One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. How does Kesey make the reader question the accepted definitions of “sane,” “insane,” “sick,” and “healthy”?
2. Why is the fishing trip therapeutic for the patients?
3. How does McMurphy become a Christ figure?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How is Nurse Ratched’s ward like a totalitarian society?
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been criticized for its treatment of race and gender. Why do you think this is the case?
3. McMurphy, Colonel Matterson, and Bromden are war veterans. Nurse Ratched is a former army nurse who tries to run her ward as if it were an army hospital. How might the advent of modern warfare serve as a metaphor for the sickness that Kesey perceives in modern society?
4. Why is Bromden the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest instead of McMurphy? Who is the real protagonist of the novel? How does the use of Bromden as the narrator tie into the biblical allusions in the novel?
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