The Question of the Crazy Narrator
Interesting thing about One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest: the narrator is crazy, as in he lives in an asylum. Perhaps that would qualify?
Not only that, but Chief Broom is labeled as a “chronic,” which means he’ll be there the rest of his life, unlike the “acutes” who still have hope for rehabilitation. So he’s on the wrong side of the “crazy spectrum.”
This poses a problem. To this point in the book, the narrator seems actually calm, balanced, and quite sane. But, all along, I’m thinking–remember, this guy has lived in an asylum for decades…can you really believe what he says?
That’s an interesting part of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest–trying to determine whether or not you can actually believe the narrator.
During one scene, Chief Broom manages to skip the nightly drug–which puts patients in a deep sleep. While he lies in bed, the floor beneath him drops underground, like some type of massive elevator, and he and the other dozens of patients are sent, asleep in their PJs, through some type of underground assembly line to be poked and prodded by some sort of human robots?
It’s all very weird. Which, of course, makes me ask–is this guy just hallucinating? But who knows. I think Ken Kesey does a fabulous job of making the reader unsure of reality–in the same boat with the asylum patients.
Have you ever had trouble believing a book’s narrator?