I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but I’m going to say it again. I tried reading this book two summers ago [the summer after my sophomore yearof high school] and I barely got through the first chapter. But reading it again this summer, after I’ve developed more patience and appreciation for good literature, I’m so glad I gave it another shot. So I finally finished it. And it made me sad.
It’s not strange for a book to make me sad. But there are different kinds of sad. For some books, I feel depressed because there’s no more of it to read. For others, the book itself makes you sad. And One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of those books.
Now, I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone, but just be prepared to feel a little bit defeated. That feeling that no matter what you try to do, the system is always going to get the best of you. It’s a depressing feeling, but it’s depression with a purpose. It’s basically one of those books that makes you feel things you don’t want to feel, but you can’t help but feel them and you can’t help but like it because it’s just so good.
This story takes place in an institution. An insane asylum. And as you read about the patients in the asylum, you just can’t help but relate more to them than the “Big Nurse” or the “two black boys.” I found myself agreeing more with the insane people than with the “sane” ones. In a way, I couldn’t really help it, especially since the whole story’s being told through the eyes of a patient, Chief Bromden. And many times, I find myself wondering if I should take into account what he says because he does have some fuzzy thoughts that make you realize just why he’s in there in the first place. But then you hear about what the so called “sane” people do as well. The Big Nurse and her two workers, and even the receptionist, who also happens to be the mother of one of the patients, Billy Bibbit; they do things that make you question their sanity. And you wonder just how different they really are from the patients. And you realize that there is only a fine line between sanity and insanity and it’s defined by the expectations of the system. Society. [And I’m on the brink of that line.]
I’m not a pro at analyzing books… yet. So I can’t really explain all the hidden metaphors in it, and again, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. But I know books always get better after you read it a second time. And this is one of those books that I just can’t wait to read again because I know that I will get so much more out of it.