As I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I couldn’t help but be engaged with all of the characters. The amount of descriptions and attention to detail is amazing, and definitely didn’t remind me of a Autistic child narrator. I’m glad that the narrator came from an essentially mute character so the reader could get an outside look to all of the loud and “crazy” characters. Therefore, I looked up a character analysis of Chief so I could have good understanding of who he was while I read. I was pleasantly happy to find that I picked up on some symbolism he describes as I read.
It’s hard to understand at first what is truthfully wrong with Chief, but the constant fog that is around him is great for representing his foggy outlook on life and thoughts about himself. I can only imagine what Chief went through as a child with a father who was submissive to his wife and being ignored by everyone for being Native American. I’m not surprised that he ended up in a mental hospital, but I am surprised at the treatment he receives.
I think that reading this book adds to my negative stereotypes that I have towards mentally disabled, and the institutions they are in. Even though this book serves as an entertaining story, it supports the negative ideas of ill treatment and mean doctors/nurses. Along with these stereotypes, I noticed that this book stereotypes that actual patients. McMurphy is violent and he is also funny, just like some of the other patients. This is something that we saw in Rain Man too. Raymond was good for a laugh every now and then. But is this a good stereotype to have about mentally challenged people? I don’t really think so because now I expect them all to be.
I surprised myself by not picking up on the female roles in the book. Nurse Ratched just seems like a terrible woman. I found a pretty cool article online about feminism in this book and it made me think about this issue. “The female characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest can be divided into two extreme categories: “ball-cutters” and whores. The former is represented by Nurse Ratched, Harding’s wife, Billy Bibbit’s mother, and Chief Bromden’s mother. Each of these women are intent on dominating men by emasculating them, whereas the whores Candy and Sandy are dedicated to pleasuring men and doing what they’re told.” I’m sure as we continue to read, or watch the movie we will get an even greater understanding of this thought, but now that I found it I’m going to try and focus more on feminism and not just on the men of the story.
Basically, this book touches on so many different topics that it’s hard for me to just focus on one of them. I’m eager to see how Chief and McMurphy grow in the next part of the book. Maybe they will change the negative stereotypes that are going on so far.