Cover image for One flew over the cuckoo's nest
One flew over the cuckoo's nest
Kesey, Ken.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
277 pages ; 22 cm.
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.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Reading List
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Reading List
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Reading List
Eggertsville-Snyder Library X Adult Fiction Reading List

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

A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the novel chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Big Nurse. McMurphy swaggers into the mental ward like a blast of fresh air and turns the place upside down, starting a gambling operation, smuggling in wine and women, and egging on the other patients to join him in open rebellion. But McMurphy's revolution against Big Nurse and everything she stands for quickly turns from sport to a fierce power struggle with shattering results.

With One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , Kesey created a work without precedent in American literature, a novel at once comic and tragic that probes the nature of madness and sanity, authority and vitality. Greeted by unanimous acclaim when it was first published, the book has become and enduring favorite of readers.

Author Notes

Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O' Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , his first novel, was published in 1962. His second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion , followed in 1964. His other books include Kesey's Garage Sale , Demon Box , Caverns (with O. U. Levon), The Further Inquiry , Sailor Song , and Last Go Round (with Ken Babbs). His two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion . Ken Kesey died on November 10, 2001.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest is an iconic 1960s novel exploring themes of individual freedom and institutional power. Narrated by the Chief, a patient in a mental hospital, Kesey's disturbing and brutal look at the insidious nature of control tells the story of Randle McMurphy, a sane man transferred to the mental hospital from a prison work farm. McMurphy antagonizes the controlling Nurse Ratched, threatening her position and sense of order. The 1975 film, starring Jack Nicholson, won all five major Oscars. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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 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

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