In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey –the author- compares the characters with animals due to their behavior. At the beginning of the book, after a group therapy session McMurphy uses the metaphor “peckin’ party” when comparing the actions that happened in the meeting. In the session the nurses and doctors were ganging up on Bromden, he used the metaphor “peckin’ party” because when a chicken gets the sight of blood on another chicken it starts to attack. Eventually, another chicken with spot the blood and join in until the chicken is dead; if one of the other chickens starts to bleed then the chickens will start pecking him. This could last for hours or until the whole flock is dead. The only way to stop this from happening is to put chicken specs, small glasses for chickens, in front of their eyes. The glasses are usually a crimson color so if blood was to appear the other chickens would not be able to see it and start attacking the wounded chicken. With the comparison of the situation with the “peckin’ party”, it is fairly accurate. From the situation, one black aid started to pick on Pete, after a few minutes another one starts in on him, and then eventually the nurse steps in to calm Pete down and take him to bed. Within this, the one black aid saw a vulnerable patient and decided to mess with him, the second black aid decided he would help his coworker, finally the nurse steps in to be the finally chicken and put him to death, metaphorically giving him a shot to calm him down and take him to bed. The purpose of this metaphor is to show that within the ward, between the patients and the workers, it is survival of the fittest. Throughout the novel, the “peckin’ party” metaphor does not seem to be applied much. The reason behind this is that since McMurphy was signed into the ward, the patients are starting to work together rather than against each other.
Later on in the book, more animal imagery is used. This time it is the rabbit versus the wolf, where the patients, the doctors, and the other nurses are the rabbits and Nurse Ratched is the wolf. The meaning behind this is that when rabbits are frightened they silently go dig a hole where the wolf cannot find them, after the wolf passes they go back to doing what it is that they were doing. The rabbits know their place and try to avoid any confrontation with the wolf as much as possible. With this imagery, it is accurate to the patients and Nurse Ratched. This is because the patients are scared of her and try to avoid any confrontation and hide as much as possible. They also try to not draw any attention on themselves for her to single them out in the room. The purpose of this comparison is to show the reader that throughout the novel Nurse Ratched is