When the novel begins, Bromden is paranoid, bullied, and surrounded much of the time by a hallucinated fog that represents both his medicated state and his desire to hide from reality.
When humans become avatars for good and evil, what gets lost or ignored? Yet while it is seen primarily as a novel satirizing social control by setting it in a mental institution, this is a superficial reading.
This seemingly small change in perspective is in fact quite significant. Aside from his more obvious breaks from reality believing the nurses are able to alter the flow of time, machines that pump fog into the ward, seeing Nurse Ratched as a monster hiding behind an enamel maskhe is obsessed with the idea of a struggle between good and evil, characterized by the immaculate white of the Nurse Ratched and her hospital staff their uniforms and shoes, the walls and floors are all a blinding white and the irrepressible new patient Randle Patrick McMurphy, whose flaming red hair and fleshy, bruised knuckles stand in chaotic contrast to the ordered, sterile colorlessness of the hospital.
To Kesey, these are far more sinister: Physical abuse causes damage as seen by the self-inflicted wounds of Billy Bibbit, who has scars on his wrists and cigarette burns on his handsbut the person remains the same. The violence of the hospital is implicit, and it is far more powerful: The damage is still there, it is merely hidden.
The catatonic Ellis is nailed to the wall each morning in order to keep him upright, and patients receiving shock therapy are hooked up in a similar fashion with accompanying caps that are referred to multiple times as a crown of thorns.
Bromden sees the noble sacrifice of the patients against the faceless Combine, but seems not to truly understand the suffering of the individuals underneath.
After the sympathetic Billy Bibbit commits suicide at the climax, Kesey pulls back the veil of satire that has informed most of the novel up to this point. The game has stopped being fun, there is no prize left to win or worth winning.
The patients most of whom are in the hospital voluntarily sign themselves out and return to the world at large. Yet they are no longer the towering, larger-than-life figures that served to inspire and terrify both the patients and the audience.
Ratched is bruised and broken, unable to speak or flash her evil smile and capable only of written communication. McMurphy, lobotomized after attacking Ratched, is a waxen doll unable to move.
Tellingly, the remaining patients refuse to acknowledge the husk wheeled back into the ward as their leader. Instead, they guffaw that it is a poor simulacrum, a creation designed to fool them into thinking the unsurpassable McMurphy has been brought down.
Yet a much darker reading of the novel shows the patients discarding a symbol they no longer have use for. McMurphy was the epitome of rebellion and subversion against the systems of control set in place. The patients are content to ignore his flaws and stand behind him against the equally-abstracted Ratched.
Yet when the battle is over, when those that could help themselves have done so, the defeated form of McMurphy is left behind. He destroys himself to redeem his friends, and they in turn destroy him because he was never seen as a person at all, but an outmoded symbol.
What makes this story so critically interesting is that it is not simply a polemic against institutional forces.
Rather, it is an ingenious portrayal of fantasy and how people caught up in the grandiose and lost sight of humanity.Chief Bromden Chief Bromden, nicknamed “Chief Broom” because the aides make him sweep the halls, narrates One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Although he says that he is telling the story about “the hospital, and her, and the guys—and about McMurphy,” he . A summary of Themes in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The fear of women is one of the novel’s most central features.
The. Géfin, Laszlo K. “The Breasts of Big Nurse: Satire versus Narrative in Kesey’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.” Modern Language Studies (): Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Reprinted New York: Penguin Books, Print.
Larsen, Janet. Madness and Misogyny in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Daniel J. Vitkus Kesey's novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a text that explores through the eyes of his first-person narrator, Chief Bromden. The Chief recounts the story as a flashback, but tells the reader that.
Nov 12, · “One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.” This single ordinary line in Cuckoo’s Nest sets up the reader for an entire journey throughout the novel. It is repeated several times within the book so it must have importance.
Chief Bromden - The narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Chief Bromden is the son of the chief of the Columbia Indians and a white woman. He suffers from paranoia and hallucinations, has received multiple electroshock treatments, and has been in the hospital for ten years, longer than any.