Themes In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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A fight of many against an unjust institution, such is the premise of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest we are thrust into the perspective of a native American chief, Bromden, as he lives his life in a mental ward when a new inmate, McMurphy, changes the entire scene against the hellish life they live under the ward’s controller, Nurse Ratched. Milos Forman’s movie adaptation of the book portrays the story in a completely different way; one that included many differences that Ken Kesey would not have liked. Much of what Ken Kesey’s novel revolved around was the ever important theme of individuals vs. institution and by Milos Forman altering and removing parts of the story such as Chief…show more content…
Within the book, Chief Bromden holds the interesting perspective that the ward and essentially the world is a Combine sought to make people conform; however, this concept is lost within the movie. Bromden believes the Combine and the ward is a “huge organization that aims to adjust the Outside as well as she [Nurse Ratched] has the Inside…”(Part 1, Ch.4, 28). The greater emphasis and mentioning of the Combine through Chief Bromden within the book develops upon the institution that Kesey wanted to show to the readers. Kesey would be angered by losing the aspect of Chief Bromden’s view on the manipulative Combine in the movie as it takes away from driving force and perspective which explains why Chief Bromden and sometimes other patients act in defiance of being controlled. The Combine truly sheds light on the institution in the battle of the individuals vs. institution that Kesey sought to represent and is a paramount part of the story which was left out in the movie, thus Kesey would have disliked this difference. Furthermore, in regards to the individuals aspect of the individuals vs. institution theme that the movie dismisses, Chief Bromden remarks in reference to…show more content…
As Chief Bromden recalls in reference to Cheswick, “just as soon as we got to the pool, he said he did wish something mighta been done, thought, and dove into the water. And got his fingers stuck some way in the grate that’s over the drain at the bottom of the pool (…) and by the time they got a screwdriver and undid the grate and brought Cheswick up, with the grate still clutched by his chubby pink and blue fingers, he was drowned.” (Part 2, Ch.3, 175). As a result of not getting his cigarettes and the institution winning over, Cheswick decides to kill himself in the book which highlights the conflict that Kesey’s theme of individuals vs. institutions seeks to represent. Kesey would dislike the lack of this scene within the movie as with it gone, we lose a sense of how controlling the institution is and how much unfair treatment the individuals are subject to under the institution and this is illustrated by Cheswick 's death. Furthermore, by removing the scene, the story also loses the concept of rebellion against the institution that Kesey intentionally established. As a result of the removal of the scene within the movie, Kesey’s important theme of individuals vs. institution is
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