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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  1. #1
    “We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind. Would you like me to decipher a Rorschach for you? No? You must burry on? Ah, he’s gone. Pity.” He turned to McMurphy. “Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become. Hitler an example. Fair makes the old brain reel, doesn’t it? Food for thought there.”
  2. #2
    “But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”
  3. #3
    “His whole body shakes with the strain as he tries to lift something he knows he can’t lift, something everybody knows he can’t lift. But, for just a second, when we hear the cement grind at our feet, we think, by golly, he might do it”
  4. #4
    “He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum”
  5. #5
    “What the Chronics are—or most of us—are machines with flaws inside that can’t be repaired, flaws born in, or flaws beat in over so many years of the guy running head-on into solid things that by the time the hospital found him he was bleeding rust in some vacant lot.”
  6. #6
    “I let the mop push me back to the wall and smile and try to foul her equipment up as much as possible by not letting her see my eyes --they can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.”
  7. #7
    “And we’re all sitting there lined up in front of that blanked-out TV set, watching the gray screen just like we could see the baseball game clear as day, and she’s ranting and screaming behind us. If somebody’d of come in and took a look, men watching a blank TV, a fifty-year-old woman hollering and squealing at the back of their heads about discipline and order and recriminations, they’d of thought the whole bunch was crazy as loons.”
  8. #8
    “He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.”
  9. #9
    “Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
  10. #10
    “This world... belongs to the strong, my friend! The ritual of our existence is based on the strong getting stronger by devouring the weak. We must face up to this. No more than right that it should be this way. We must learn to accept it as a law of the natural world. The rabbits accept their role in the ritual and recognize the wolf as the strong. In defense, the rabbit becomes sly and frightened and elusive and he digs holes and hides when the wolf is about. And he endures, he goes on. He knows his place. He most certainly doesn’t challenge the wolf to combat. Now, would that be wise? Would it?”
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  1. #11
    “I guess if she can’t cut below the belt she’ll do it above the eyes.”
  2. #12
    “No wife wanting new linoleum. No relatives pulling at him with watery old eyes. No one to care about, which is what makes him free enough to be a good con man.”
  3. #13
    “All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.”
  4. #14
    “Anointest my head with conductant. Do I get a crown of thorns?”
  5. #15
    “In this country, when something is out of order, then the quickest way to get it fixed is the best way. ”
  6. #16
    “He knows that there’s no better way in the world to aggravate somebody who’s trying to make it hard for you than by acting like you’re not bothered.”
  7. #17
    “The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin’ at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers. But usually a couple of the flock gets spotted in the fracas, then it’s their turn. And a few more gets spots and gets pecked to death, and more and more. Oh, a peckin’ party can wipe out the whole flock in a matter of a few hours, buddy, I seen it. A mighty awesome sight. The only way to prevent it—with chickens—is to clip blinders on them. So’s they can’t see.”
  8. #18
    “Why, you sure did give a jump when I told you that coon was coming, Chief. I thought somebody told me you was deef.”
  9. #19
    “First Charles Cheswick and now William Bibbit! I hope you’re finally satisfied. Playing with human lives—gambling with human lives—as if you thought of yourself to be a God!”
  10. #20
    “Nobody complains about all the fog. I know why, now: as bad as it is, you can slip back in it and feel safe. That’s what McMurphy can’t understand, us wanting to be safe. He keeps trying to drag us out of the fog, out in the open where we’d be easy to get at”
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