The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format. In CliffsNotes on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, you explore Ken Kesey's best-known work, one that challenges the preconceived ideas of what constitutes sanity and insanity. A mistakenly undertaken power struggle in an insane asylum results in a suicide, a murder, and a liberation, and leaves the reader with a paradoxical feeling that both disturbs and pleases. This study guide carefully walks you through the novel by providing summaries and critical analyses of each section.
The novel's portrayal of mental disability is found to be impressive in its avoidance of stereotypes through the representation of its characters as individuals, rather than merely characterizing symptoms of mental disorders.
In exploring the novel's investment in individual characters, however, it becomes clear that within the novel, disability and emasculation are intrinsically linked. This creates something of a patriarchal undercurrent to the text: Nurse Ratched's control is a direct result of her continual emasculation and her de-feminized domination of the all-male patients.
In contrast, McMurphy, the infamous anti-hero of the text, is celebrated as a liberator despite having been committed for rape.
These portrayals of the main characters seem ultimately representative of a troubling message in the novel: It looks at fiction, films and web material that represent issues of mental health and disability, with a particular concentration on schizophrenia, Tourette's Syndrome and autism.
Students study both book and film versions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at the start of the semester to introduce a singular storyline, but also to pose questions about narrative form, normalcy and the issues inherent in viewing disability through a visual medium.
Caroline's paper addresses the specific intersection between gender and disability in Ken Kesey's novel, and the idea behind my question on the book was to invite speculation on the fact that a text might have emancipatory politics in certain areas, but that these may well be qualified by other aspects of its representation.
The novel is excellent for beginning to think about the ways in which disability can be portrayed and discussed in relation to other social forms and processes, and Caroline's work is an exemplary account of such an investigation.
The first-person narrative of a patient, Chief Bromden, makes the asylum setting ordinary, and encourages the reader to invest in the personalities of its inhabitants instead of perceiving the characters as mere stereotypes of disability.
Kesey's inclusion of Bromden's delusions within the narrative itself, which are at first a disruption to the reader used to linear narratives of the real, become merely another narrative norm for the reader as the novel progresses.
Retrospective thought allows the reader to discover that while Bromden's disability makes him different, it is not debilitating for him as a narrator, nor, more importantly, as a man. Such insights into Bromden and the others initiate in the reader a reassessment of potentially unexamined perceptions of mental institutions, their inhabitants, and lead the reader to review the origins of concepts such as disability and normalcy.
Yet the text is not without its problems: The text's depiction of this relation is more problematic: It could be suggested that the link goes some way to undermine the success of the novel's individualistic approach to, and questioning of, disability.
This is seen especially through the novel's reinforcement of the long-standing and stereotypical dialogue between disability and emasculation, a connection so engrained in society that it can be described as a "cultural script," which Rosemarie Garland- Thompson describes in "The Politics of Staring" In crude terms, it could be suggested that while the novel breaks down prejudices regarding mental disabilities, 1 it builds upon prejudices regarding gender.
The most explicit example of a connection between disability and gender in the novel is the idea that the men of the ward are unable to assert their masculinity, and that this is ultimately the reason for their mostly voluntary institutionalization. Introducing the men of the ward to McMurphy, Harding suggests they are all "sly and frightened and elusive" — they are "rabbits," "the weak" Kesey Harding and the other inmates believe they are failures as men, even lacking the stereotyped sexual promiscuity shared by rabbits and macho men like McMurphy Kesey While Harding is metaphorically assigning animals, without specifying their gender, to the people around him — Nurse Ratched is a wolf, and McMurphy "may be" one too Kesey 60 — the attributes belonging to wolves and rabbits are clearly suggestive of stereotypical gender roles.
Harding's view resembles what the sociologist R. Connell calls the social dynamic of "hegemonic masculinity," which "privileges men who are strong, courageous, aggressive, independent, [and] self-reliant" qtd. In claiming the world "belongs to the strong" Kesey 57 and labeling himself a rabbit, Harding vocalizes his feelings of inadequate masculinity.
In further claiming the fact that he and the others are in the institution because they "can't adjust to [their] rabbithood" Kesey 58Harding suggests their emasculation is the reason for their incarceration, and thus implies it is at least part of their disability.
Looking further into the individual characterization of some of the patients confirms this link between disability and gender, particularly the failure to fulfill gender stereotypes, an issue which is arguably given greater prominence in the novel than the mental and emotional disabilities supposedly being treated at the institution.
Harding's young wife is the subject of his group therapy sessions, and his relationship with her becomes the problem that replaces any discussion of his disability; what is discussed is the fact that his wife "thinks any word or gesture that does not smack of brickyard brawn and brutality is […] weak dandyism" Kesey Harding feels emasculated by his wife — her "ample bosom at times gives him a feeling of inferiority" Kesey 39and during her visit, the reader sees that what Harding finds so belittling is her lack of conformity to the stereotypical image of the obedient wife.
She is "as tall as he is," carries her purse like a book, "not by the strap," and "hate[s]" her marital name Kesey Harding feels greatly emasculated by his tall, independent wife, commenting to McMurphy the inadequacy of the term better half due to its implication of "some kind of basically equal division" Keseywhich he clearly feels is absent.
Harding, more so than any of the other men, completely lacks any overt symptoms of disability, and this absence only magnifies Harding's emasculation, making it the manifestation of his disability, if not suggesting that it is his disability itself.
Chief Bromden also struggles with an emasculation that is shown to be a significant part of his disability. It has been suggested that his mixed-race heritage — his oppressive white mother and alcoholic Native American father — produces the Chief's model for emasculation and is "at the root of the Chief's problem identity, accounting, to a large extent, for his schizophrenic narrative" Waxler One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest For as long as time could tell, whenever and wherever there is a corrupt ruling system in place, there will always be an opposing force trying to over throw it.
This ruling system can be a variety of things. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Homework Help Questions. Explain the message of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In the late 's, American society was very conservative and predominantly of one.
Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Dedria Bryfonski, Book Editor GREENHAVEN PRESS A part of Gale, Cengage Learning * GALE There were two Ken Keseys—the public and the private.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey There are many social issues in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. The one that stood . Many social issues and problems are explored in Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Perhaps the most obvious complaint against society is the treatment of the individual. This problem of the individual versus the system is a very controversial topic that has provoked great questioning of the government and the methods used to treat people who are unable to conform to the government's . rator in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was a stroke of genius on Kesey’s part. The ﬁrst-person narration of Chief Bromden with its hallucinatory, nightmarish over-tones gives the novel a powerful emotional force. 8. Kesey Creates an Oedipal Triangle in Cuckoo’s Nest Ruth Sullivan Kesey dramatizes the Oedipal conﬂict in Cuckoo’s Nest.
Kesey explores issues. rator in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest was a stroke of genius on Kesey's part. The first-person narration of Chief Bromden with its hallucinatory, nightmarish over-tones gives the novel a powerful emotional force.
8. Kesey Creates an Oedipal Triangle in Cuckoo's Nest Ruth Sullivan Kesey dramatizes the Oedipal conflict in Cuckoo's Nest. Many social issues and problems are explored in Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Perhaps the most obvious complaint against society is the treatment of the individual. This problem of the individual versus the system is a very controversial topic that has provoked great questioning of the government and the methods used to treat people who are unable to conform to the government's .
rator in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was a stroke of genius on Kesey’s part.
The ﬁrst-person narration of Chief Bromden with its hallucinatory, nightmarish over-tones gives the novel a powerful emotional force. 8. Kesey Creates an Oedipal Triangle in Cuckoo’s Nest Ruth Sullivan Kesey dramatizes the Oedipal conﬂict in Cuckoo’s Nest.