“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Essay, Research Paper
Comparison of Book and Movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a book written by Ken Kesey to
accomplish a certain mood within it’s chapters. The feelings and moods given in
the book differ greatly from those in the movie because of multiple changes in
character development. Each and every time a movie is produced from a book, the
producers are forced to change parts of the story in order to suit the audiences
needs for a faster paced plot. It is impossible to capture every mood or
setting which the author creates. What is lost can sometimes be the real
meaning behind the story.
The characterization of chief Bromden is a good example of the changes
made from book to movie. His past is a vital piece of information contributing
to the mood and understanding of the story. In the movie, Bromden is nothing
more than a crazy Indian who doesn’t want to talk so pretends to be deaf and
dumb. Much of the understanding and respect is lost in the transition between
book and movie. In the book, Bromden has flashbacks to his childhood, lighting
on significant points in his childhood. His background is never even brushed
upon in the movie. Of course it would have been nearly impossible to tell of
Bromdens life in a movie, much less show the world from his point of view as in
the book. Bromden is still a very interesting character but the real puzzle to
his problems is lost.
McMurphy is a very sly, cunning man. He knows how to play his game and
does it well. In the book as McMurphy progresses, he goes through many stages
where he is rebellious, then docile, then rebellious again. This is due to the
fact that he learns exactly what it means to be committed and what it takes to
be released. Then he begins to see that all his ward mates (I don’t know what
you want to call them) are counting on him so he becomes rebellious again.
These reactions to his environments encourage McMurphy to be not crazy but
intelligent and quick. This is exactly the way a character such as McMurphy
should act. In the movie, McMurphy is not only wild but rude. He tried to
never be outright rude in the book (more aggravating for the nurse) yet in the
movie he was. He never stopped being wild in the movie, leading you to believe
that maybe in fact he is crazy. Mcmurphy’s true character was lost in the
writing of the screen play, his intelligence and cunning is lowered greatly by
changes made by the screen writers.
Ms. Ratched is a powerful woman in both the book and the movie. She
knows how to play with peoples minds and manipulate groups. She keeps a tight
grip on the ward using subtle methods which cannot be ignored to get what she
wants. In the book Ms. Ratched is the most powerful woman in the hospital, what
she says goes. In the movie however, she not only doesn’t have complete control
but it seems as though the doctor thinks himself as having authority over her.
In the book she has the ability to get him replaced at any time and he knows
this. This is reflected in his willingness to obey her and his lack of new
ideas. The movie was probably changed just so they wouldn’t have to go into
detail about why and how the nurse was all powerful in the hospital Her lack of
power was shown most greatly during the staff meeting when she didn’t lead it
and even had suggestions about her course of action made by other doctors. This
gave the nurse a less intimidating personality .
The character development in the book and movie differed greatly. Each
portrayed characters differently and therefore set a different scene and mood to
the story. While each character is basically the same, subtle changes in their
personality, place in society and background lead the viewer/reader to see each
character from a different perspective.