Weather in literature is often used to symbolize the mood or mental state in which a character experiences. For example, rain is commonly associated with sadness. As it is commonly identified, fog is a cloudy element of weather that affects one’s ability to see clearly, however, it is also used in literature to represent a character’s lack of clarity. Throughout One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, the motif of fog is used to represent the mental instability and confusion Bromden experiences under Nurse Ratched’s ward. As the story progresses and Bromden gains confidence, the fog diminishes and he is able to overcome the Big Nurse. First off, Bromden’s frequent encounters with fog towards the beginning of the novel correspond …show more content…
During one of his more lucid states while awake in the middle of the night, Bromden recounts, “I know how they work it, the fog machine. We had a whole platoon used to operate fog machines overseas. Whenever intelligence figured there might be a bombing attack, or if the generals had something secret they wanted to pull...they fogged the field” (Kesey 130). Then after a detailed explanation of his past life in the battlefield, Bromden is thinking about the fog machine and states, “Then I discovered something: I don’t have to end up at that door if I stay still when the fog comes over me and just keep quiet. The trouble was I’d been finding that door my own self because I got scared of being lost so long and went to hollering so they could track me” (Kesey 132). As readers have seen in the past, the fog is known to hinder Bromden’s ability to remember events from the past. On page 130, it is evident that when Bromden finally gains an understanding of the fog machine’s purpose, he is able to remember a huge part of his early life that he had forgotten about while undergoing treatment by Nurse Ratched. A few pages later, the analogous shift in Bromden’s confidence is seen with the lack of fog, as he finally realizes that he is capable of resisting the …show more content…
Additionally, his ability to have full awareness triggers the newfound sense of confidence in himself that he uses to finally escape from the ward. One night when Bromden is lying awake in the ward, he describes, “I was seeing lots of things different. I figured the fog machine had broke down in the walls when they turned it up too high for that meeting on Friday...For the first time in years I was seeing people with none of that black outline they used to have, and one night I was even able to see out the window” (Kesey 162). Bromden then goes on to describe the scene occuring outside the window, where a dog is running in the grass outside the ward. The dog cannot figure out how to escape the fenced in lawn, and is trying to run away from a flock of geese by running in the direction of a busy highway (Kesey 165). Much later in the book, however, the incident with the dog is brought up again during Bromden’s escape. Bromden describes, “I ran across the grounds in the direction I remembered seeing the dog go, towards the highway” (Kesey 324). During Bromden’s escape on the last few pages of the book, when looking back on his hallucination with the dog he is not only proving that the fog is irrelevant since he compares this night to the night the fog machine was “broken,” but also that he has fully recovered from the effects of
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
I felt like I was flying. Free (Kesey, pg. 324).” Sure he broke the rules and escaped the hospital, but think about it: when you feel oppressed for so long and that you’re good as dead, you need to do something to change that, because you can choose happiness it’s just a matter of you fighting to get it. That is exactly what Bromden did. Another lesson is when Bromden says “Machines with flaws inside that can’t be repaired (Kesey, pg. 16).”
Bromden uses the fog to hide and make himself invisible when he feels threatened or uneasy in any way. Bromden says, “Right and left there are other things happening just as bad—crazy, horrible things too goofy and outlandish to cry about and too much true to laugh about—but the fog is getting thick enough I don’t have to watch” (Kesey 87). The fog is his place of refuge when he feels the need for protection. When someone wakes him from the fog, they say he was just having a bad dream. Bromden feels pulled from the fog against his will forced to face reality again.
Everyone in the hospital believes that he is deaf and dumb. When McMurphy begins to pull him out of the fog, he realizes the source of his charade: “it wasn’t me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all.” As Bromden himself is demystified, so too is the truth behind what has oppressed him and hindered his
(Kesey, 142). In this section of the novel, we discover that Chief Bromden was the last vote of the meeting, and we also learn that he himself chose to raise his hand to participate in the vote, rather than sitting in silence. Through this quote, it proves to the readers that Chief Bromden has built a sense of confidence, and is now able to stand up for himself as well as his other fellow patients, rather than letting the nurse and helpers beat him around like they did before. As said earlier, whenever the fog machine was turned on, it usually signified that he wanted to hide away from the others. However, this time it was not “turned on” because he felt the courage to make his own decisions.
He is a physically large person but due to years of belittlement, Bromden succumbs to the societal pressures of the ward and loses himself. Everyone in the ward including himself believes he is nothing but weak and dumb. One of the biggest forms of oppression the authority in the ward imposed was dehumanization. Nurse Ratched's office resides behind a panel of glass that she uses as a barrier between her and the men of the ward but also to watch them and make sure they are following the rules. The men are subject to the treatment of a zoo animal and are robbed of their rights to privacy, they are all scared Nurse Ratched will catch them doing something wrong.
Candy, who co-chaperones the patients on their fishing trip, embodies an unhindered and natural essence that can break down the oppressive machinery of the ward. Her presence damages what Bromden perceives as the equipment that invisibly controls the patients. When she enters the ward, Bromden imagines a “blue smoke … near the ceiling over her head; [he thinks] the apparatus burned out all over the ward trying to adjust to her come busting in like she did” (196). Candy enters so suddenly and unexpectedly that the machinery cannot calibrate itself and, thus, burns out. This apparatus is unable to register Candy’s free and unguarded movements because it is used to only controlling the confined men.
Not only is the procedure torturous, but also truly harms their health. Chief Bromden often alludes to his fear of the procedure and “being sucked through that door.” He exemplifies the powerlessness the patients have when denying
To dehumanize someone is to strip an individual of their individuality including their human attributes and qualities. For as long as mental illnesses have been known, people have treated those with illnesses much differently. A particular assertion i tend to agree with is that people who have mental disorders are always dehumanized in some way. This dehumanization is shown in One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest alongside other perspectives such as a live and pop culture point of view.
The question of sanity becomes apparent when McMurphy, a confident gambler, who might have faked psychosis in order to get out of the work farm, is assigned to the mental hospital. He quickly stirs up tension in the ward for Nurse Ratched by encouraging the men to have fun and rebel against her rules. Brodmen appears to be sane for the most part, despite his hallucinations of a fog, which seems to be the result of something both the ward and the world has done to him. He is able to think logically and though others believe him to be deaf and dumb, he uses this to his advantage. Chief states, “They don't bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when I'm nearby because they think I'm deaf and dumb.
A famous Chinese proverb states, “One dog barks at something and a hundred bark at the bark”. This use of animal imagery to explain the issues with human behavior can also be seen in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The novel, told through the eyes of schizophrenic chronic Chief Bromden, revolves around R. P. McMurphy helping the patients overcome their fear of Nurse Ratched and her power and control over the ward. Throughout the book, Kesey uses animal imagery to depict the personalities and behaviors of Nurse Ratched, McMurphy, and the patients. Nurse Ratched is a wolf, and she thrives off of her overbearing control over the patients in the ward and enjoys having everything conform to her set of rules.
This silence is literally and figuratively represented through Chief Bromden, a longtime patient of a psychiatric ward during the 1960s in the United States. Bromden, along with all the other patients in the ward, religiously abide by the rules and regulations enforced by the ward administration, particularly Nurse Ratched, a strict and abusive manipulator who does anything in order to maintain her power. This power dynamic quickly evolves
The fog begins to appear when Nurse Ratched gains full control and power over the men. However, they “haven’t really fogged the place full force all day, not since McMurphy came in” (78). Bromden’s hallucinations incorporate a thick fog that begins to fade only with McMurphy’s arrival to the ward. The fog represents an escape from reality for Bromden as well as the “pollution” the mechanical nature of society has developed. Bromden physically cannot see through the fog without the help of McMurphy: the beacon of hope that follows his natural impulses.
The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey, presents the ideas about venerability and strength by using his characters and the way they interact with each other to establish whether they are a submissive or a dominant, tamed or leading, venerable or strong. Kesey uses strong personalities to show the drastic difference between someone who is vulnerable and someone who is strong. Nurse Ratchet is a perfect example of how Kasey presents the idea of strength over the venerability of others (the patients). Keys also exhibited vulnerability throughout characters such as Chief Bromden and his extensive habit of hiding himself in all means possible from Nurse Ratchet. Another idea presented by Kesey is a character’s false thought on what
The movie “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” gives an inside look into the life of a patient living in a mental institution; helping to give a new definition of mental illnesses. From a medical standpoint, determinants of mental illness are considered to be internal; physically and in the mind, while they are seen as external; in the environment or the person’s social situation, from a sociological perspective (Stockton, 2014). Additionally, the movie also explores the idea of power relations that exist between an authorized person (Nurse Ratched) and a patient and further looks into the punishment a deviant actor receives (ie. McMurphy contesting Nurse Ratched). One of the sociological themes that I have observed is conformity.