Friday, July 19, 2019

Essay --

The fundamental theme in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest involves society's destruction of individuality. People who refuse to conform to the social standards face ridicule and judgment. Kesey develops this theme through his use of mechanical imagery, metaphors, and symbolism. The novel takes place in a mental hospital, the narrator, Chief is a patient in the ward who suffers from vivid hallucinates. When McMurphy, a spirited character arrives at the ward he begins to question the humility of the hospital, his criticisms of the hospital spark a rebellion amongst the other patients. McMurphy teaches the others to think and speak as individuals and to be themselves despite others judgements. As Nurse Ratched sees the usually powerless patients find power in numbers she decides their leader, McMurphy must be eliminated if she wants to maintain control. She eventually has McMurphy lobotomized leaving him in a vegetable state. In the end Chief runs away fro m the hospital deciding to no longer live his life under the oppressive rule of doctors and nurses. After being inspired by McMurphy’s free thinking ways Chief decides that living a life dictated by society is not a quality life. Throughout the novel Chief continually describes the people and things around him being machines, these machines however are not real. Chief gives a disclaimer very early on â€Å"But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen†(Kesey 8) acknowledging that the machines he describes could be results of his hallucinations. However these hallucinations are extremely relevant and should not be discounted. â€Å"Hallucinations provide metaphorical insight into the hidden realities of the hospital and should not be overlooked simply because they did n... do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too. It's a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don't disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say† (Cormier). Jerry is stating that it is better to fit in and conform than to rebel. Don’t disturb the flow of society. Interrupt its progress and get destroyed by its mechanical properties. Jerry and McMurphy were both different, they never fit in with others around them. In the end Jerry and McMurphy paid ultimate the price. If you disturb the way society works you must face the consequences. The combine wants everyone to fit in and play a specific part. Power figures like Nurse Ratched are there to enforce the rules. Society could stop this destruction but taking a stand against the machine is difficult when done alone. In conclusion the destructive tendencies of society is a tragic part of everyday life.

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