One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Symbolism Analysis

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey in 1962. This story is about a psychiatric hospital in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, where a new patient named McMurphy, attempts to take power away from the head nurse, who controls the ward in an authoritarian manner. In this presentation, I will be discussing important symbols in the novel, and how they affect the wider world. Before we begin, I’m going to start with an introduction of the main characters. Chief Bromden, McMurphy, and Nurse Ratched. Chief Bromden is a half-Native American man who is the narrator of the novel. He is a patient in the ward and pretends to be deaf and mute in order to avoid communication. McMurphy is an extroverted man who loves to gamble. He helps the patients become more confident by showing how powerless the staff members in the ward can be. Nurse Ratched (often times called the Big Nurse) is the head …show more content…
The table is said to be cross-shaped, and when the doctors are preparing McMurphy to be treated, he states: “Anointest my head with conductant. Do I get a crown of thorns?” (Kesey 244). It is clear to see that the electroshock therapy table symbolizes crosses used for crucifixions. A crucifixion was a form of punishment in Ancient Rome where people were nailed to a cross, and left to hang for several days, until they die. The most famous story of a crucifixion was of Jesus Christ, who is the main religious symbol in most Christian churches. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, McMurphy is often compared to Jesus Christ, especially when he is sent to electroshock therapy, which can be compared to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is why McMurphy mentions a crown of thorns, since Jesus Christ wore one during his crucifixion. This is an interesting comparison because Jesus is seen as a saviour the average Christian, while McMurphy is seen as an insane man according to

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