He is a paranoid schizophrenic, and pretends to be a mute on the ward as to draw less attraction to himself.
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.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.
Chief Bromden, the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, is a complex character whose own story is revealed as he tells the story of the ward at large. Because he feigns deafness, he is privy to information that is kept from the other patients. Introduction“One Flew over the Cuckoo‟s Nest“ by Ken Kesey isset in an Oregon psychiatric hospital.
The narrator ofthe story is a half-Indian man known as the Chief whois a seemingly deaf and dumb patient who suffersfrom hallucinations and paranoia. 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, . The Main Characters. Chief Bromden: Chief Bromden is the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
It is stated that he is the half-bred son of the Chief of the Columbia Indians. He suffers from hallucinations and intense paranoia; ailments that he has received many . Ken Kesey’s novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" remains one of the most celebrated and talked about works of 20 th century American literature since its debut in Yet while it is seen primarily as a novel satirizing social control by setting it in a mental institution, this is a superficial reading.