One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - by Jack Nicholson
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

"lines are blurred between sane and insane as you start to care for the story's 'freaks'"


     While reading the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest written by Ken Kesey, I was drawn in by the writer’s unusual point of view. Through the voice of Chief Bromden, a mental patient in an asylum, the story tells of harsh treatment and the blurred line of what is sane and insane in this life. The character R. P. McMurphy enters the scene, changing and questioning all limits and preconceived notions of how things work in the world. He represents hope, and how it can change any situation, even one of suppression and evil.

     The story starts off on a usual day in the asylum. The Big Nurse is introduced. She is a harsh, stern woman who sets the clockwork of the unit ticking seamlessly. There is no escape from the dull life of the patients. That is, until R. P. McMurphy enters. Throughout the story he gives and gives to his fellow patients, restoring them with some degree of dignity and respect for themselves. The Big Nurse questions his motives and sees him as malicious and conniving. Yet, the patients, ranging from Chief Bromden, the paranoid and hallucinating Native American, to Dale Harding, a former college-graduate, grow to love Randle McMurphy. As the two forces, freedom and restriction, collide with each other over and over again, the story takes a turn for the dramatic, climactic events that harrow your soul and hook you into the story.

            Personally, I loved this book. It was not an easy, light read by any means, but it is among the classics with its ability to change your view on life. In the beginning, the facts of the patients’ lives are so harsh and sobering, it was hard for me to push on and continue reading. But with the help of Randle McMurphy, I was intrigued by the course of events that played out with the new character. Though it has many adult themes, I believe that, as a teenager myself, many other teens would like this book who are interested in reading different books besides the cliché teen love story. The book questions authority. What is organization and where does the control start to become ultimate power that does not benefit the lowly? Where do scientific procedures and inhumanity separate?

     This book does have light moments, however. The characters are so flawed, but the internal view of their quirks and misgivings makes you realize that they are not so very different from you and with this realization, you stop seeing them as separate individuals from your life, and they start to represent a whole. And with this change of mind, you see them as human and what is being done to them as inhuman and brutal. You start to care for the characters you once saw as “freaks.”

     The book is powerful, giving you an intimate look at others and yourself. It is moving in a way that I have not seen before and the connection that develops between you and the characters will surprise you in the end.

   - Anna G.