Point of View in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

Point of View in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

Length: 2247 words (6.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Point of View in Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest     

 
   The choice that a novelist makes in deciding the point of view for a novel is hardly a minor one. Few authors make the decision to use first person narration by secondary character as Ken Kesey does in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  By choosing Bromden as narrator instead of the central character of Randle Patrick McMurphy, Kesey gives us narration that is objective, that is to say from the outside of the central character, and also narration that is subjective and understandably unreliable. The paranoia and dementia that fill Bromden's narration set a tone for the struggle for liberation that is the theme of the story. It is also this choice of narrator that leads the reader to wonder at the conclusion whether the story was actually that of McMurphy or Bromden. Kesey's choice of narrative technique makes One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a successful novel.

It would be hard to ignore biographical information when analyzing a work by Ken Kesey, because of both his involvement with the Beat writers and as an advocate for hallucinogenic drugs. In fact, it is said that Kesey created the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest during a peyote hallucination, when an Indian came to him (Tanner 21). While his choice of the Indian, a supposed deaf mute, as narrator seems out of the norm it is even more so when comparing Kesey to the other Beat writers. McMurphy can be compared closely to Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, but Bromden is nothing like Kerouac's narrator, Sal Paradise. Certainly the loud and boisterous McMurphy would have made for an interesting narrator for this novel but this would have provided for a very different ending. Even the...


... middle of paper ...


...oo's Nest. Ed. George J. Searles. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1992. 5-11.

Hunt, John W. "Flying the Cuckoo's Nest: Kesey's Narrator as Norm." Lex et Scientia 13 (1977): 27-32. Rpt. in A Casebook on Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Ed. George J. Searles. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1992. 13-23.

Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. New York: Signet, 1962.

Martin, Terence. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the High Cost of Living." Modern Fiction Studies. 19 (1973): 43-55. Rpt. in A Casebook on Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Ed. George J. Searles. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1992. 25-39.

Semino, Elena and Kate Swindlehurst. "Metaphor and mind style in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Style 30 (1996): 143-67.

Tanner, Stephen L. Ken Kesey. Boston: Twayne, 1983.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest The theme of this story “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” according to Daniel Woods is “Power is the predominant theme of Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest': who holds power, who doesn't, who wants it, who loses it, how it is used to intimidate and manipulate and for what purposes, and, most especially, how it is disrupted and subverted, challenged, denied and assumed” (http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/cuckoosnest/essays/essay1.html)....   [tags: Ken Kesey Flew Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Powerful Essays
1184 words (3.4 pages)

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a multidimensional novel with many important messages in which Kesey strives to relay to the readers. Kesey did not write this novel for the sole purpose of entertainment, even though it was very entertaining, but did write it with the intent to show the readers many realities of life. First of all Kesey shows in this book that how people are perceived in society may not really be how that person is and that things are sometimes different than what they seem....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Powerful Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest Essay

- The society that we live in today has shaped individuals perspectives on what is right or wrong. Take for instance; I acquire a metal pot and a wooden spoon and advance to the streets of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. I am right next to the stop sign of the HPER building. I sit down and sat drumming up any sort of rhyme. The chance that I will looked at crazy or even called crazy will be over 90%. What defines humans as crazy. Who is the person that made this rules. These are the kind of questions the play “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST” is trying to ask....   [tags: Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Powerful Essays
771 words (2.2 pages)

A Marxist Reading of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Essay

- Fred Wright, Lauren's instructor for EN 132 (Life, Language, Literature), comments, "English 132 is an introduction to English studies, in which students learn about various areas in the discipline from linguistics to the study of popular culture. For the literature and literary criticism section of the course, students read a canonical work of literature and what scholars have said about the work over the years. This year, students read One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, a classic of American literature which dates from the 1960s counterculture....   [tags: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest]

Powerful Essays
2040 words (5.8 pages)

Leadership in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Leadership in the Real World

- Leadership in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Leadership in the Real World The theme of leadership in the ward does not mirror the outside world very accurately, as in contemporary society a leader of a society or an organisation is almost always accountable to a person senior to him. This is not seen in the novel, as Big Nurse seems to be answerable to no one, in fact, it is arguable that everyone answers to her. A hierarchy or class system operates inside the ward which can be clearly seen throughout the course of the novel....   [tags: Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Powerful Essays
1609 words (4.6 pages)

Corruption in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Corruption in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest As Lord Acton put it in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." This is the truth that is evident both in Ken Kesey book One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. His main characters Nurse Ratched and Randal McMurphy are in a subtle underground war against each other's accumulating power, and corruptness. This idea of great men being bad men is evident in Kesey's book, my experiences, and society in general....   [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]

Free Essays
586 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Insanity: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Keyse

- Insanity is a blurred line in the eyes of Ken Kesey. He reveals a hidden microcosm of mental illness, debauchery, and tyranny in his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The remarkable account of a con man’s ill-fated journey inside a psychiatric hospital exposes the horrors of troubling malpractices and mistreatments. Through a sane man’s time within a crazy man’s definition of a madhouse, there is exploration and insight for the consequences of submission and aberration from societal norm....   [tags: Insanity and Identity, chief bromden]

Powerful Essays
1738 words (5 pages)

One Flew ove thte Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- The novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, is a story based in a psychiatric ward, published in 1962 and based in the 50's. The book is heavily influenced by Kesey’s experiments with LSD and his job of the time as an orderly in a psychiatric ward .New for the 60’s,the book is considered a counterculture novel, rather than attack communism, it attacked the structure of American institutions. The story is told from the point of view of one of the ward's patients,Chief Bromden, who suffers from paranoia and hallucinations,this doesnt hinder the story in any way however,it gives metaphorical insight in a very literal way....   [tags: uncovering the truth about psychiatric facilities]

Powerful Essays
815 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey We, being members of society do not have the authority to judge whether people are sane or insane. Some may say that others are insane but we are all a little bit crazy. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a novel written by Ken Kesey deals with these topics and is a well-written piece of literature that will be enjoyed by generations to come. It will become a timeless classic simply because of the great combination of the setting and the characters and how they both support the themes found throughout the story....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
748 words (2.1 pages)

Importance of Humor and Laughter in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Importance of Humor and Laughter in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest "There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. Since the first two pass our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third." In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, humor is present in a very powerful form. Normally, insane people don’t have the capacity to laugh or find the humor in something as we "normal" people do. They live tragic existences, wandering day by day in the bland, depressing world of an asylum....   [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]

Free Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)