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One Flew East, one Flew West, one Died Without a Part of His Brain

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One flew East, One flew West, One died without a part of his brain.

In my opinion the main theme of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is conformity. The patients at this mental institution, or at least the one in the Big Nurse's ward, find themselves on a rough situation where not following standards costs them many privileges being taken away. The standards that the Combine sets are what makes the patients so afraid of a change and simply conform hopelessly to what they have since anything out of the ordinary would get them in trouble. Such conformity is what Mc Murphy can not stand and makes him bring life back to the ward by fighting Miss Ratched and creating a new environment for the patients. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest represents a rebellion against the conformity implied in today's society.

Ken Kesey, the author, offers many examples of imagery through the Chief's detailed narrative of the story. Appealing to the sense of sight, Bromden, describing the reactions of some invalid patients, says: "the Chronics woke up to look around with heads blue from lack of blood" (214). A touch imagery is present when the Chief describes McMurphy's hands: "I remember the palm was smooth and hard as bone from hefting the wooden handles..."(23). After killing McMurphy, Bromden's narrative appeals to the sense of sound when he expresses he "heard the wires and connections tearing out of the floor" (310). Guessing that fall is coming and using the sense of smell, Bromden states: "I can smell that sour-molasses smell of silage" (155). Last, but definitely not least, is an example of an imagery appealing to the sense of taste that is present in the Chief's description of the drink they mixed: "The syrup had a taste like a kid's drink but a punch like the cactus apple wine we used to get in The Dalles, cold and soothing on the throat and hot and furious once it got down" (288).

Kesey makes sure the reader gets a mental picture of the situations but he also makes use of many literary terms. The most common literary term used, that is present at least twice in every page of One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, is simile, where a comparison is made between two seemingly unfamiliar things. An example of a simile is present when Bromden describes one of the prostitutes: "Her fingernails are red as drops of blood against the shiny black patent-leather purse" (172). The author makes use of onomatopoeia when the Chief narrates: "He pulls the cigarette from his thin crack of a smile, and the laugh starts up again--eee-eee-eee" (62). Kesey also makes use of a metaphor when Harding says: "Mr. McMurphy... my friend.. I'm not a chicken, I'm a rabbit. The doctor is a rabbit. Cheswick there is a rabbit. Billy Bibbit is a rabbit. All of us in here are rabbits of varying ages and degrees, hippity-hopping through our Walt Disney world." (62), implying that all of the patients are, indeed, rabbits. "Our sweet, smiling, tender angel of mercy"(58)



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