One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest IRP

By: Mira Shah

How Story is Developed

The book was written in first person from Chief Bromden's point of view. Because everyone assumes Chief Bromden is deaf and dumb, the reader is able to get a better perspective on what actually goes on in the ward. In the book, the hospital workers talk around him because they think he cannot hear anything. For example, when he is cleaning one of the rooms during a staff meeting, he is able to hear the nurses' plans for each and every patient, and new rules and regulations that will be imposed in the ward. The movie does not really focus on Bromden and his perspective on situations. By putting the story in the perspective of chief Bromden, the book therefore, is able to develop the story's plot line in greater detail.

McMurphy's Character

Because the movie must be kept short, it skips a lot of significant details that are included in the book. In the book, there is time to develop Mcmurphy's character and the power struggle he has with Nurse Ratched. The book does not portray Mcmurphy to be so mischievous. For example, it shows that Mcmurphy has to go through various procedures to legally be allowed to take the patients in the mental institution on a boat ride. Nurse Ratched is thus, forced to give Mcmurphy permission to take the patients out. The movie, on the other hand, shows Mcmurphy sneaking the patients out of the mental ward to go on the boat ride.

Character Development

The book is better able to develop people's characters. It can be inferred that the book does this better because individuals' character traits are more easily developed in writing than through viewing. The following are examples of how the book is better able to develop certain people's character traits:
  • Chief Bromden- His character or background are never explained in the movie, so the viewer never understands why he pretends to be deaf and dumb. However, the book explains these aspects of his character clearly.
  • Nurse Ratched- Her patient/manipulative personality is more evident in the book. In the movie, she is seen to be dictatorial and in constant need of power. It also depicts her manipulation techniques towards patients. However, the book explains now patient and manipulative she is and shows her exercising her power over the doctors as well.

Cheswick's Situation

In the book, Cheswick is more like Mcmurphy, in terms of how rebellious he is. He challenges the Nurse's power from time to time. Because he does this, he pays the price by drowning in the swimming pool. In the movie, this side of his character is not evidenced and he does not die. The movie did not include this portion of the plot because of time constraints.

Nurse Ratchet's Motivation

Neither the book nor the movie explain why Nurse Ratchet controls the people in the hospital in the way she does. She strives for complete power, but at the expense of the patients' well-beings. She is not empathetic to any of the patients needs, and is too controlling for no reason. It does not seem normal for a person to be that evil and self-centered. The book and movie portrayed her to be this way to develop the plot line, but there should have been some background on why she was that way in the first place.


The movie and the book are conceptually very similar. The movie does stick to the book, for the most. The differences are arising, mainly because the movie is shorter in length and cannot possible cover all of the nuances that the book goes through. The movie attempts to make the story more gripping and entertaining for the audience. In conclusion, by only watching the movie, people will not understand the depth and intricacies of the story. They will also not get a full and thoroughly incite into each character.