Cuckoo’s Nest Quote Qs 1- Other
Big Nurse, or Nurse Ratched in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is introduced as a very bossy and meticulous figure. Bromden is a patient at the ward and also narrator of the story, always describing the Nurse’s personality, looks, and actions. In one passage, Bromden describes how he always sees her with figurative language; “ I see her sit in the center of this web of wires like a watchful robot, tend her network with mechanical insect skill, know every second which wire runs where and just what current to send up to get the result she wants.” (Kesey 29). Kesey used similes to relate Nurse Ratched to a watchful robot and the ward as her network. This lets readers infer that she is very controlling and is seen by herself and the patients as superior. At the mental hospital the story takes place at, they use electric shock therapy and other treatments of the like to supposedly help treat the patients. The idea of electricity is hinted as Kesey related her knowing of where and when everything happens by relating it to wires sending currents. Nurse’s controllingness could lead to problems later on in the book because Bromden is always complaining in his narration of how he is treated and the new patient, McMurphy, also proves to like having authority. Tension is already forming between characters which could possibly result in rebellion rebellion. The passage characterizes the Nurse as well as the treatments of the hospital between the lines.
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Cuckoo’s Nest QS 2- Other
McMurphy begins his quest of revolution harshly, mocking patients’ flaws and disabilities in order for them to recognize individuality. Harding’s ashamement of his long, white, and dainty hands represent his lack of power. When McMurphy tries to get everyone to vote to convince Nurse Ratched to change their TV time, McMurphy attempts to mock Harding’s hands. McMurphy chuckles at Harding when he doesn’t raise his hand, “ Harding, what’s wrong with you, for crying out loud? You afraid if you raise your hand that old buzzard’ll cut it off.’.. Harding lifts one thin eyebrow. ‘ Perhaps I am; perhaps I am afraid she’ll cut it off if I raise it.” (Kesey 121). McMurphy is aware of how Harding’s hands look with the webby detail and delicate skin.
He thinks that it is okay to poke fun at HArding’s hands just because he has more masculine hands from his hard labor, symbolizing his power. McMurphy wants Harding to raise his hand to vote yes to more TV time, as well as so McMurphy can put him down more because of his hands. McMurphy also wants to make Billy Bibbit talk more, so that he can put him down because of his stuttering. All of McMurphy’s actions are in good hope, in an effort to help them break loose from their disabilities and become more powerful figures.
Cuckoos Nest QS 3- Christ Imagery
McMurphy is depicted as a christ figure in Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because the patients on his ward greatly reflect Jesus’ twelve disciples. McMurphy takes some of the acutes and physically abled patients from the ward on a fishing trip in an effort to emphasize their independence. On the fishing trip, Bromden, a patient, narrates “ McMurphy led the twelve of us toward the ocean.” (Kesey 239). McMurphy tries to heal the patients’ illnesses and give them independence. This is relieving them from sin, which is what jesus tried to do. As McMurphy healed them and show them it was okay to rebel against Nurse Rached, he gained followers On the fishing trip, there were twelve men, and Jesus had twelve disciples The number gives the idea an even greater significance as well as Bromden’s usag of the word “ led”. Jesus was the leader of his twelve disciples, and McMurphy is now recognized as the leader of the ward. McMurphy’s acts as a leader and a reliever of sin for the patients, just as Jesus Christ did.
Cuckoo’s Nest QS 4- Harding
Harding is characterized as homosexual when his wife Vera comes to visit and complains about men that come over looking for him. She chooses to socialize with the other patients rather than her own husband, which already shows their disinterest in each other. She describes the boys in detail that come to her house, “ The hoity-toit boys with the nice long hair combed so perfectly and the limp little wrists that flip so nice.” (Kesey 185). Vera’s description is stereotypical of homosexual males; weak, feminine looking, etc. Harding tries to hide his homosexuality by insisting that they must not only be there for him. Perhaps Harding is just hiding in the hospital voluntarily so that he won’t have to admit the truth to his sexuality and be embarrassed of already marrying a straight lady. It is inferable that when McMurphy decides to leave Harding will soon follow after he develops and strengthens his confidence and individuality due to McMurphy’s rebellious actions to bring out such qualities of patients. Cuckoo’s Nest QS 5- Hands/Power (Because Glass= Power)
In Ken Kesey’s Novel One Flew over the cuckoo’s Nest, hands are associated with the breaking of power. Therefore, at a group therapy session when Nurse Ratched provokes others to self harm their wrists/hands, she is decreasing their power by intercepting the potential of their hands. When Billy Bibbit’s admits his attempts, Nurse Ratched comes out with, ‘ Billy here has been talkin’ about slicin’ his wrists again, so is there seven of you guys who’d like to join him and make it therapeutic?”(Kesey 262). Billy Bibbit already has very low self confidence due to his speech ailment, so Nurse Ratched is just trying to make it worse by humiliating him. She thinks it will be therapeutic for everyone to self harm to make Billy feel that he’s not alone, but really the Nurse is just trying to lessen their power by harming their one source of power- hands. Cuckoo’s Nest Qs 6- Faces
In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, faces symbolize former patients of the combine that were unable to regain their individuality, confidence, and hope. Faces are always seen by the current patients in the walls, picture frames, windows, etc. Usually only one patient can see the patients at a time. McMurphy, a new patient at the time, still had his sanity and started seeing faces in his dreams. Shortly later, Martini, another patient, was playing with toys in the tub room and suddenly screams in fright and starts asking people if they say what he saw, “ Hold it a minute. They need you to see thum,’ Martini says. ‘ Damn you, Martini, I told you I can’t see them! Understand? Not a blessed thing!” (Kesey 187). Martini saw faces isolated in the straps, ionically the straps that were still used in the hospital a number of years ago. The faces beg for recognition and forgiveness as it seems, and symbolize the torture that patients had undergone under those very straps throughout the years.