Community Forum
Today's Posts
FAQ & Rules
Members List

Writing Forum
Recent Posts
Critique Guidelines

YWO Social Groups



Support YWO
YWO Merchandise
The Book Despository (US) (UK) (Canada)


Thread Tools
Old 05-17-2016, 05:07 AM View Post #1 (Link) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
ScottyMcGee (Offline)
Freelance Writer
ScottyMcGee's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,754
Points: 30
Times Thanked: 176

My humdrum ol' Signet paperback. I really want to get a nicer edition someday.

I never saw the movie and this book had been lying on my shelf for ages. I never had to read it for school either. I knew very little about it aside from Big Nurse and McMurphy. I had no idea the wild ride I was going to take.

The story takes place inside an asylum through the eyes of Chief Bromden. Everybody thinks he's deaf but he simply stopped talking because of several traumatic experiences as a Native American boy. Big Nurse Ratched runs the ward with an iron grip. She disapproves of any kind of fun. Life in her ward has always been dreary and mindless, until the day troublemaker Randle McMurphy is admitted and changes things forever.

Chief Bromden suffers from hallucinations after being in the battlefield - so basically like PTSD. He keeps thinking the ward is gassing everybody and imagines a thick fog everywhere. It's not written so complex like, say, Benjy the mentally disabled character in Faulkner's Sound and Fury. Bromden is still easy to follow and you figure when he's suffering from delusions.

The writing and pacing flows nicely. This is one of those books that doesn't waste its words.

Man. I gotta say. It's up there for me - one of the best I've read. I finished it last week and so it's still fresh in my mind. Every incident, big and small, is still in there. There's a lot of humor (I burst out laughing several times) but also a lot of solemnity.

Bromden as a Native American character is fresh for me. It's also fucking terrifying how stereotyping Native Americans back then still persists today in the exact same fashion. Bromden has a lot to say about the treatment of Native Americans and I just shook my head in dismay like "Yeeeeep. We still do that shit to them." Kesey presents those issues without flinging them in your face. They pop up naturally in Bromden's memories and flashbacks.

The ending is probably one of the most memorable in literature. I assumed what would happen more than halfway or so through the book, but then there were still a couple things that happened that made me go "Oh shit. . . oh fuck. . ." The ward is filled with memorable characters - each with their own mental illness and quirk.

Chief Bromden is one of the best narrators in literature. It just wouldn't be the same if it were written following McMurphy. I've heard members here on YWO ask questions like "Does the main character need to be the most important?" This is a perfect example of how the main character doesn't need to be the most important. McMurphy is the fuel of the story - of course without him nothing sets fire. He's such a larger than life character that it feels wrong to follow the story through him and instead follow him through another character. That way, McMurphy feels like a legend - a myth - rather than a concrete, living being. But Bromden himself has his own fleshed out personal history, and McMurphy affects him in almost every way.

Friggin read it! Do it now! It's up there on my list of must-reads.
Only thieves kiss with their eyes open.
						Last edited by ScottyMcGee; 05-17-2016 at 05:20 AM.
					Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2016, 04:56 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Georgy (Offline)
Scholarly Apprentice
Georgy's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 231
Points: 2.68
Times Thanked: 88
I've been thinking whole day long what movie would be appropriate for me to watch in the evening and without any definite result. Now I think I know what I'm going to watch, and it is not hard to guess what exactly...
"And the internet has everything on it. It's a blessing and a curse."
"The point of poetic prose, in my opinion, is to illuminate a truth, make us see something that's there, but hidden."
"I believe we stand together to address the real issues facing this country, not allow them to divide us by race or where we come from. Let's create an America that works for all of us, not the handful on top." Senator B.Sanders
  Reply With Quote
Thread Tools


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:10 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 - Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
All writing Copyright © its author(s). All other material Copyright © 2007-2012 Young Writers Online unless otherwise specified.
Managed by Andrew Kukwa (Andy) and Shaun Duke (Shaun) from The World in the Satin Bag. Design by HTWoRKS.