After finishing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, I decided to do some extended research on a component of the novel that has had me puzzled since the beginning of last week’s reading: the title. There are obvious reasons why I didn’t understand the title last week, because we had not been introduced to the short little rhyme that includes it. However, even though I now know the rhyme associated with the title, I still wanted to dig deeper as to why Ken Kesey chose that for the title of the novel.
Before researching any other analytical opinions on the title, I wanted to do some thinking of my own. I tried to see if I could make any connections with the title literally, which was hard for me to do. No one flies, there really isn’t anything in the story that has to do with birds or nests, and a cuckoo isn’t mentioned, only in the short rhyme. It was easier for me to make connections figuratively rather than literally. I thought about flying again and that really didn’t seem to fit anywhere that I could think of right off the bat. However, the word “cuckoo” had me thinking of someone that was perhaps “a little coo-coo” if you have ever heard that saying. I’m not sure if that was a stretch or not, so I wanted to do some research to find out what other people thought.
As soon as I searched “meaning behind the title of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, many results came my way. I was intrigued by the one source that was from shmoop.com titled “Analysis: What’s Up With the Title?”. The short analysis gave a brief summary of where the title was present in the text, and what it came from. Then the author of the analysis went on to suggest that “Flying over the cuckoo’s nest is probably a way of expressing that someone is crazy (think back to elementary school when you’d call people “cuckoo” as an insult).” This was similar to what I had suggested before doing any research. Reading into some other sources, I found that someone on scholieren.com suggested that ” The cuckoo’s nest is the hospital and the one who flew over it is McMurphy.” In my own analysis of this idea, I would suggest that McMurphy flies over the nest because he is one that is always pushing the limits and testing the authorities within the hospital.
I’m glad that I was able to find a variety of thoughts on why Ken Kesey chose the title he did, and I was also glad that I felt I had enough ties to create my own thoughts on it as well. After reading the second section for this week, the title of this novel makes more sense.