The Insanity of Rebellion–‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

Posted: October 27, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Live free or die hard–“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey

We’ve heard of all the crazy shit that goes on in mental institutions. Being locked away in a prison-like cell, all drugged up by stone-faced nurses and being surrounded by what society deems as “insane” people isn’t the most ideal situation one can be in. It’s as if being insane is the sane thing to do.

Told in the point-of-view of a patient, Ken Kesey’s story of a mental institution in the 50s is a reminder of how blurry the line is between sanity and insanity. Chief Bromden has been a patient in an Oregon psychiatric hospital for 10 years. Pretending to be deaf and dumb, he observes what goes on at the all-male hospital, but doesn’t do anything about it.

The ward is run by Nurse Ratched, a composed ex-Army nurse who takes joy in manipulating and degrading everyone. When Randal McMurphy arrives, however, the mood suddenly changes in the depressing ward. Claiming that Nurse Ratched is a ball-cutter, the roughneck gambler makes a bet that he can make her lose her temper within a week. Let the battles begin.

Get past the slow introductions and the ramblings of the “chief,” and you’ll find yourself submerged with all the patients who began to rebel with Randal McMurphy. You watch how McMurphy surges into his patients a sense of self-confidence; they’re not cowards, but they’re men.

If reading isn’t your thing, there’s always the knock-off movie version of it. Jack Nicholson plays his usual rebellious, yet not-so-creepy role of McMurphy, and his Academy Award is well deserved for that performance. He brings such life to the character as he shows the hardships of dealing with society’s persistence of assimilating into a normal society.

-Vania Myers

  1. […] other men begin to join them. Fight Club spreads and Tyler begins to use it to encourage acts of rebellion and destruction across the country. Eventually this grows into Project Mayhem–focusing on […]

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