One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest analysis part 2

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  • 1. One Flew Over The Cuckoos NestSimerpreet KaurMs. Danielle DeanENG-4U16/4/2012Point of view:This entire book is told in a first person point of view. We see everything through ChiefBromdens eyes. He narrates the entire story. His personal experiences, judgements,prejudices and perspectives are integrated in the story. This is proved when the story beginswith Chief Bromden telling the readers what he sees the three African-American aides doingand he refers to himself as I. To quote the book, the author wrote, Heres the Chief. The soo-pah Chief, fellas. Ol Chief Broom. Here you go, Chief Broom. ...Stick a mop in my hand and motion to the spot they aim for me to clean today, and I go. One swats the backs of my legs with a broom handle to hurry me past. (Kesey 3)In some parts of the book, Chief Bromden also adds his own experiences and often hasflashbacks. For example, when he narrates the story of what happened to his father andtheir family land when government officials indirectly forced him to sell the land. 1
  • 2. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Plot: Climax: After the fishing trip, Nurse Ratched forces everyone to be disinfected. Chief Bromden and McMurphy get into a fist fight with the aides to defend George, who despises dirt and soap. Both of them get moved to disturbed even though they won the fight. Falling action:Rising action: The Chief follows McMurphys advice to build his McMurphy realises that his rebellious body back to its maximum capability. attitude will only get him into trouble. McMurphy and Chief Bromden are given Cheswick commits suicide. electroshock therapy. McMurphy breaks the glass of the Nurses The patients have a party in the ward with Station to make sure the Nurse does not get alcohol, drugs and prostitutes. They are caught her hopes up and feel like she has won again. by the aides the next morning. McMurphy also organises a fishing trip. Billy Bibbit is threatened by the Nurse and he commits suicide as well. Introduction: Conclusion: The story starts off with Chief The Nurse blame McMurphy for everything. Bromden only observing and McMurphy loses his temper and attacks the narrating all the characters and their Nurse which causes him to be moved to be sent actions. for lobotomy. An overview of what goes on in the McMurphy comes back a vegetable from hospital is given like the specific lobotomy. timings of medication and some of Chief Bromden cannot stand watching the treatments. McMurphy suffer, so he suffocates and kills him. Chief Bromden escapes the asylum. 2
  • 3. One Flew Over The Cuckoos NestParallel structures: McMurphy does everything he can to help everybody in the ward. He gets the tub room reopened as a game room, organises a fishing trip and sets up a date for Billy Bibbit. He has problems of his own while he is helping solve theirs. He remembers and is haunted by his childhood past when he passes by his old house after the fishing expedition. He sacrifices his life to help these insane people become sane in a more humane manner. After his lobotomy which was ordered by the Nurse, he becomes a vegetable and Chief Bromden kills him in his sleep. Nurse Ratched is trying to make sure her power and authority in the ward is not over thrown. She constantly tries to get all the patients in the ward to go against McMurphy to break the rebellion. Being the superintendant, she cannot stand it when the ward uses their power of democracy against her to get what they want. She runs some kind of secret operation in the hospital that is only revealed every night, which Chief Bromden finds out later on in the book. In the end, she still loses her control over everything. We see Chief Bromdens character develop from a coward to someone capable throughout the book. He is the quiet observer who is let in on every secret in the ward because nobody knows about his deaf and dumb act. He discovers the secret operation being run the hospital on the night when he does not take his medication. He builds his confidence and physical body using McMurphys training. In the end, he kills McMurphy to end his misery and uses McMurphys idea to escape through the window in the tub room by crashing it with a heavy bolted control panel. 3
  • 4. One Flew Over The Cuckoos NestCharacters:Chief Bromden Half-native American man: His father was a local Indian and his mother was a white woman. Pretends to be deaf and dumb: He suffers from paranoia and hallucinations. So he prefers to keep to himself. Although he has a large physique, he has lost his confidence to speak. He calls society The Combine because he believes that it is controlled by machines: He repeatedly uses the word Combine to describe the so-called civilised society that is apparently controlled by machines. He is a positive supporting character in the story: He makes morally right perceptions and takes proper actions. He helps McMurphy in the end although he kills him because he ends McMurphys misery of living as a vegetable the rest of his life.Randle P. McMurphy A gambler: He gambles and bets with everyone in the ward. He bets with the other patients that he can disturb the Nurse to make her lose her always calm and collected attitude. Picks fights very often: He gets involved in a fist fight with the boats captain on the fishing trip and then with the aides back in the ward when they were trying to force George Sorenson to get cleaned up. Rude, harsh, sarcastic and vulgar: He uses profanity throughout the story. He tries to get Billy Bibbit to lose his virginity. He speaks rudely to the Nurse and her aides. 4
  • 5. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest He is the novels protagonist: He rebels against the Nurse and her team on behalf of the entire ward. He is seen to be the hero in the story because he sacrificed his life for them. Manipulative: He manipulates and uses Doctor Spivey during group meetings and the fishing expedition. He uses Sandy and Candy to carry out his plans to help everyone on the ward.Nurse Ratched The tyrannical head nurse of the ward: She controls everyone to get things done her way; the ward superintendent, the ultimate authority demanding obedience and perfect order from everyone. She is manipulative as well. She uses her staff as well to overpower McMurphy. The antagonist of the novel: She is portrayed the negative character in every way. She is pretentious, fake and described to always have a doll face with a painted smile. Described as enormous, capable of swelling up bigger and bigger to monstrous proportions when she is upset.Tone:The tone of this novel is sympathetic. The author describes the situation of the patients inthe ward in a voice of pity. He uses words like poor old Taber. This incepts an emotion oflost humanity. However, he still portrays their dignity through their ability to differentiatebetween right and wrong like when Chief Bromden tells McMurphy that it was not right forMcMurphy to use him as a thwart the aides while defending George Sorensen. Still, they areunable to comprehend reality. Moreover, he is sympathetic towards the staff that iscorrupted from the very position they are put in. 5
  • 6. One Flew Over The Cuckoos NestSetting:This novel is set in a mental hospital in Oregon in the late 1950s or early 1960s. We knowthis because in one part of the story, McMurphy mentions the name of the state of Oregon.We can decipher the time setting from Chief Bromdens memory of World War II. Therefore,it can be concluded that Chief Bromden is talking about the recent past.Symbolic level:Fog: Chief Bromden believes that the fog he frequently sees is made by Nurse Ratched. Hebelieves she does this to cut communication in the ward. In actual fact, this is not a literal orphysical fog. It is the Chiefs foggy mind that cannot think clearly. He hallucinates in thesefogs. So when he says the fog is getting thicker nowadays, he only means that he cannotthink clearly.Pecking party: An obvious and straightforward analogy used in the novel is whenMcMurphy explains to Harding that the group meetings held by the ward staff is a peckingparty. The following quote explains it: 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 its 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 itwith chickensis to clip blinders on them. Sos they cant see.Harding laces his long fingers around a knee and draws the knee toward him, leaning back in the chair. A pecking party. That certainly is a pleasant analogy, my friend. And thats just exactly what that meeting I just set through reminded me of, buddy, if you want to know the dirty truth. It reminded me of a flock of dirty chickens. So that makes me the chicken with the spot of blood, friend? Thats right, buddy. (Kesey 51) 6
  • 7. One Flew Over The Cuckoos NestHere, McMurphy tries to explain that the Nurses actions are only tearing the men in theward apart. They are forced to hurt each other because of the way she questions, or morelike interrogates them. After that, Harding explains his philosophy of rabbits and wolves toMcMurphy which represent the weak and strong people in the community respectively.Themes:Some of the themes in this novel are, law and order, insanity, manipulation, power, andfreedom and confinement.The central theme is insanity. Although most of the characters are mentally ill, there is afine line between being "normal" and "insane". The major difference is fear. This is provedwhen Harding says that most of in voluntary patients in the ward could live in the OutsideWorld if they had the guts; because they do not have the courage, they find safety comfortin being labelled "crazy." The Chief states that he is able to fool everyone with this fine lineof fear that he is deaf and dumb and everyone buys his act. He says: They dont bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when Im nearby because they think Im deaf and dumb. Everybody thinks so. Im cagey enough to fool them thatmuch. If my being half Indian ever helped me in any way in this dirty life, it helped me being cagey, helped me all these years. (Kesey 4)References: Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Maryborough: Penguin, 2008. Print.ISBN: 978-0I4I-03749-3 7

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