One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

1380 Words6 Pages
Explore the strengths and weaknesses of Kesey’s use of Chief Bromden as the narrator in the novel. Consider to what extent the Chief’s madness interferes with your understanding of what is actually happening and to what extent his visions symbolically reinforce the themes of the novel. Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a famous and interesting novel about a mental-illness hospital where a newcomer, gambler R.P McMurphy, creates all sorts of trouble at the ward. Furthermore, Kesey uses one of the patients at the ward as the narrator of the story. This character goes by the name of Chief Bromden; a six foot seven American-Indian who everyone else in the ward believes is deaf and dumb. Kesey’s use of the Chief as the narrator in the novel has both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is mostly due to the Chief having hallucinations and every so often. Despite the fact that Bromden’s madness and hallucinations interfere with our interpretation of what is actually happening, it also symbolically reinforces the themes in the novel. Women as castrators, society’s destruction of natural impulses, and false diagnoses of insanity are some of the themes which are reinforced by the Chief’s madness and hallucinations in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The main weaknesses of using Chief Bromden as the narrator of the novel are due to the fact that the Chief continuously describes his hallucinations as if they were present and constantly has flashbacks of his past which can be confusing. Additionally, his opinions on the events and characters that take place at the ward can be a biased opinion of the Chief. This particularly interferes with our knowledge and understanding about what is actually happening at the ward. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one very confusing thing that interferes with our understanding of reality and fantasy is Chief
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