One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Conformity Analysis

Good Essays
Is conformity healthy for individuals in a society? In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, a patient in a mental hospital consistantantly talks about his experience with a fog. Chief Bromden, the narrator of the story, is given pills that cause intermittent hallucinations like people greatly changing size and mechanical sounds in the walls. But his most intense and important hallucination is fog. He describes it as coming out of the walls, so thick that he cannot see his hand in front of his face. Conformity being a main theme of the book, fog is the most important symbol used to represent the idea throughout the story. One example of fog in the novel is Chief Bromden floating in the fog at one of the group meetings. He is lifted…show more content…
This could be taken on one level as Chief just hallucinating so bad he can’t get to bed, or, it could have a deeper, more meaningful allusion. Chief, being manipulated and debilitated by the fog, could be taken as him being weakened and beatdown by the harsh conformity enforced by the ward’s head nurse. But Chief states that none of the other patients complain about the fog, and that McMurphey can’t understand why the others don’t want to act out, or even laugh: “That’s why McMurphey can’t understand, [the patients] wanting to be safe. He keeps trying to drag us out of the fog, out in the open where we’d be easy to get at”(Kesey 114). This states how McMurphey is trying to help the others out of the dehumanizing pit of rules and regulations put in place by the Big Nurse, and how the other patients have given into her rule. “Drag us out of the fog” is Kesey quite literally stating how McMurphey is the rule-breaker, the bull in the china shop, the one that is going to free the others from the grip of the Big Nurse’s iron
Get Access