One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, published in 1962, is a seminal novel that explores the dehumanizing effects of institutionalization and the struggle for individuality. The story is narrated by Chief Bromden, a patient in a mental hospital, who observes oppressive routines and power dynamics within the institution. The arrival of Randle P. McMurphy, a rebellious and charismatic man, disrupts the authoritarian rule of Nurse Ratched and brings a glimmer of hope to the other patients.

Set in a mental hospital, the novel delves into themes of sanity, power, and the consequences of social conformity. Kesey's narrative challenges traditional norms and questions the definition of madness, inviting readers to consider who holds the power to determine sanity and insanity.

Published during a period of social and cultural upheaval, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest became a symbol of countercultural resistance. The novel is celebrated for its portrayal of individualism and its critique of institutional authority. The novel has left an indelible mark on discussions surrounding mental health and society’s treatment of the mentally ill. It was adapted into a successful film in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson that won several Academy Awards, including for Best Picture.

Explore the full book summary, an in-depth character analysis of Randle P. McMurphy, and explanations of important quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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