One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Bromden's Perspective: One Flew Over a Symbolic Nest 12th Grade

Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in a mental institution, where the characters’ mental illnesses reveal much to the reader. Kesey enlightens the reader by characterizing the reticent Chief Bromden, who narrates the main events of the story, as a mentally ill man. In particular, the novel succeeds in revealing the symbolism in Bromden's delusions and in writing the harrowing tale in Chief’s stark point of view.

Chief’s original characterization portrays him as very mentally sick, and his delusions help further the plot. Kesey starts the book off by revealing the reader multiple layers of information, saying that Nurse Ratched has “let her arms section out long enough to wrap around” several misbehaving aides (Kesey 5). By doing this, not only is he describing what her character is like and how she is viewed on the ward, but also telling the readers that Chief's narration may be unreliable. Additionally, Chief is obsessed with what he calls "the Combine", which he defines as “a huge organization that aims to adjust the Outside as well as [...] the Inside” (Kesey 22). Chief constantly rants about the combine, but he actually has a point. One night, he swears he sees a “whole wall [slide] up” (Kesey 67)....

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