One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a story about patients in a mental institution in Oregon. The main character is name Bromden, a very large and shy half Native-American half Caucasian man. He acts like he is deaf and mute as to limit his interaction with other humans. The head nurse of the institute is very heavy handed, and downright abusive. She has a group of patients go around and teach other patient a lesson if they step out of line. One day, a man named McMurphy is introduced into the institute. He fakes insanity to get out of a prison sentence for Battery. He introduces the patients to gambling, basketball, fishing, and the World Series. He also gives the patients the incentive to stand up for themselves from now on.

Ken Kesey

Kenneth Kesey was born on September 17, 1935 to two dairy farmers in Colorado. In 1946 he and his family moved to Springfield, Oregon, where he attended Springfield High School. He was a champion in both high school, and college wrestling. He had the qualifications to make it onto and Olympic wrestling team, but a severe shoulder injury stopped his wrestling career. He was married in 1956 to his high school sweetheart, Norma Haxby, and the two of them had three children together. Kesey attended a non-degree, creative writing class at Stanford University. It was here where he would write the manuscript which would become One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. On October 25, 2001, Kesey had a surgery to remove a tumor in his liver. He did not recover from the surgery however and died a little over two weeks later on November 10, 2001, at age 66.
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Text to Text Relationship

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest reminds me a lot of Stephen King's The Shawshank Redemption. They both include a new face coming into the lives of others and changing the for the better. In both texts, a character appears and makes life a little better for the others. For example, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest McMurphy brings a little joy to the patients lives by showing them that they can fight for themselves and they are just as human as anyone else. This is very reminiscant of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption since he also brings joy to the prisoners lives by showing them basically the same thing.