Cathy's Reviews > One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
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Oct 16, 09

Read in October, 2009

Remarkable. Flawed. A great story. I've read this book at 20 year intervals over my life and each reading affects me differently.

In the 70's I thought it was simply an anti-establishment book, and McMurphy was our hero fighting the system.

In the 90's, I started seeing a lot of cracks. McMurphy didn't seem so brillant when I realized he was incarcerated for statatory rape (or as he describes it to the doctor "she was asking for for it, if you know what I mean, Doc"). Kesey seems misogynistic in his depiction of women. He also referred to the adult male nursing assistants as "black boys."

I've just reread the book, and I'm struck again by the flaws but also the power of the book. McMurphy, or the idea of McMurphy, is compelling -- flaws and all.
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Reading Progress

10/16/2009 page 272
83.69%

Comments (showing 1-4)




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Kaytlin The assistants did happen to be black, but I could see how it could be taken offensivley.


Shymaa Exactly! These are the two points that kind of baffled me.


Victoria Interesting point. In the book Kesey explains that the ward attendants are all carefully chosen by Nurse Ratched over the years precisely because they are malleable, corruptible and in the end controllable. In the society in which the book takes place, this means they are likely to be black. Another reviewer was right in pointing out the misogyny in the book, this is common in anti-establishment art of the 60s-70s.


message 1: by Cathy (last edited Jul 18, 2012 08:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cathy Victoria wrote: "Interesting point. In the book Kesey explains that the ward attendants are all carefully chosen by Nurse Ratched over the years precisely because they are malleable, corruptible and in the end cont..."

Yes, I've been rereading some science fiction from that 60-70s and I'm surprised at how women are protrayed--and back then I didn't even give it much thought. It's useful to reread books at different ages; it tells me much about myself and my changing perspective.


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