Archive for May, 2010

Birds


(May 28th, 2010)
Dear shut-in planet Earth,

God, how much does it take for us to be loved?
For us to be saved?
We all are birds stuck inside our cage, covered up with praise.
And behind our saints we hide our face.
Oh, the numbers come. Yeah, they’re dialing in.
We can’t help but to compare ourselves again.
~Birds by Deas Vail~

I couldn’t take it anymore: McMurphy and Nurse Ratched fighting off against each other for months on end on the tiniest rules of the mental institution. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is jammed with tension between the “birds”: the mental patients; and the “cage”: the doctors and nurses on the ward. McMurphy, a gambler and rebel, purposely works his way into this cruel world cut off from the outside world, imagining his time to be a breeze, and he immediately realizes that it isn’t the relaxing atmosphere he has hoped for. Instead, the powerful nurse in charge, Ms. Ratched,  seeks control and inflicts pain on the patients with a range of mental troubles. Sadly, her methods have caused a cruel opposite effect: they’ve made just-about-normal patients doomed to be in the hospital for life by giving them permanent disabilities. Unfortunately, the outside world doesn’t seem to notice, since Ratched sucks up to the press and builds a delightful image to show how much progress the institution has made.  McMurphy is very perseverant in his quest to dismantle the structured system that Ratched has created. He continues on with his dastardly stunts even after receiving repetitive electric shock treatments to his brain. He becomes a figure similar to Jesus, gaining followers and later receiving beating after beating on the cross-shaped table wearing his own “crown of thorns”.  The  slow downfall of the caste system around him truly captivates the reader and brings about strong hatred towards Ratched. McMurphy succeeds in appealing to the rest of the patients around him. Going against the strict policies, the patients go on fishing trips outside of the grounds and secretly have parties with prostitutes during the night and get drunk on a mixture of alcohol and cough syrup.  McMurphy becomes closer to Bromden, a silent, inactive patient who  eventually comes out of his shell after he shows him that there is more to the world than the dull confines of the institution. This book profoundly questions the definition of insanity, showing that these people are just the same as everyone else and possibly just have been given up at a young age for various reasons. The  surprise ending makes the reader thankful for having so much freedom and opportunity in the world.

Michael

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