One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


"Ting. Tingle, tingle, tremble toes, she?s a good fisherman, catches hens, puts ?em inna pens?wire blier, limber lock, three geese inna flock?one flew east, one flew west, on flew over the cuckoo?s nest?O-U-T spells out?goose swoops down and plucks you out."

The book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest" is about a man, Randle Patrick McMurphy who is a rough-and-tumble, fun-loving guy who comes into the mental ward in Oregon and challenges the authoritarian nurse, Ms. Ratched. As the struggle between them goes on, McMurphy starts to show the other men of the ward how to loosen up and that they do not have to always listen to the nurse. Eventually, McMurphy is defeated when Ms. Ratched makes him get a lobotomy.

When you first pick up the book, you will first notice that the story is told by one of the men who live in the ward. This is Chief Bromden; a half-Indian who is one of the long time committed men. In my eyes, the Bromden is a key character in the whole book. The Chief, in reality, is 6 foot 7 inches tall, but in his mind he sees himself as a man only two or three feet tall. This is because he has received over 200 electro-shock treatments and has been physiologically beaten to think that he is an inferior being to all others but he is not alone. All of the patients in the ward have had this done to them, some more than others. Another thing that sets the Chief apart is the fact that he has led everyone to think he is deaf and mute. This has enabled him to hear some of the secrets of the ward because everyone thought it was safe to talk around him. The Chief has also been in the army and in WWII. He claims to hear and see machinery in the walls of the ward that track and monitor all action that goes on in and around the hospital. With his experiences in war and with what he has gone through in the ward, he often loses himself in a "fog". He creates this "fog" in his mind so that he can numb the reality of where he is. Because of how he acts when in this fog, he has remained distant from all other patients in the ward. At least he was until he met McMurphy. McMurphy seemed to warm up to the Chief as soon as he met him and always joked around with him even though he never acted like he heard him. The only person he opened up and talked to was McMurphy. He told McMurphy all about his childhood and about what goes on in the hospital. There always was some kind of bond between the two. It was always McMurphy as the leader and Bromden who followed him. McMurphy showed the Chief how to grow as a person, and as a man. The more he learned, the less he had to lose himself in the fog. It was that way the whole time they were together, at least until McMurphy had his lobotomy. After the Chief saw the shell of a man that was McMurphy, he knew his friend would not want to live that way. During the night, Bromden smothered McMurphy to death with a pillow, then broke a window and fled from the hospital.

It might not seem like it from what I just told you, but Chief Bromden was actually a key role in the book. He provided the insight into the workings of the hospital, backgrounds on the patients, and the different thoughts in the staff?s head from what he heard while doing his daily work, cleaning.