Reading Across the Pond: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On Monday the Reading Across the Pond book club discussed One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest by Ken Kesey. Consensus was that it was a ‘harrowing’ book, one that raised questions about both medical ethics and human rights (much like our discussion of  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). There was disagreement about whether or not Kesey intended to comment on the state of American mental health institutions in the 1950s or to write an allegory of authoritarianism (and good vs. evil) in general. Our discussion led us to the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and to the state of both American and British mental institutions today. Overall, most people seemed to agree that the book carried more weight than the film, due in large part to its first-person narration.

Next up: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. Stay tuned!

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