One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The Doctor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 11th Grade

Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is part of a select club of books that yield both fantastic reads and excellent film adaptions. The movie is enjoyable even though it altered the book, both for the sake of brevity and for artistic flair. One of these changes from book to movie is in the character of Dr. Spivey. When transformed from book to movie, Dr. Spivey remains a minor character who appears only briefly in both, but plays a more crucial role in the movie because the movie focuses on McMurphy; here, Dr. Spivey’s actions directly impact McMurphy’s development.

Kesey’s book is narrated from the perspective of Bromden, an insane Native American who pretends to be mute. Bromden’s first person narrative works well in the book because it provides a candid account of the events in the asylum. However, Bromden’s narrative includes frequent hallucinations which make for interesting reading in the book, but would have been difficult to portray in the movie. The written word is highly suitable when we enter Bromden’s schizophrenic mind, but the medium of the movie cannot easily convey well such inner thoughts even if the audience were able to “hear” the thoughts. That may be why the movie uses the third person perspective...

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