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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

  

by Ken Kesey

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Analysis

Literary Devices in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The fog that constantly surrounds Chief and the patients on the ward is, Chief claims, "made" by Nurse Ratched. Because we know that Chief is schizophrenic and sees things that are not literally th...

Setting

The hospital is set somewhere in Oregon and the time period is the late 1950s or early 1960s. We know this in part because World War II is still a recent memory for Chief, but he’s been at the ho...

Narrator Point of View

Chief Bromden is a Columbia Indian who suffers from schizophrenia. Although he plays a central role in the story, he is largely an observer. Chief is an interesting narrator because he is certainly...

Genre

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest investigates the interaction between a nurse and the patients at an insane asylum ward. Thus, it is an in-depth exploration of the relationship between a pers...

Tone

Kesey is clearly sympathetic to the patients on the ward. His portrayal of the patients shows their humanity and their dignity, as well as their ability to perceive the truth of a situation despite...

Writing Style

Kesey’s decision to make Chief Bromden the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was simply a brilliant idea. Chief can't speak, so instead he’s sitting back, observing the ward, and ta...

What's Up With the Title?

The title comes from a child’s rhyme, which also serves as the epigraph. The epigraph reads "One flew east, one flew west, / One flew over the cuckoo’s nest." Since the title is only the second...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

…one flew east, one flew west,One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.—Children’s folk rhymeThe epigraph refers to a children’s rhyme about birds. The verses are taken from a longer children’s...

Plot Analysis

The patients on the ward simply try to make it through the days without angering the staff.Nurse Ratched and her staff have the men so thoroughly cowed that they are compliant patients. Much of t...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

All of the patients on the ward try to follow the rules as best they can until a new patient arrives and disrupts things.Chief describes the order that prevails on the ward—every minutes is sched...

Three Act Plot Analysis

McMurphy arrives on the mental patient ward and begins to stir up a rebellion against Nurse Ratched’s petty rules and regulations. A power struggle between the nurse and the patient begins. For a...

Trivia

Ken Kesey hated the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) directed by Milos Forman and starring Jack Nicholson. He sued the producers because they didn’t use Chief Brom...

Steaminess Rating

Although this is a book about a bunch of men locked up together in a mental ward, the men do get a little action with a couple of prostitutes who visit. First, McMurphy enjoys Candy’s company w...

Allusions

Franz Kafka (4.3.108)Mark Twain (4.3.108) The Bible: Jezebel (4.4.29) Napoleon (2.1.34)Genghis Khan (2.1.34)Attila the Hun (2.1.34)Hitler (3.2.102)Sigmund Freud (1.5.142-143)Carl Jung (1.5.142-143)...

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