Essay Analysis Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest By Ken Kesey

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In “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Ken Kesey explores the boundaries that exist between sanity and madness. Inside the oppressive environment of a mental hospital ruled by a stiffly emotionless nurse, the arrival of a animated, spontaneous man McMurphy inspires the patients to escape the monotony and oppression they face and establish their own individual identities. Kesey utilizes contrast throughout the text to convey ideas, including the contrast between the characters McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, the contrast between the settings of the outside world and the ward, and contrast between how characters are labelled as Chronics and Acutes. Kesey presents these contrasts utilizing stylistic devices such as imagery and characterisation.

Kesey emphasises how conforming to society removes personal identity. This is accomplished through contrasting the characters of McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, who conform to society to different extents. One of the defining characteristic of McMurphy is his laugh which is described as “free and loud” according to Chief, the laugh “sounds real”, and “it’s in his eyes [...], in the way he talks” (Pg 11). The impact of this aural imagery employed to convey McMurphy 's laugh is that McMurphy becomes characterised as natural, alive and sure of his identity. By contrast, Nurse Ratched is portrayed as artificial and unnatural through the use of characterisation. Nurse Ratched’s gestures are described as “precise” and “automatic” while her face is…

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