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Reviews of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)

Review by meepazore (2007-05-04)
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a novel, which trails the journeys of a rebellious new patient at an ever-so uncivilised mental institution. The story is told by a deaf mute, Chief Bromhden, who has frequent hallucinations that oddly justify the supererogatory sprees of verbiage that Kesey spits out. After delving further throughout the novel, one is left bewildered as to a common theme. With a little exuberance and a few assumption, one can possibly infer notions about the status of women held by Kesey.

Women play two prime roles throughout the novel. The most prominent being that of Nurse Ratched, the head supervisor of the institution; and the more subtle being Candy, a local prostitute. Together the actions of both steam forward a general notion that woment are best served in submission. Kesey symbolically purports his idea that woment without a submissive attitude - further pushed to his extereme of women holding power and authority over men - only prove to create utter destruction and malevolent corruption. Kesey further demonstrates this notion by having the other female role, Candy, submiss to a man sexually, Billy Bibbit, and the effects show to be entirely positive. Medicating and serving the man of his ails - the most virtuous act in the eyes of Kesey. A more observant eye can also catch a slight hints to this idea through what can only be described and compulsive, over-elaborate descriptions. Namely odd commands that are interjected with a description - e.g., "fuck the wife" (page 65 par. 1) - which prove to be completely tangential to the rest of the page's context.

If you have any objection to presenting a reader with what modern day philosophers would call immoral, then I would not suggest this book to you. However, if you are interested in the era of Kesey or perhaps the effects of LSD on the mind, then you may enjoy this novel.

Review by mleslie (2004-04-06)
This book will go down as one of my favourites of all time. I'm sure nearly everyone has seen the movie but as always the book is much, much better. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are two of the most memorable characters of all the books I have ever read.
The story takes place on a mental ward where McMurphy, an ex-con, shows up after claiming he was nuts to avoid going back to jail. He quickly takes over the ward with his smooth talking personality and instantly makes enemies with the head nurse. A battle for full control erupts between the two and it changes the dynamics of the entire group of patients and staff.
The story is told through the eyes of one of the other patients who pretends to be detached to everything that is going on around him. He is the one person who can see everyone for who they truly are and as he gets drawn under McMurphy's spell he takes the reader along for the ride.




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