One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey For this quarters book report I choose to read a book that was not on the lists given to me. I picked One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest because I thought that it would be an interesting book with lots of relative themes to what I have gone through, and what I will go through. Not literally as much figuratively. As I first started to read the book I thought it would be just another story about lunatics in a Mental Institution with no help for cure. As I read the book I found that it actually kept my attention and was intriguing. I found out the full meaning of the phrase “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” As I read the story I was interested in Kesey’s motives behind writing such a book so I did a little research. I found out that the inspiration for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest actually came from work that he did in a Sanitarium talking to the patients and the staff. Also through out the book he used symbols of the 1960’s thoroughly through out. Symbols of rebellion and of individuality. These are most evident in the on going arguments of Nurse Ratched and Randal McMurphy. The entire book is narrated by a half indian patient of ten years, that pretends to be deaf and mute so as not to draw attention to himself. He, along with many others, is considered to be a chronic, a patient who has no hope for healing, while some others are considered to be acutes, patients who have hope for recovery. The heavy relation to the sixties in this book is evident to me in that every character represents a certain aspect of the sixties population. The hippies, oppressors, and the people who stood out from the crowd to make a difference. The hippies are best show through the characters of the patients that are considered chronic. I think this because, correct me if I’m wrong, but people may have seen the hippies as people who were too high to do anything and there was no hope at all for any of them in the future. Characters such as the lifeguard, Martini, Colonel Matterson (who keeps talking about past war experiences day and night), Ruckly, Sandy Gilfilliam, and Candy Star (both prostitutes). The Oppressors are best represented by Warren, Washington, Williams, and Geever; who were all hired because of their cruelty. Nurse Ratched is probably the most powerful example of this category. She is a former Army Nurse who believes that supreme power is the only power and therefore she rules her ward with an iron fist. Lastly the people who try to make a difference are best shown through the character of Randal McMurphy. He was transferred to the Mental Institution because he pretended to be crazy at a work farm cause he thought it would be easier at the sanitarium. He is the ideal con man who can get anyone to follow him. He first starts out by encouraging the gambling for more than matches, which is against Ratched's rules, and finally ends up encouraging rebellion, at its highest level, against the Ward staff. Over all this book was a really good book. The book as a whole is a very bizarre book and it took me some time to get through it due to re-reading to make sure I caught it all the first time around. Even though it isn’t for everybody I would recommend people to read it. Word Count: 597
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