Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, this is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, life-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient, who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome power of The Combine.
An epic struggle of good against evil, human against machine, willpower against absolute power, pits the archetypal American hero - cowboy, fighter, hustler, gambler - against the cold efficient machinery of power. In the end, you get to decide who won.
One of the greatest American novels.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is a powerful indictment of society's messed up perception and treatment of the mentally ill. The most striking aspect of the novel is despite Nurse Ratched rendering the patients in the ward powerless as she forces them to accept their rank as weak and inferior members of society, Mc Murphy is able to revolutionize their way of thinking. He transforms them from spineless individuals lacking conviction and self confidence into fearless challengers of hierarchy and conformity. In addition to assessing the psychological effects of social rejection and questioning the validity of society's characterization of mentally ill individuals, the book contains characters and underlying themes which lend it a broader political and cultural relevance. Kesey proves that regardless of how thoroughly establishments seek to control and impose conformity upon the populace, the indomitable human will cannot be extinguished
This is a very special book to me. Not only is it well written, poignent, and great fun to read, it had a profound impact on my life, when I read it during my puberty.
It is about McMurphy, who is a lusty, brawling, fun-loving man sentenced to prison, who acts crazy so he can get sent to a mental hospital (thinking it will be an easier "time" to serve).
He ends up fighting the system, which is designed to keep people feeling small so they will stay orderly, and fighting for the rights of his fellow patients, as well. Of course, the mental hospital is wonderfully symbolic of society at large, and McMurphy's fight is doomed from the start.
Life in an asylum through the eyes of a patient paints an interesting picture. When the monotony of the ward's daily life is interrupted by a boisterous new patient, McMurphy, the authoritative Big Nurse knows that her way of running the hospital is threatened. In the all-out psychological battle that ensues, the other patients (our narrator included) are changed forever.