Finding Human Touch for Mental Illness

I first read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in college, a couple of decades after it was written. I was far removed from the reality of psychiatric hospitals and read it more as a parable about social control than an accurate description of the horrors of mental institutions.,,,

To read more, click on the title below —

“Human Touch and Mental Illness: A Perspective on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
(image above from Anna Memnon in Bookworminess)

4 thoughts on “Finding Human Touch for Mental Illness

  1. I’ll admit I didn’t care for some aspects of this book (Chief Broom was my favorite character) or Kesey’s understanding of what mental patients “need” either, to talk about specifics I might have to get into spoilers though and I’m not sure how much you want of that here.

    • I don’t mind spoilers if you feel led to share them. I read the full book 30 years ago, before I had much awareness of mental illness, in myself or others. I’ve just now read through the first 50 pages or so and find the story very compelling. I suspect, though, you are right that Kesey’s aims were motivated more by his politics than his personal compassion. I’d love to hear more of your perspective.

      • Hi, ok. Well, I basically felt the bulk of the patients were pawns in the power struggle between McMurphy and Nurse Rached. McMurphy might have had more fun ideas, but there was still a pressure for everyone to do what HE says (as when one guy didn’t want to participate in basketball games.) I also think clandestine parties and meetings with hookers might be a fun adventure for some, but not a cue for mental illness (well the book does concede that, from what I recall.)

      • Good points. I haven’t gotten to that in the book, but saw the party scene on TV the other night and found it terribly infantile and irresponsible.

        Thanks for such a thoughtful comment.

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