Cover image for One flew over the cuckoo's nest
Title:
One flew over the cuckoo's nest
Author:
Kesey, Ken.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Signet, 1963.

©1962
Physical Description:
272 pages ; 18 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1110 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.2 18.0 8667.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 24 Quiz: 08660 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780451163967

9780738306445

9780881037159
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

An international bestseller and the basis for the hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the defining works of the 1960s.

In this classic novel, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax.

"BRILLIANT!"-- Time

"A SMASHING ACHIEVEMENT...A TRULY ORIGINAL NOVEL!"--Mark Schorer

"Mr. Kesey has created a world that is convincing, alive and glowing within its own boundaries...His is a large, robust talent, and he has written a large, robust book."-- Saturday Review


Author Notes

Ken Kesey, September 17, 1935 - November 10, 2001 Kenneth Elton "Ken" Kesey was born in Colorado on September 17, 1935. He graduated from the University of Oregon, and published two full-length novels that helped to give him a cult following. "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1962) owes much to Kesey's own experience as a ward attendant at the Menlo Park Veterans' Hospital. This exciting first novel was told from the point of view of a half-Indian man who thinks of himself as the Big Chief pictured on the writing tablets of everybody's school days looking out at the other inmates in a Disneylike world. Its portrayal of the doomed but heroic rebel McMurphy stood for a particular kind of American individualism. The book was adapted into a successful stage play by Dale Wasserman, and in 1975, Milos Forman directed a screen adaptation, which won the "Big Five" Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Forman) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman).

Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion (1964) is a long, complex novel that troubled many of his earlier readers. Kesey's most recent novel was Demon Box (1987); although it was somewhat well received, it was still compared unfavorably to his earlier works. His last major work was an essay for Rolling Stone magazine calling for peace in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

On October 25, 2001, Kesey had surgery on his liver to remove a tumor. He died of complications from the surgery on November 10, 2001. He was 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Kesey's new introduction to this anniversary edition could very well be the last thing he worked on before shuffling off this mortal coil in 2001. Additionally, 25 sketches he drew while working at a mental institution in the 1950s, the inspiration for the novel, are littered throughout. Critics are divided on the meaning of the book: Is it a tale of good vs. evil, sanity over insanity, or humankind trying to overcome repression amid chaos? Whichever, it is a great read. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Sketches Psychedelic sixties. God knows whatever that means it certainly meant far more than drugs, though drugs still work as a pretty good handle to the phenomena. I grabbed at that handle. Legally, too, I might add. Almost patriotically, in fact. Early psychedelic sixties... Eight o'clock every Tuesday morning I showed up at the vet's hospital in Menlo Park, ready to roll. The doctor deposited me in a little room on his ward, dealt me a couple of pills or a shot or a little glass of bitter juice, then locked the door. He checked back every forty minutes to see if I was still alive, took some tests, asked some questions, left again. The rest of the time I spent studying the inside of my forehead, or looking out the little window in the door. It was six inches wide and eight inches high, and it had heavy chicken wire inside the glass. You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted. Patients straggled by in the hall outside, their faces all ghastly confessions. Sometimes I looked at them and sometimes they looked at me. but rarely did we look at one another. It was too naked and painful. More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear, face-to-face. Sometimes the nurse came by and checked on me. Her face was different. It was painful business, but not naked. This was not a person you could allow yourself to be naked in front of. Six months or so later I had finished the drug experiments and applied for a job. I was taken on as a nurse's aide, in the same ward, with the same doctor, under the same nurse--and you must understand we're talking about a huge hospital here! It was weird. But, as I said, it was the sixties. Those faces were still there, still painfully naked. To ward them off my case I very prudently took to carrying around a little notebook, to scribble notes. I got a lot of compliments from nurses: "Good for you, Mr. Kesey. That's the spirit. Get to know these men." I also scribbled faces. No, that's not correct. As I prowl through this stack of sketches I can see that these faces bored their way behind my forehead and scribbled themselves. I just held the pen and waited for the magic to happen. This was, after all, the sixties. Ken Kesey Excerpted from One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Kesey, Ken Kesey All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Life and Background of the Author
Introduction to the Novel
Critical Commentaries
Part 1 They're Out There
Part 1 When the Fog Clears
Part 1 The New Man
Part 1 In the Glass Station
Part 1 Before Noontime
Part 1 One Christmas
Part 1 First Time for a Long, Long Time
Part 1 Come Morning
Part 1 All Through Breakfast
Part 1 There's a Monopoly Game
Part 1 There's Long Spells
Part 1 A Visiting Doctor
Part 1 It's Getting Hard
Part 1 There's a Shipment of Frozen Parts
Part 1 I Know How They Work It
Part 2 Just at the Edge of My Vision
Part 2 The Way the Big Nurse Acted
Part 2 In the Group Meetings
Part 2 Up Ahead of Me
Part 2 Whatever It Was
Part 2 They Take Me with the Acutes Sometimes
Part 2 I Remember It Was Friday Again
Part 2 Crossing the Grounds
Part 3 After That
Part 3 Two Whores
Part 4 The Big Nurse
Part 4 Up on Disturbed
Part 4 There Had Been Times
Part 4 I've Given What Happened Next
Character Analyses
Critical Essays
CliffsNotes Review
CliffsNotes Resource Center
Index