I just recently read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and I must say, I was blown away.
When I first started reading, I was turned off by the graphicness and obscenity in which he wrote. However, throughout the novel I became fixated on not only the well-being of the characters, Bromden and McMurphy in particular, but I also found myself hating the Big Nurse as much, if not more, as them!
Chief Bromden, in particular, held a dear place in my heart throughout the novel I could really feel his struggle with reality and becoming a member of the real world again. His escape from the “fog” was one of the most proud moments I felt for him.
I felt I could also relate most with Chief Bromden when he was struggling to find out who he is. What makes Bromden, well, Bromden. It struck me the most when he was looking in the mirror thinking to himself, “That ain’t me, that ain’t my face. It wasn’t even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn’t even really me then; I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted. It don’t seem like I have ever been me.”
I fell many people, even today, can relate to that. So often we are victims of our surroundings, falling in line because we believe it is expected of us. We too often go with the flow and drift through the fog just like Bromden had for so many years.
Luckily for Bromden, McMurphy was able to lift him out of the fog. He was able to help Bromden realize who he was. He helped him see reality and the outside world. It is said best when Kesey writes, “There is generally one person in every situation you must never underestimate the power of.” Even though this quote was not written about McMurphy I believe the theme of it resonates throughout McMurphy’s character.
He came there to escape, yet he ended up helping the other patients escape their inner turmoil and face the reality. Like I said, this book really hit my heart and hit it hard.
Perhaps my favorite lesson I took away from the book is McMurphy’s strength and all the lessons Bromden learned throughout his time with McMurphy.
“He knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you crazy.”
“He wont let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.”
If those don’t make you think about life, reality, humanity, and laughter then you should A) re-evaluate your life and B) READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! I promise, it will be worth it.
- Book Review: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (uolripple.wordpress.com)
- “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a Great Flight (newsok.com)
- Top 10 movie adaptations (theguardian.com)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…and apparently Shakespeare (moviesandamic.wordpress.com)