Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- When Written: Late 1950s
- Where Written: Stanford University, while Kesey was a student of the creative writing program.
- When Published: 1962
- Literary Period: Beats
- Genre: Counterculture/Protest Novel
- Setting: Mental hospital in Oregon during the 1950s
- Climax: At the end of Part II, McMurphy violently rebels against Nurse Ratched’s decision to close off the game room. He punches through the glass window at the nurse’s station. It signals that McMurphy is beyond trying to get a rise out of Nurse Ratched for selfish reasons, but now believes she is a corruptive, evil force. It is here that McMurphy commits himself to truly rehabilitating the other men.
- Antagonist: Nurse Ratched
- Point of View: Chief Bromden (Narrator)
Movie Disputes. Kesey was originally involved in the film production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but left after two weeks because of a monetary rights dispute. He refused to see the movie because Chief Bromden didn’t narrate it like in the book, and he disagreed with the casting of Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy. Kesey wanted Gene Hackman.
Wrestling Star. Ken Kesey was a champion high school and college wrestler, and even nearly qualified for the Olympic team, but because of a shoulder injury couldn’t compete.