March 6, 2013
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
In the article I read the author explores the relationship between Ken Kesey’s novel and the visual and thematic elements of American Cartoons. The article states how many critics have commented on Kesey’s novel but have not even noticed the visual and thematic elements of American animated cartoons to which the book borrows. In this article the author gives many good examples to back of his theory of how Kesey using cartoon imagery of his “Walt Disney” cartoon world. The author says basically if you look for some evidence in the book of this carton world, you will find it.
One example he uses is Scanlon. Scanlon in the novel is described at always blowing things up and making bombs. This is an example of a cartoon, like bugs bunny giving a bomb to daffy duck. In the cartons however no one gets hurt, just like how when Scanlon sees the bombs it’s only in his mind.
A second example is when Pete is having his battle with the attendants. Pete is the complainer. He always says how he is constantly tired. During a meeting he does this and his arm is grabbed by the attendant. “ The hand on that arm….commenced to swell up…They don’t see the hand…pumping bigger and becoming smooth—hard. A big rusty iron ball at the end of a chain”(50). This reference of cartoons is from Popeye.
A third example is the use of repeated phrases like, “What’s up, Doc?” and “I tawt I taw a puddytat.” In the novel the repeated cartoon sayings are mirrored by Pete keep saying he’s tired, a man on the disturbed ward who repeats about washing his hands of the whole deal, and Ruckely’s repetition of “ fffuck the wife”. The last one is Chief who describes Pete as “ an old clock that won’t tell time but won’t stop neither…just keeps ticking and cuckooing without meaning nothing”(53). The author of this article then explains how in cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and Tweety bird the phrases they say have the same...