30+ quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey ·  325 pages

Rating: (534.4K votes)


“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“If you don't watch it people will force you one way or the other, into doing what they think you should do, or into just being mule-stubborn and doing the opposite out of spite.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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?”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“That ain't me, that ain't my face. It wasn't even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn't even really me them; I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it. ”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“They can't tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“Rules? PISS ON YOUR FUCKING RULES!”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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 is 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?”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“High high in the hills , high in a pine tree bed.
She's tracing the wind with that old hand, counting the clouds with that old chant,
Three geese in a flock
one flew east
one flew west
one flew over the cuckoo's nest”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“We'd just shared the last beer and slung the empty can out the window at a stop sign and were just waiting back to get the feel of the day, swimming in that kind of tasty drowsiness that comes over you after a day of going hard at something you enjoy doing -- half sunburned and half drunk and keeping awake only because you wanted to savor the taste as long as you could.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“No, my friend. 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?”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“What makes people so impatient is what I can't figure; all the guy had to do was wait.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“I lay in bed the night before the fishing trip and thought it over, about my being deaf, about the years of not letting on I heard what was said, and I wonder if I can ever act any other way again. But I remembered one thing: it wasn't me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“I don't think you fully understand the public, my friend; in this country, when something is out of order, then the quickest way to get it fixed is the best way.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“He knew you can't really be strong until you can see a funny side of things.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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. ”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“But the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“He's the sort of guy that gets a laugh out of people.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“To Vik Lovell who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lairs ...”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


“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.”
― Ken Kesey, quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


About the author

Ken Kesey
Born place: in La Junta, Colorado, The United States
Born date September 17, 1935
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