In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the author Ken Kesey uses a variety of symbolism and imagery to portray the struggle of the mental patients in a ward of a psychiatric hospital. The reader can relate to the characters in the novel as the symbolism and imagery contributes to the atmosphere of the novel, and increases the reader’s understanding of the conditions the patients live in. A reoccurring theme in the novel is that of sanity vs. insanity. The fact that the novel was written by an unreliable author states the fact that anything that chief implies is in the state of insanity, such as the notion of the fog. In this novel, fogs symbolize a lack of insight and an escape from reality, a feeling of freedom inside the combine. When the Chief is upset, he is surrounded by the fog, and as the fog grows heavier the more upset he gets. He uses it as a place to hide and protect him. The fact that he is seeing the fog states that he is insane, he starts to slip away from reality because of his medication or out of fear, and he hallucinates fog drifting into the ward. The fog is something he is imagining and believes that it is controlled by the staff and that everyone else is trying to ignore the fog to torment him, it is something the Nurse inflicts on his state of mind. For Bromden the fog is a safe place for him, somewhere he can hide and escape reality. This is the only place where the Chief feels free from the combine, free from all his troubles, he just wants to escape and feel free in a place where escaping into your own world is the only place to feel free. The patients hide in the fog because they are scared to be self reliant. When McMurphy arrives he pulls the patients out of the fog.
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