Production[ edit ] Actor Kirk Douglas —who had originated the role of McMurphy in the —64 Broadway stage version of the Ken Kesey novel—had purchased the film rights to the story, and tried for a decade to bring it to the big screen, but was unable to find a studio willing to make it with him.
Plot[ edit ] The book is narrated by "Chief" Bromden, a gigantic yet docile half-Native American patient at a psychiatric hospital, who presents himself as deaf and mute.
The head administrative nurse, Nurse Ratchedrules the ward with absolute authority and little medical oversight. She is assisted by her three day-shift orderlies and her assistant doctors.
McMurphy constantly antagonizes Nurse Ratched and upsets the routines of the ward, leading to endless power struggles between the inmate and the nurse. He runs a card table, captains the ward's basketball team, comments on Nurse Ratched's figure, incites the other patients to conduct a vote about watching the World Series on television, and organizes an unsupervised deep-sea fishing trip.
His reaction after claiming to be able to and subsequently failing to lift a heavy control panel in the defunct hydrotherapy room referred to as the "tub room" — "But at least I tried" — gives the men incentive to try to stand up for themselves, instead of allowing Nurse Ratched to take control of every aspect of their lives.
The Chief opens up to McMurphy, revealing late one night that he can speak and hear. A disturbance after the fishing trip results in McMurphy and the Chief being sent for electroshock therapy sessions, but such punishment does little to curb McMurphy's rambunctious behavior.
One night, after bribing the night orderly, McMurphy smuggles two prostitute girlfriends with liquor onto the ward and breaks into the pharmacy for codeine cough syrup and unnamed psychiatric medications.
McMurphy persuades one of the women to seduce Billy Bibbit, a timid, boyish patient with a terrible stutter and little experience with women, so he can lose his virginity.
Nurse Ratched finds Billy and the prostitute in each other's arms, partially dressed, and admonishes him. Billy asserts himself for the first time, answering Nurse Ratched without stuttering.
Ratched calmly threatens to tell Billy's mother what she has seen. Billy has an emotional breakdown, and once left alone in the doctor's office, commits suicide by cutting his throat.
Nurse Ratched blames McMurphy for the loss of Billy's life. Enraged at what she has done to Billy, McMurphy attacks Ratched, attempting to strangle her to death, tearing off her uniform and revealing her breasts to the patients and aides who are watching. McMurphy is physically restrained and moved to the Disturbed ward.
Nurse Ratched misses a week of work due to her injuries, during which time many of the patients either transfer to other wards or check out of the hospital forever.
When she returns she cannot speak and is thus deprived of her most potent tool to keep the men in line. With Bromden, Martini, and Scanlon the only patients who attended the boat trip left on the ward, McMurphy is brought back in.
He has received a lobotomyand is now in a vegetative state, rendering him silent and motionless. The Chief smothers McMurphy with a pillow during the night in an act of mercy before lifting the tub room control panel that McMurphy could not lift earlier, throwing it through a window and escaping the hospital.
Background[ edit ] One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was written in and published in in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement  and deep changes to the way psychology and psychiatry were being approached in America. The s began the controversial movement towards deinstitutionalization  an act that would have affected the characters in Kesey's novel.
The novel is a direct product of Kesey's time working the graveyard shift as an orderly at a mental health facility in Menlo Park, California. He advocated for drug use as a path to individual freedom,  an attitude that was reflected in the views of psychological researchers of the time.
Each individual's experiences were said to vary; emotions and experiences ranged from transformations into other life forms, religious experiences, and extreme empathy.
The novel's narrator, the Chief, combines these authorities in his mind, calling them "The Combine" in reference to the mechanistic way they manipulate and process individuals.
The authority of The Combine is most often personified in the character of Nurse Ratched who controls the inhabitants of the novel's mental ward through a combination of rewards and subtle shame. This is because the subtlety of her actions prevents her prisoners from understanding they are being controlled at all.
The Chief also sees the Combine in the damming of the wild Columbia River at Celilo Fallswhere his Native American ancestors hunted, and in the broader conformity of post-war American consumer society.
The novel's critique of the mental ward as an instrument of oppression comparable to the prison mirrored many of the claims that French intellectual Michel Foucault was making at the same time. Similarly, Foucault argued that invisible forms of discipline oppressed individuals on a broad societal scale, encouraging them to censor aspects of themselves and their actions.
The novel also criticizes the emasculation of men in society, particularly in the character of Billy Bibbit, the stuttering Acute patient who is domineered by both Nurse Ratched and his mother. The title of the book is a line from a nursery rhyme: Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn, Apple seed and apple thorn, Wire, briar, limber lock Three geese in a flock One flew East One flew West And one flew over the cuckoo's nest Chief Bromden's grandmother sang a version of this song to him when he was a child, a fact revealed in the story when the Chief received yet another ECT treatment after he assisted McMurphy with defending George, a patient being abused by the ward's aides.
Main characters[ edit ] Randle McMurphy: A free-spirited, rebellious con man, sent to the hospital from a prison work farm. He is guilty of battery and gambling. He had also been charged with, but never convicted of - due to the girl in question not wishing to testify so as not to implicate herself and her willingness to participate - statutory rape.
McMurphy is transferred from a prison work farm to the hospital, thinking it will be an easy way to serve out his sentence in comfort. In the end, McMurphy attacks Nurse Ratched, sacrificing his freedom and his health in exchange for freeing the previously shackled spirits of the cowed patients on the ward.
Bromden is presumed by staff and patients alike to be deaf and mute, and through this guise he becomes privy to many of the ward's dirtiest secrets.One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [Ken Kesey] on regardbouddhiste.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
An international bestseller and the basis for the hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the defining works of the s. In this classic novel. A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
That's exactly the sort of questions that are on the mind of Ken Kesey in his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
With this famous portrait of a mental institute—its rebellious patients and domineering caretakers—counter-culture icon Kesey is doing a whole lot more than just spinning a great yarn.
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest review – McMurphy’s misogyny laid bare 3 / 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars. Sheffield Crucible There are strong performances in . One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has , ratings and 8, reviews. Samara said: Last night, at about 2 am, I finished 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes /5.