Friday, 10 August 2012

The last two sentences of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”  have an enormous amount of significance.
Mostly, I’d just like to look over, the country around the gorge again, just to bring some of it clear in my mind again. I been away a long time.”
The sentences can pre interpreted in many ways. Personally, I believe Chief has found his meaning and purpose in life again, and is ready to experience the world in a new perspective. He has, in a sense, “cured” himself. Chief will travel the country, perhaps visit places from his past, and reminisce about old memories. This is significant because we, the readers of the book, have seen/read of Chief’s character transformation. In the beginning of the book, Chief is portayed as a a meek and docile creature who hides behind his metaphoric “fog” and deaf and dumbness shield. Throughout the book though, the reader connects with Chief’s transformation from a shy and timid individual, to a man who takes action by eventually killing McMurphy. Chief’s transformation of character is entertaining to read, and it surprised me to be quite honest. I feel that Chief came out of his turtle shell that he had been hiding in for so long before McMurphy came along to the ward. Chief’s signs of overcoming his timidity include, fighting the aides in defending George, when he moves the control panel half a foot, and when he tells McMurphy he feels he’s been decieved. The movement of the control panel can be interpreted to mean two two different things: 1) That his phyiscal strength has increased because at the beginning of the book he is unable/phyiscally not strong enough to move the panel, and 2) Chief’s increased level of confidence in himself, both phyiscally, emotionally, and mentally enabled him to move it.
In the end of the novel, when Chief kills McMurphy in order to not let Big Nurse “win” the power battle, it shows that Chief is a man who is capable to take action when needed. Chief transforms from such a nervous character to a murderer; although he kills McMurphy, the reason for doing so is quite meaningful. Chief did not kill McMurphy for pleasure, out of guilt, or because of an argument; Chief kills McMurphy so Big Nurse does not “win”, and I personally think that McMurphy understands this. If Chief had let McMurphy continue to live, the power would be back into Big Nurse’s hand because she was ultimately able to render McMurphy docile. By killing McMurphy, Chief takes away Big Nurse’s power over the ward, he is like the McMurphy 2.0 in a way, by challenging Big Nurse’s authority and by “swimming” against conformity. If Chief did not kill McMurphy, then Big Nurse would still have authority; she would return to running the ward like she did before McMurphy entered, with a strict, severe iron fist.
At first, I had mixed feelings about this book. It was only until mid-way through the book where I actually started to enjoy it. I would definitely read this book again, and see if I could pull some concepts, themes, and motifs I had missed the first time reading. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” turned out to be a very interesting read.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

In part 3 of, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, McMurphy shows his solid leadership among the others from the ward. He proves his dominance and that he is fearless in the face of adversity. McMurphy does this by organizing the fishing trip and convincing Doctor Spivey to come along to drive when Nurse Ratched points out that there isn’t enough room for the other patients. Also, Nurse Ratched notices that McMurphy conned the other patients into giving him money for the transportation for the fishing trip. When she informs the other patients of the ward of this, the patients do not seem to care, and side with McMurphy. This shows that he is their leader and the patients are his flock of followers. Another example of how McMurphy asserts his authority is when the group stops for gas; he and the nervous Doctor Spivey have a chat with the two gas attendants. At first, the gas attendant seems friendly, but soon learns that the group is from the “asylum” by the uniforms the patients are wearing. While the gas attendant is on the verge of allowing service to the group, McMurphy enlightens him by saying how everybody in the van,”...ain’t ordinary nuts; we’re every bloody one of us hot off the criminal-insane ward...” (Kesey 201). I believe McMurphy intimidated the gas attendant to a point where the gas attendant had no choice but to do whatever McMurphy says.  This display of bravery mixed with audacity is brushed onto the patients. Chief Bromden says, “He’d shown us what a little bravado and courage could accomplish, and we’d thought he taught us how to use it. All the way to the coast, we had fun pretending to be brave.” This quote is a perfect example of how McMurphy’s presence and personality is absorbed by the other patients – the patients follow his lead. I believe this is a strong scene indicating McMurphy’s power. McMurphy is the patient’s fearless leader; he is the shepherd to his flock of sheep (the patients).
I googled the top 10 characteristics of a leader (with McMurphy in mind) and this is what I found:
I believe that McMurphy displays all these characteristics throughout the book, and according to that list, is an excellent leader. He carries through with his word (the bet of getting under Big Nurse’s skin), and has an extremely high self-esteem/self-worth. This is first displayed when he is introduced in the beginning of the book. McMurphy has that “swagger” kind of walk and he laughs, something that has not been done by any of the patients in the ward. McMurphy’s physical character description describes him of having heavily scarred skin, many tattoos, and also a fresh scar or cut on the bridge of his nose. Along with his mannerisms, (hanging his thumbs in the belt loop of his pants), McMurphy shows an arrogant amount of confidence. I personally, really enjoy reading of this character.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

After reading Part 2 of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, I definitely have mixed feelings of the book. I enjoy reading how the character McMurphy challenges the authority of Big Nurse, and how Big Nurse tries to regain her control of her ward, however, my opinion of Kesey’s style of writing still stands as difficult to follow. I enjoy reading about the theme of struggle and going against conformity; I have this image of a fish swimming upstream, or an ant that chooses to fall out of line. These are only two examples of non-conforming in nature.
            It’s entertaining to read how the other patients in the ward look up to McMurphy as the their “leader”. For example, on page 68, when McMurphy first introduces the bet of getting under Big Nurse’s skin, “Cheswick is hopping from foot to foot and rubbing his hands together like McMurphy rubs his”. This is just one example of how influential McMurphy is towards the other patients. McMurphy is like the quaterback of a football team, the pointguard of a basketball team, or the skip of a curling team. At first, McMurphy doesn’t realize his leadership over the other patients,  but then after Cheswick’s death/suicide, I believe McMurphy feels a little but of guilt and responsible.
            When McMurphy punches the glass that Big Nurse hides behind, I think that it shows him regaining the upper hand of authority within the ward. Punching the glass shows his msculinity and strength, both physical and mental strength. Reading the power struggle between McMurphy and Big Nurse is similar to watching a tennis match: After McMurphy punches the glass, I got the feeling that in his head he’s thinking “the ball is in her (Big Nurse) court now”.
            McMurphy is genuinely scared of the electroshock therapy treatment...of course he would be, it sounds extremely excruciating. The EST that Big Nurse issues to the patients that behave unaccordingly is a cruel way to establish her control in the ward; although cruel, it is effective as well. I could even argue that Big Nurse is the one who is “mentally ill” for not hesitating to perform such a malicious act towards the patients, it is almost as if she takes pleasure in putting the patients of the ward through so much pain. I believe that everybody in the ward, (the patients, the staff/aides, and Big Nurse) are all there because they are all in some form or anothe, “mentally ill”. The black boys act like Big Nurse’s evil minions...carrying out her devilish demands of administering sedatives, performing the EST, and acting upon the snap of her fingers. Perhaps the black boys lack self-confidence and direction in their lives, that’s why they look towards Big Nurse for guidance.
Who really is crazy, and who isn’t? Maybe everyone is crazy...or maybe they're all normal. Who really knows anything these days

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Blog of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
Matthew Palma
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is an interesting read. Although I don’t like the style of writing by Kesey, the ideas, concepts, and the viewpoint of a mentally ill person piques my interest. I enjoy the themes of good vs evil, fate, destiny, and choices. These are all noticeable in the book.!-K-Ko/
According to this quote, a person’s thoughts ultimately become their destiny. I find this interesting because it makes me think if “crazy” people are really meant to be crazy?
I wanted to know what causes mental illnesses because sometimes people are born with one, and sometimes people develop one as they grow.
Non-biologically, I believe what makes a person, a person, is their thoughts, actions, and decisions they make in life...But what about people who have mental illnesses? Is it safe to say that people who have mental illnesses choose to have a mental illness? Or are they all born with an illness that later catches up to the person and engulfs them to a point where they need to be institutionalized? These are some questions that I asked myself while reading “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.
I find the character, McMurphy, exciting to read about. Here come in this new patient, (McMurphy), who disrupts the order and authority that Nurse Ratched has among all the other patients. He has a walk that is felt full of swagger, and a laugh that makes the other patients in the ward “...stunned dumb...” (Kesey 16). I feel that the character McMurphy has a hidden agenda planned, and that he will overthrow the control and power that Nurse Ratched has among the other patients.
The storyline of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” can be comparable to the movie, “Last Castle”. In the movie “Last Castle”, a decorated military general, General Irwin, is sent to a maximum security prison for disobedience to a mission. While in the prison, the warden, Colonel Winter, rules over the inmates with an iron fist and treats the inmates unjustly. The whole movie’s plot is about how General Irwin bands together the suppressed inmates in an attempt to thwart the control that the warden has over the inmates. This can be related to Cuckoo’s Nest in many ways, such as overcoming a higher authority.
I highly recommend watching the movie, "Last Castle", as it ties in very well with some of the themes of Cuckoo's Nest