One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I always wondered if there was a certain type of insanity that you would root for. McMurphy is one of those guys.

Yesterday, I just finished the iconic classic when I was on the bus, and it was one heck of a ride.

I find that there are different types of fluffy prose. There is something about Ken Kesey’s style that makes you think words are like ice-cream. They are their own source of delicious dessert. That is what I got out of Ken Kesey.

I personally came across him when I needed to read books on my own time for my literature class. In high school, I noticed that there were actually books in my math class as well. After class, I told the math teacher that I am looking for books I need to read for my literature class–he looked through his books and gave me one of Ken Kesey’s other novels, Sometimes a Great Notion, which is considered his magnum opus.

I read that book, and it truly blew me away! I was roughly starting on this book project during the time I was reading that book, and I believe Ken Kesey greatly influenced my writing style, especially the very beginning.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the story of patients in a psychiatric ward, but it is a bit more than just the clinically insane. You realize that many of these characters have soft sides, as though they are all burnt marshmallows. They are very aggressive on the outside, but very sensitive on the inside. You realize that many of them care for the people they love and cherished.

Ken Kesey is a master of show-not-tell. He does a lot of this through the narrator of Chief Bromden, who sometimes acts as an omniscient third-person narrator. He analyzes Randle McMurphy in ways that may be objective, but can be a bit too surface-level though. One part of the book describes Bromden talking about the first time he fell in love with a nine-year-old when Randle was young. After going back to his old house and them driving off, Bromden notices how Randle now acts more timid, contrary to his rambunctious personality. This shows that McMurphy is still reminiscing about that moment and his desire to rejoin civilization and actually have a real life with a wife and house.

It is definitely worth the time to invest in, although I believe some may be taken aback by the fluffy prose. Still, the payoff is well worth it when you get to the end!

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