The most important similarity between the book and the movie is the constant battle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. They are constantly trying to gain an edge over each other to have control over the patients. This happens in both the book and the movie. McMurphy ends up becoming the biggest influence until he is killed at the end. Nurse Ratched ends up winning the battle by outlasting McMurphy, but also loses because McMurphys’ influence has changed the attitudes of the patients forever. The ending to the book and the movie is also a great similarity between the two.
Nurse Ratched makes Billy Bibbit feel guilty to the point where he kills himself. McMurphy ends up choking Nurse Ratched in the book and the movie. Then Nurse Ratched turns McMurphy into a vegetable by taking part of McMurphys’ brain out. Bromden can tell McMurphy is not the same after he comes back and does not like it. He misses the old McMurphy so he kills McMurphy. After Bromden kills McMurphy he escapes from t it is society who dictated norms and urges conformity, while those individuals who reject societal views and pressures are the ones deemed insane.
Ken Kesey wove a similar mirror image of society and asylums into his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which tells the story of a cowboy-like outlaw named Randall McMurphy who is introduced into a mental institution to contain his behavior but instead incites rebellion among the patients who suffer under the overbearing Big Nurse and aides like Doctor Spivey. McMurphy, Chief Bromden, and Harding represent a uniqueness or variation of humanity and personality discarded by society and pressured into conformity by Big Nurse, a puppet of modern “truths,” and Doctor Spivey, a bystander resembling the typical American.