Cuckoo's Nest Literary Techniques

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The controversial novel ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ written by Ken Kesey (1962) explores many concepts thematically, these being referenced to frequently through the usage of various literary techniques. These explored themes all being widely discussed topics within the communist-ridden, and paranoia instilled period in which the novel was created. The antagonist, Nurse Ratched is metaphorically conveyed through her name via a pun as a device used to force cogs into place whilst also foreshadowing future events, this metaphor shaping the readers understanding of central ideas greatly. Nurse Ratched is also expressed as being the emblem for the Combine by Chief Bromden, this being reinforced with the motif of machinery and mechanical…show more content…
The most obvious way through which Kesey reflects on the themes of the text is through Nurse Ratched’s last name and the two forms of negative connotations attached. The first of these being highlighted through R.P McMurphy referring to her as Rat-shed. "Good morning, Miss Rat-shed! How's things on the outside?" This subsequently implies to the reader that the Big Nurse has rat like tendencies; these being that she works quickly, without drawing any attention to the problems which she creates. Furthermore, associations with death are also present due to rats being the carriers of the Black Plague. This association foreshadows imminent deaths, all in which are related to Nurse Ratched. The word ratched is also a pun for the word ratchet, with ratchet being used within a modern context to describe an undesirable and generally unpleasant woman. Whilst, when the novel ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ was written, this pun was intended to have a much more metaphorical meaning through an alternate definition to the word ratchet. A ratchet is a device which is used to tighten cogs into place and can only move in one direction. Nurse Ratched, through this metaphor is then characterised as being a device used to force cogs into place, to ‘force the eternal soul to fit
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