs the ward like a dictator. Her power is degraded after McMurphy gets away with so much. In the end she unleashes something on him that will shock you, don’t worry I’m not going to tell you any of the details.
McMurphy is not the sole character of interest in this novel, It is narrated by “Chief” Bromden. He is a Native American who appears to be deaf and mute to the others within the ward but that may or may not be the truth. McMurphy sees the potentional within Chief due to his massize size and strength and takes him under his wing. The rest is going to be left to you to find out.
Personally this book is one of my favorites I have had to read for a class. It is something completely different than any other book. Kesey has a way of writing things so vividly that the whole time this mental ward and everything that is happening within it is playing in my head like a movie. The themes that are present within this novel interest me as well. The ideas of manipulation and rebellion make you wonder what is going to happen next consistently. Kesey’s background has a lot to do with why he wrote this story. One thing I did not like about this book was the ending. It is basically left for your own interpretation but I wish I could know exactly what Kesey was thinking.