One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest- Book and Movie Comparison Essay

1934 Words May 25th, 2007 8 Pages
"The Power of Words"

In recent years, it has become popular for many of America's great literary masterpieces to be adapted into film versions. As easy a task as it may sound, there are many problems that can arise from trying to adapt a book into a movie, being that the written word is what makes the novel a literary work of art. Many times, it is hard to express the written word on camera because the words that express so much action and feeling can not always be expressed the same way through pictures and acting. One example of this can be found in the comparison of Ken Kesey's novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the film version directed in 1975 by Milos Forman. The novel details the time that R.P. McMurphy, a criminal,
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McMurphy is a criminal that came from a work-farm prison and has been taking girls to bed since he was ten years old, but his physical appearance does not imply that he is capable of any of this. McMurphy's attitude is what is extremely important, but his physical appearance in the film does not help the audience understand the full capacity of his character.
Another problem with the film in comparison to the novel is the way in which McMurphy tries to wear down Nurse Ratched. In the novel, McMurphy pulls many antics that could drive anyone crazy, especially someone like Nurse Ratched who thrives on order. In one scene, McMurphy is up earlier than he is supposed to, and is walking around the ward with a cap on his head and a towel around his hips. When Nurse Ratched finds him like this, she becomes aggravated and asks him to put on some clothing, and he replies that he did not have a clean uniform next to his bed when he woke up. When he finally receives this uniform, he takes off the towel, and drapes it on Nurse Ratched's shoulder in order to change. Underneath the towel, is a pair of boxer shorts that he had been wearing the whole time. She is absolutely enraged to see that he had been pretending to be naked underneath the towel. Chief describes her reaction as, "…her voice is shaking out of control, she's so mad". The reader really gets the feeling that McMurphy is enraging the Nurse.
This is not the first of his antics, and he

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