Meaning of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

There is such an old English rhyme about three geese, one of which flew to the west, the second to the east, and the third – over the cuckoo’s nest. We all know that cuckoos do not make nests, which means … So, the goose flew to nowhere. This is a rhyme about absurdity. And the Americans also talk about crazy, abnormal people, just like we do – “cuckoo”. This is why, in America, insane asylums are sometimes referred to as “cuckoo’s nests.” Keep that in mind as we begin to break down one of the most acclaimed films in film history based on the famous book of the same name.

novel and film

Ken Kesey’s novel, which had no other such powerful books, was recognized as the bible of the hippie generation. Hippies, as we know, believed that modern civilization is evil, it cripples and lobotomizes a person, turning him into a miserable, materially preoccupied and soulless tradesman. That is, it was a book about the freedom of the individual, and it is no coincidence that Milos Forman took up this novel. He was a fugitive from the socialist camp to the West, and the question of freedom for him was always sick, burning.

Well, Foreman flees to America and shoots a movie in this “citadel of freedoms” that there is no freedom here and cannot be – as long as civilization is alive.

What is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest about?

In the center of the plot is the life of the male department of a psychiatric clinic, in which people ended up for a variety of reasons. There are frank vegetables and a completely innocent boy, who was pushed into the clinic by his own mother with the help of the main monster in this world – Nurse Mildred. In general, we see many men who have suffered from the tyrannical femininity, wounded by their wives, mothers and just the world, in which, it turns out, the female order of things dominates, designed to limit men’s freedom. But there is also a larger victim here, as a symbol of the evil inflicted by the civilized West on a natural person – an Indian named Leader.

And now the criminal type McMurphy, an Irishman accused of rape, enters the department. He is set up very cheerfully, he is even interested in “squinting” under the insane person in order to get off the deadline. But he still does not understand where he got to, and who the local nurse really is. He will feel the full power of this witch on himself later. McMurphy, as they say, is a real man – his balls are always with him. And no nurse can “castrate” him. This is an absolutely free man, not tamed, a real male of the Alpha group. It would seem that his triumph over the world of dull and evil aunts is inevitable. He refuses to follow local rules – he has his own rules.

Other patients, long hunted and broken, look at him with admiration, he gives them hope, some semblance of self-confidence.

And here the climax happens in the film – Murphy arranges a grand party with a prostitute, taking advantage of the absence of his main sister. Each of the guys will get their own little evening of happiness, but the finale of this “holiday of disobedience” is more than tragic. The boy, who for the first time in his life decided to be intimate with a woman, committed suicide out of fear of his mother – the nurse caught him with a prostitute and threatened to tell everything. Everyone else is simply depressed and scared: they were reminded that the world is ruled by a cruel, inexorable ORDER – deadly, creepy, hating freedom.

And the one who considered himself indestructible is simply taken to a special procedure. Everything that happened turned out to be the perfect excuse for the nurse to settle the score with Murphy by sending him to a lobotomy – a terrible operation that turns a person into a vegetable. It is hard to believe, but in the middle of the 20th century it was very popular, the inventor of the lobotomy even received the Nobel Prize. So, late at night, the crippled Murphy returns to the ward. No one sees him except the Leader. He immediately understands what happened, strangles Murphy with a pillow, and then breaks the windows of the hospital and gets out forever.

The hidden message of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Thus, we see that in this whole story there is only one person who is able to change and gain the fullness of life – the one who at the beginning of the film did not even know how to speak. Everything that happened stirred up his memory, his mind – his whole being – and pushed him towards freedom. He couldn’t help but kill Murphy, because a hero must remain a hero. Murphy himself would have asked him for this as a favor, if he still retained the ability to think and speak.

Surprisingly, every year Foreman’s film is filled with new meaning. We see how a society built, it would seem, on reasonable and progressive foundations, every day deprives a person of freedom and the right to choose. Many openly say that in this civilization the natural masculinity is suppressed – it is not needed, it has no place. Every day people castrate and lobotomize themselves in fear of freedom, in fear of not fitting in, of arousing discontent of the “chicken coop”.

You will not hear a single cry, a surge of will, a free desire in the realm of consumption and political correctness. But the socialist camp, which we were so afraid of as a place to suppress the freedom of the individual, has long since collapsed. Why didn’t man become free and beautiful in the new world – the world of victorious “rights and freedoms”?

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