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Classics Group Reads > Group Classics Read - July 2016 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5459 comments Mod
The discussion thread is now open. Spoilers are allowed on this thread. Don't read on if you haven't finished the book. Can you also unclick the 'Add to my update feed' people don't see your comments in their home screen. Things to consider:

1. Did you like the book?
2. Do you think that the author covers the subject adequately?
3. Do you like the tone and language of the book?
4. Was there any part of the book that was important or significant to you?
5. Have you learnt anything from the book?
6. Has reading this encouraged you to look for other books on the subject?

message 2: by Patricia (new)

Patricia | 199 comments I read this about 40 years ago and loved it. Then I saw the movie a few years later and loved that, even though I took issue with some of the differences between the book and the movie. (Jack Nicholson was perfect for the role--the whole movie was very well cast.) So now all these years later, I was curious as to how having seen the movie would affect my reading and found I couldn't get the movie out of my head as I read. Grrrrr.
The thing I was struck most with was the advances we have made in mental health issues and attitudes since the 60s and 70s. And how we still have such a long way to go.
I had forgotten that the story was told through Bromden's eyes, allowing the reader to see and hear everything. The only thing that bothered me was the lack of reaction when Bromden started talking. I guess it wasn't important to the story line. My favorite part is the fishing trip. The normalcy of it--except for when they stole the boat--the excitement of catching a fish, the simplicity of sunning themselves and having a beer.
Now I want to see the movie again.

message 3: by Annette (new)

Annette Jordan | 50 comments I found this book fascinating. I'd seen the movie but never found time to read the book before. The descriptions of psychiatric care were horrifying and disturbing. I thought the way the book was written meant the reader got a great overall view of life in the institution. The ending of the book was so sad, it left me feeling almost desolate.

message 4: by Saffron (last edited Jul 17, 2016 11:16AM) (new)

Saffron (celeste1973) | 136 comments Thank you for voting this one in for me, it is always good to read along with other folk.

I should think a lot of readers of this story will have seen the film. Due to the masterful acting, it is hard forgotten. However the story stood up fantastically, I liked the skewed perception of Chief Bromden as the story narrator, it strangely added to the weight of the book. I feel the view from many voices would have, for me, diluted the impact.

Nurse Ratchet will, probably (along with William Stoners wife) be one of the most hateful characters I have read; it is the passive/aggressive nature of her being that makes her so very dangerous. For me, she is the most damaged person in the whole hospital.

McMurphy may not have been a saint (who is) but he was full of life and showed he had a good heart when it came to the other guys. He just couldn't stop himself being the martyr.

It is a blessing that Ken Kesey wrote this book. I am sure many people would have been completely oblivious to the awful conditions that patients were subjected to. The USA in the 1950's/60's was a dangerous place for marginalised people (I won't discuss modern politics on a literature forum), the general populace would have had no clue to the goings on inside any institution, probably wouldn't have cared either.

Chief Bromden reminiscing his home land that was flooded for a hydro dam, was a sad state of affairs and left me feeling very sad, and shows how little we have learnt over the last 50 years too.

A sad, funny, moving, tragic story that I will remember as well as I have done Jack Nicholsons version on screen.

message 5: by Pat (new)

Pat Morris-jones | 1369 comments When i worked as a ward nurse i could never resist saying" medication time gentlemen please", in a Nurse R manner. only occasionally did someone spot the reference.

message 6: by Joy (new)

Joy Stephenson (joyfrankie) | 463 comments I've just finished the book (never seen the film) and have mixed feelings. I found it slow to begin with and it didn't start to grip me until about a quarter of the way through, when McMurphy speaks out at the group meeting for the first time. After that the story became compelling.
There were a number of truly poignant moments, one of the strongest for me was the point when it was revealed that almost all the patients were in the ward voluntarily.
I enjoyed the fishing trip with its joyful atmosphere.
BUT I was also repelled by the misogyny of this novel. Nurse Ratched is evil and I would have been happy to see her overthrown by a change in the men's conditions which enable them to laugh at her (which does happen temporarily) but she can only be overcome by sexual violence and I disliked this. Women are portrayed as emasculators (e.g. Billy's mother as well as nurse R) and are only acceptable when they know their place as whores.
I also felt there was a degree of racism towards the black orderlies.
I felt it was a goodish book, but of its time, and I wouldn't call it a classic.

message 7: by Pat (new)

Pat Morris-jones | 1369 comments Interesting Jo. It was of its time I guess. Well done for pointing this out.

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