Symbolism In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Submitted By Maritzag19
Words: 817
Pages: 4

Maritza Gonzalez Everyone at some point of their lives has felt rejected or out of place. Everyone admires those who stick up for themselves, but find it really hard to take matters into their own hands due to lack of self confidence and fear. In "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest", Ken Kessey demonstrates a theme of suppression and uses symbolism to portray "change" and the way it impacts various characters in the novel. Chief Bromden, McMurphy, and Nurse Ratched, are three very important key elements in the story that represent different ways of using power to create a change. Ken Kessey's decision to make Chief Bromden narrator allows us to better understand the
Mental Constitution from his point of view. He pretends to be deaf and speechless, while sitting back, observing the ward, and taking note of everything that goes on. Chief is able to depict other characters in a very much detailed way. Although he may seem and come off as powerless, he has a lot of power due to all the knowledge he has gained by his observations and listening in on conversations. As he is accessed to all the secrets and understands the way the system is handled more than anyone else. Chief works as the eyes and ears of the asylum in the novel. "So she really lets herself go and her painted smile twists, stretches to an open snarl, and she blows up bigger and bigger, big as a tractor, so big I can smell the machinery inside the way you smell a motor pulling too big a load” (p. 5). In this quote, he is describing his vision of the big nurse (Nurse Ratched) as an agent of the Combine. The
Combine is a theory that Chief has on how the world works. It's all a big machine, and everyone is part of it. As he mentions in the book, the broken pieces are sent to the hospital to be "fixed" and to be re­wired back to the machine again. Something he clearly wants no part of . Pretending to be deaf and unable to speak is part of him resisting."One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest . . . goose swoops down and plucks you out” (p. 272).
This is a children's song chanted by Chief's grandmother and it is referring to McMurphy as the goose who swooped down and plucked the chicks out of the nest (the patients out of the psychiatric ward).This includes himself as well. It was McMurphy who made him feel bigger than a mountain and gave him courage to escape and finally receive the freedom he had been longing for since a kid. Nurse Ratched symbolizes power and control. As described by Chief, she is the ultimate face of 'The Combine' and the patients direct link to the 'mechanical system'. As head nurse, she is a women with strong intentions and demands complete control and order. Nurse
Ratched's way of getting things done is by manipulating the patients and staff to fulfill her desires. In certain situations, she uses the force of her hatred to attack patients and successfully getting them to obey and completely fall