Aim: How is McMurphy*s loyalty to the ward tested?

Aim: How is McMurphy’s loyalty to
the ward tested?
Do Now: What does the following mean?
“You cannot make a revolution with silk
gloves.” – Joseph Stalin
HW: Finish the book!
“ – and it’s the God’s truth: that little
nine-year old kid out of my youth’s the
one to who’s to blame.”
• Like Chief Bromden’s memory in the previous
passage, how does McMurphy’s memory help
to define who McMurphy is?
“She means, Billy, that Mack’s
nobody’s fool.”
• What is Nurse Ratched trying to imply to the
• Does the tactic work?
• On p. 233, why does McMurphy laugh at the
idea of “winning”?
Rabbits, Wolves and Foxes
• What distinction does Nurse Ratched make by
calling McMurphy a fox?
The Fight
• How was the fight scene in the shower
• Why is significant that everyone was naked?
• How were McMurphy and Bromden able to
fight off everyone?
• Was this a victory?
Aim: How does McMurphy begin to
become a martyr?
Do Now: Why is McMurphy willing to get
Electro Shock Treatment rather than apologize
to Nurse Ratched? Consider the following:
“They may torture my body, break my bones,
even kill me. Then they will have my dead body,
but not my obedience.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Is McMurphy’s cause worth dying for?
“My skull’s too thick for them to hurt
me. And if they can’t hurt me they
can’t hurt you.”
• What does McMurphy become in this
moment, showing bravery just to comfort
Chief Bromden?
• Why might this be ultimate goal?
“Do I get a crown of thorns?”
• What is the allusion here?
• How is McMurphy beginning to see himself?
Electro-Shock Therapy
• If the ward is to be seen as a microcosm of the
oppression done to an individual in society,
then what does the Electro-Shock Therapy
Practice Stream of Consciousness
• Chief Bromden’s electro-shock treatments are
narrated in a stream of consciousness style –
moving from thought to thought, memory to
• What about McMurphy? Provide a stream of
consciousness style paragraph from the point
of view of McMurphy during his treatments.
Aim: How is One Flew Over the
Cuckoo’s Nest an allegorical novel?
Do Now: How does the following quote
relate to the ending of the novel?
“in wildness is the preservation of the
world.” - Thoreau
“McMurphy tipped back like a cowboy
reeling out of saloon and winked.”
• “The character of McMurphy comes from Sunday
matinees, from American Westerns. He’s Shane that
rides into town, shoots the bad guys, and gets killed in
the course of the movie. McMurphy is a particular
American cowboy hero, almost two-dimensional. He
gains dimension from being viewed through the lens of
Chief Bromden’s Indian consciousness.” – Ken Kesey
“Ken Kesey, The Art of Fiction No. 136” Paris Review
“Drunk and running and laughing and
carrying on with women square in the
center of the Combine’s most powerful
• How was their late night party the ultimate act of
defiance against the ward, the Combine?
• Consider the following quote from Kesey:
• “If a man doesn’t have a little madness, he never
breaks the control lock that gets placed on reality.
It’s facing the vast ocean alone, without the
safety of land or boat.”
“First Charles Cheswick and now William
Bibbit! I hope you’re finally satisfied. Playing
with human lives – gambling with human lives
– as if you thought yourself to be a God!”
• What is the irony is this line?
• Why does Billy Bibbit slash his own throat?
• What does Billy Bibbit’s death provoke McMurphy to
do? Does he realize his sacrifice?
• What do you think of Chief Bromden’s suggestion that
all that happened was inevitable, even if McMurphy
would have escaped as planned? Would it include Billy
Bibbit’s death?
McMurphy attacks!
“Some of the guys grinned at the front of
it; in spite of its being smaller and tighter
and more starched than her old uniforms,
it could no longer conceal the fact that she
was a woman.”
• What has McMurphy effectively done to Nurse Ratched and
her power in the ward? What did he expose?
• Is Kesey’s portrayal of women in the novel misogynistic?
Misogyny is the characterized as the hatred of woman both
through the depiction of cruelty to woman and the
objectification of them. Is this Kesey’s ultimate goal or is
there another portrayal being given?
In Cuckoo’s Nest, Big Nurse is often regarded as the embodiment
of evil. Do you think that is an accurate depiction of her?
“Recently, I was over in Newport at the opening of the Oregon Coast Aquarium,
which has been seven years in the making. I was performing The Sea Lion in the
Newport Performing Arts Center. Afterwards a white-haired old woman
approached me and said, Hey, you remember me? I looked her over, and I knew I
remembered her, but had no idea who she was. She said, Lois. It still didn’t click.
She said, Lois Learned, Big Nurse, and I thought, Oh my God. She was a volunteer
at Newport, long since retired from the nursing business. This was the nurse on
the ward I worked on at the Menlo Park hospital. I didn’t know what to think and
she didn’t either, but I was glad she came up to me. I felt there was a lesson in it,
the same one I had tried to teach Hollywood. She’s not the villain. She might be
the minion of the villain, but she’s really just a big old tough ex-army nurse who is
trying to do the best she can according to the rules that she has been given. She
worked for the villain and believed in the villain, but she ain’t the villain.”
– Ken Kesey
“I was only sure of one thing: he wouldn’t have
left something like that sit there in the day room
with his name tacked on it for twenty or thirty
years so the Big Nurse could use it as an
example of what can happen if you buck the
system. I was sure of that.”
• How can we characterized Chief
Bromden’s final act of smothering
McMurphy to death?
• What is McMurphy’s legacy
“one flew east and one flew west…”
What is the significance of the title?
Who flew over the cuckoo’s nest?
How is the novel really an allegory?
Allegory: a story in which the characters and
events are symbols that stand for ideas about
human life or for a political or historical
NPR – Ken Kesey

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