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One Flew Over the Cuckoo

One Flew Over the Cuckoo

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Published by: mememaster123 on Jun 11, 2010
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Connor HollisJunior EnglishSheets-SagooApril 10
2010One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a story that is deep and intricate. There are manylayers and levels of analysis for the more experienced reader to discover and explore. It is a book of insanity, with deep resonating ideas that are portrayed throughout the novel. The booillustrates the darkness inside every person, while some characters are protagonists andantagonists; there are several instances where the characters roles seem to blend over into other categories. The characters are negative, and the plot is almost frightening at times. The presenceof McMurphy, the books protagonist, incites the men of the ward to stand up for themselves.While it may seem that most characters are good within, there are several characters that are bothdecent and dark, a juxtaposition of character ideals.The first character that is important to notice is McMurphy, while he may be the books protagonist he is definitely a dishonest and immoral man. He gambles, drinks, swears, and“fights and fucks too much.” While his influence may seem negative he is definitely the deliverer of freedom for the men of the ward. He brings them from meek and timid individuals to manlymen who can take on the world! He is definitely very dark though, his past is ripe with disaster,and the connections he has are not of the best repute. As a man he is not wholesome, as a worker he is lazy, but as a member of the ward he is a savior, a Christ-like man, who can bring about thefreedom that the men deserve. But, while he is seen as a Christ-like figure, he is most definitely
not the Christ that the bible proclaims as free of sin. He just can tempt the sheep away from theSatan woman know as Nurse Ratched Nurse Ratched is not actually a Satan woman, nor is she actually portrayed as Satan, perhaps she is more like a devil, a demon of sorts. She controls the wards every movement, andmanipulates the men with veiled threats and by acting out those threats. The electrotherapy is notthe worst thing that the nurse can do to the patients of the ward, and they are well aware of that.But she holds a power over them; they are in a trance like state, afraid of the outside world, andso controlled by the nurse that they stay in the ward because they want to stay inside. She is adark character with really no positive influence, except being the catalyst for McMurphy’srebellion. One of the criticisms that a reader could look at through this book is a gender criticism.Starting with how women are often portrayed in a bad light throughout the entire book. NurseRatched is definitely no exception to the “evil” women theme. She is the epitome of nastywomen. A control freak, and a manipulative individual, not one to be trifled with, and manymembers of the ward do not last very long. One of the longest surviving members of NurseRatched’s ward is Chief Bromden.Chief Bromden is the longest surviving member of the ward, and he suffers fromflashbacks and hallucinations. He is the narrator of the book, and a good friend of McMurphy.He is so subdued by Nurse Ratched so much that is fearful of even speaking, appearing as deaf and mute to the other members of the ward. He eventually becomes confident in McMurphyenough to speak to him, and tell him that he is lying about being deaf and mute. Bromden’sdarker side though, comes from his past and his upbringing. Bromden in the past fought in WorldWar II, and when fighting in WWII he saw quite a lot of devastation. He hallucinates about thethings that he has seen, and when he becomes more unstable he has flashbacks of when he
worked on the air fields. Bromden is Native American, he saw his native lands taken from him,and saw his father being devastated by the loss of his land having a domineering wife. Here isanother example of how women are seen in a bad light throughout the novel. Often the womenare seen as evil and corrupting figures. Bromden’s mother told his father to sell the land to thegovernment buyers, and they were suddenly left without a place to live.Billy Bibbit is a shy man, and he suffers from a speech impediment. He is in the ward dueto his psychoactive state. And towards the end of the novel he takes his own life. While he is asomewhat normal man, he is another who is under the influence of Nurse Ratched. She takes her little tendrils of power and controls him like a puppet. After a night of partying and love makinghe is caught with a woman. He stands up to Nurse Ratched and talks back to her withoutstuttering. But, Nurse Ratched asks him what his mother would think and that causes a mental breakdown, resulting in his suicide. While Billy may have been one to help McMurphy try tooverthrow Nurse Ratched in the end he was so plagued by his past that he can’t live any longer.Billy was a strong man, he could take his own life, but it takes a depression in someone to allowthem to overcome their self preservation instinct. Billy’s suicide did lead to McMurphy nearlystrangling Nurse Ratched to death, and setting off the events that transpire at the end of the book.His death was necessary for the wards freedom.One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is good to analyze for different themes. There areseveral ways that one can read the book and perceive a different meaning from every word.While the gender discrimination plays a large role in the book, there are other themes, such asthe racism against the “black boys”. Or the view of government and the role it plays in thehospitals, like the mental ward, or the environment, with Bromden’s land. The author was notone to hide is thoughts; he expressed himself in a way that allowed the reader to interpret the text

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