Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Book Review

In the madness of its quickly-turning pages, I found a lucid moment. That moment planted itself in my brain and stemmed into an interest that has yet to be sated. My borderline obsession with mental hospitals and the inner workings of the human mind has expanded to a changed preference in movies, writings, and readings. What makes one sane? If reality only exists in one's mind, then what exactly is imagination?

Chief Bromden, labeled mute by his fellow patients, narrates the story of his stay with newcomer McMurphy. McMurphy faked his insanity to escape a prison sentence for statutory rape, but soon finds the condition of his new home worse than the jail cell he left behind. However, his constant rebellions against Nurse Ratched more often than not land him, and the other patients, in hot water. The final struggle between them builds into a chaotic climax befitting of Bromden's capabilities to narrate, and ends in a way I would have never expected.

Riddled with symbolism, figurative language, realism, and tragedy, I cannot emphasize how greatly I admired Ken Kesey's work. His narrative is as ambiguous and winding as the human mind. The hints he expects readers to tie together are subtle, yet beautifully placed and worded. He breathed life into each character in a way that made them nearly impossible to detest, despite how they are 'supposed' to be viewed by the outside world. And although McMurphy is your classic antihero, you cannot help but push your moralities aside and, like Bromden, silently cheer him on until the very end.


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