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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

By Ken Kesey (5)

Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is simultaneously a hilarious and chilling examination of sanity and insanity in the 1960’s. Narrated by Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian holed up in mental ward, Kesey's novel details the lives of the ward inpatients who live under the thumb of Nurse Ratched, a domineering personality who has created an all-consuming submissive atmosphere. This suffocating environment is shattered by the arrival of Randle Patrick McMurphy, a convict who wants to serve the final six months of his sentence in comfort, and to that end, decides to fake psychosis to be transferred to a mental ward. McMurphy does not take Ratched’s totalitarianism without a fight, and his buoyant spirit and lovable antics wreck havoc in the ward, as the vivacious McMurphy befriends the slew of compliant inpatients. As McMurphy incites and riles up the inpatients, helping them create a stronger sense of self and individual respect for themselves, Ratched’s punishments grow more frequent and severe, and the climatic finish is startling and heart wrenching. Kesey’s novel is a character study of a rebel with a cause, but more importantly, an examination of psychological beliefs, and the institutions that implemented them, begging the question of what is the ethical line in the sand.

Novel Test: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (eBook) cover

Novel Test: One Flew Over t...Prestwick HousePWH3024666 Pages, Grades 7 - 12

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Study Guide: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (eBook) cover

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