One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Compare the ending of the film to the books final chapter. how does the narration give you more insight on what has happened?

What is different

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The primary difference is the way in which the movie ended and the book ended. In the movie, it appears that the Indian character lifts up the sink, throws it out the window and escapes. In the book, it was somewhat different, as we are allowed to envision Chief's escape and a part of his journey.

Also,in the film, Cheswick supports McMurphy until the end, whereas in the book, after standing up for the first time against the Nurse, Cheswick and McMurphy have a short talk, and later that day Cheswick drowns in the swimming pool.

When comparing the ending of the text one flew over the cuckoo's nest to the ending of the film there are several different endings that alter the viewer/readers perspective of the outcome of the story.     First off, in the book, when McMurphy gets strangled by Chief and dies, Chief said, "I took my thumbs and pushed the lids down and help them till they stayed"(Kesey 279). The text goes on to say that he laid there for a while, holding the covers over his face, thinking that he was quiet, but Scanlon's voice hissing from the bed let him know that he wasn't. Scanlon then warrants Chief that nurse Ratched's going to find out and told him, "Was I you, Chief, I breeze my tail outa here"(Kesey 279). In the film, Chief does nothing of the sort. Instead he removes the pillow from his face, slightly touches his chin, gets up off the bed and walks away to the bathroom to remove the plumbing fixture to use as an object to throw through the window, so he could bust out of there.    The classic shutting of the eyes, in a lot of movies, indicates to the viewer that that person cares about the other persons soul being put to rest. Leaving information like that let's the viewer know that that character wasn't really concerned about staying there morning for McMurphy's death. In the film Chief was less concerned and wanted more to just get out of there as soon as possible.       Another part that differs in the book than in film is when Billy is in his room with the prostitute Candy, and nurse Ratched catches them. In the book, when nurse Ratched opens the door, Billy and Candy look up, hold hands and smile, and Billy goes on to introduce Candy to the nurse. Discombobulated and unaware, Billy and Candy fall in and out of a deep sleep halfway aware of the nurse standing in the door way. In the book there is a lot more confrontation that went on inside that same room that Billy and Candy were in. The film  just shows the two black men peeking through the whole, opening the door, and then bringing nurse Ratched along so that she could witness the same thing they just witnessed. Then it cuts off to a scene where she's walking away and Billy comes running in, falls and pulls up his pants and stands right in front of her to explain himself.    This type of different behavior explained in the text, in contrast to what's explain on film lets the viewer know that Billy is not as proud of his accomplishments as much as he was in the text. In the film, by rushing out of there quickly, that lets the viewer know that Billy is more ashamed of his accomplishments rather than it being a proud, justifiable moment.  He later admits, in the film, that he's not ashame in front of all the other inmates and they clap for him.         Lastly, in the text, when Billy's trying to admit to nurse ratchet who forced him to lay with the prostitute, once he finally admits it was McMurphy  it says that the nurse pulls his head towards her starched breasts and is very comforting and understanding. She then walked him slowly to the doctors office while his head was bowed. In the film Nurse Ratchet orders the help, Mr. Washington, to forcibly put Billy in the doctors office and orders him to stay with him until the doctor arrives. Billy then hits himself out of rage and self-destruction, and seems a lot more upset in the film then what's explained in text.     When contrasting these two outcomes this tells the viewer that Billy was a lot more distraught and upset leading to his suicide. In the text, it comes as more of a surprise leading up to his suicide because of how willing and docile he became after the comforting words from Nurse Ratched.




References Kesey, K. (1962). One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. New York, New York: The Penguin Group. Retrived June 24, 2015