Banned Books- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Sep 26, 2008

Posted by: John Admin


The one that I want to talk about is One Flew Over the cuckoos Nest. I can understand why some parents are concerned with their children reading these, but I am also of the belief that teenagers are more mature than parents give credit for. i read this in play format in my senior year of high school. It was one of the most interesting books we had read that year, and I remember my Lit. class having long discussions and Socratic Seminar’s about the morality of what the Chief did.

For those unaware, Cuckoo’s Nest is a play written by Ken Kesey about a group of patients in a mental institution under the control of strict, prim and proper Nurse Ratched who is willing to go to extreme lengths to control her patients. in comes McMurphy, a criminal who chose to go into a mental institution rather than spend his time working hard labor. McMurphy turns the asylum upside down with his big personality and loud opinions. It becomes a battle between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy which ultimately ends with McMurphy incurring the loyalty of his fellow patients. The basic message of this story is that freedom is not about physical limitations, and control and power does not lie with the person who has the key to the mental ward. It is about how you can imprison a man but you cannot strip him of his will if he will not let you.

So why is such a story with such a great message contested? Why are parents so concerned about their children reading this, when it tells them to stay strong and keep hope alive? That freedom is only impossible if you should hand yours over to someone? That your will cannot be broken, no matter how someone might batter your physical body?

I’ve come to realize that to many parents it is all about control. Those who contest the books so strongly are worried that the messages will lead their child to be rebellious. They are afraid of losing control of their child and the child heading off on a dark and desperate path with no hope for redemption. But if they should deem students responsible and mature enough to drive a car with a license at age sixteen, shouldn’t they be trusted to make sound decisions when it comes to reading books?

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.