Birds in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
In the novel, One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey , birds where used as symbols often. Birds have been used throughout to novel as a representation for freedom that patients in the institution didn’t have. The title “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” has a references to birds which foreshadows there relevance throughout the novel. Cuckoos are birds that do not raise their own but place their young in others nest for them to raise. Like the mental patients at the institution they have been placed together isolated from reality. The title also comes from a poem that can explain birds and the characters sequence during the novel.
The novel’s main character is a man named McMurphy. McMurphy is a symbol for a bird himself. He is a free spirited person that was forced into a bird cage. The cage was the mental institution where he battled to be himself.
McMurphy rebelled against rules in his battle to be free from restraints that the head Nurse Ratched tried to place on him. Like a bird McMurphy is the one that flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. He escaped the restraint that the nurse placed on the patients, but he did so with death.
Bird’s treatment when caged can be related to the patients in the novel. When birds are caged up they aren’t able to be free and fly away peacefully. The patients in the ward are all caged in the mental institution. In the novel Chief Bromnen is the narrator and he talks about the institution as being a “pen”. A pen refers to an area that confines chickens. McMurphy talk about chickens in the novel when referring the patients and their treatment. He talked about a pecking party, in which chickens spot blood on each other and start pecking each to death. This was a reference to how the head nurse holds group meetings which lead to a negative result. The patients go at each other like chickens at these meetings causing them all to hurt each other in the process.
The mental institution...
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