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One Who Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ConnorTripp
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One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The book that my book club discussed was "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." In the first book club meeting, we discussed the characters and our initial impressions of them. The start of the novel doesn’t really get that interesting till later on. The story is narrated through the story of Chief Bromden, who is in the insane asylum because he suffers from hallucinations and paranoia. At first I found the part in the book where Bromden first describes the fog machine hard to understand. There was no clear indication that Bromden is hallucinating but it’s up to the reader to figure it out themselves. Matt helped me understand the scene by explaining that Bromden believes that the people running the ward like Nurse Rached have a fog machine and that they turn it on in order to make the patients lose themselves, but really the fog machine is Bromdens own hallucinations.
"Before noontime they're at the fog machine again but they haven't got it turned up full; it's not so thick but what I can see if I strain real hard. One of these days I'll quit straining and let myself go completely, lose myself in the fog the way some of the other chronics have." (Kesey 37)
The main character of the book McMurphy arrives being a very charismatic individual with the other inmates, and even laughs, which Bromden describes as not seeing for years.
"This sounds real. I realize all of a sudden it's the first real laugh I've heard in years. He stands looking at us, rocking back in his boots, and he laughs and laughs." (Kesey 11)
At the end of the book club we made predictions that McMurphy would lead an uprising against the ward and Bromden would be his right-hand man. Also, there was a brief story of the old inmate Taber who was rebellious and became a vegetable, so we believed that is foreshadowing to what will happen to McMurphy because he seems like the rebellious type as well. The second book club the whole group did research on the novel. I found Hannah’s research the most interesting because it was about the author Ken Kesey and how he did LSD when it was popular in the 60s. He also worked at a PTSD hospital for veterans so it was obvious where he got ideas from the novel. I found it interesting that McMurphy was wearing Moby Dick underwear in the part where he went into the shower so I did some research on that novel and it was interesting because Moby Dick is similar to the novel in the sense that each novel has the narrator within the novel describing the tale of the protagonist like Bromden describing McMurphy’s story. In the third book club we discussed Themes and Motifs in the novel. The one motif that was pretty relevant was the fog because it just kept re-appearing throughout the book and in the end represented Bromden’s defiance because he was able to overcome the barrier of those hallucinations of the fog. Confidence is a prevalent theme in the novel because many examples in the novel and particularly the lack of confidence in the patients. The patients are allowed to leave the hospital whenever they want but are too scared. They also don’t have the confidence to stand up to nurse Rached. McMurphy is upset when he find out about this because they are always complaining about life in the hospital, and then Billy Bibbit tells him why they can't leave. "Did you ever have people laughing at you ? No, because you're big and tough! Well, I'm not big and tough." (Kesey 167)
Another theme is power and the constant struggle to obtain it. Nurse Rached had all the power before McMurphy arrived and now slowly McMurphy gains more and more power as the novel goes on until in the end McMurphy takes away all of Nurse Ratchet’s power by strangling her taking away her ability to speak, her biggest weapon.
Thank you for reading, I hope you like my journal this book is a classic novel and a very good read.
Connor Tripp

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