One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Seminar Topics
1. I think that Chief Bromden is really insane. He may not have been insane previous to his admission to the psychiatric hospital but due to the neglect from society and belittling of the hospital, Chief has been turned into a paranoid, insecure and reserved man.
2. I do not believe that McMurphy is in need of psychiatric treatment. During this part of the novel, it is clear that he has behavioural issues but he seems to simply be an intelligent, conning, gambling man.
3. Because of the frequent hallucinations that Chief undergoes, it is difficult to tell whether what he is saying is the truth or not. In my opinion, I believe we can take his word for some things but not all.
4. I suppose that Harding’s problem is strictly with women. He states that “everyone in the ward is a rabbit in a world ruled by wolves. They are in the hospital because they are unable to accept their roles as rabbits. Nurse Ratched is one of the wolves, and she is there to train them to accept their rabbit roles.”
5. Her large breasts emit both sexuality and emphasize her role as a twisted mother figure for the ward. She is able to act as the “angel of mercy” while at the same time shaming her patients into submission.
6. The female characters can be divided into “ball-cutters” and whores which have been represented by Nurse Ratched, Harding’s wife, Billy’s mother and Chief Bromden’s mother.
7. So many school boards have banned this book because there was complaints that the book was pornographic, glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juveniles and contains descriptions of bestiality, bizarre violence and torture, dismemberment, death and human elimination, and that the book promotes secular humanism.
8. I believe the central character can be debated upon whether it is Chief Bromden or McMurphy. Chief is the narrator and describes a lot of events that happen to him but also about how McMurphy is changing everything and all the events that surround him.
9. After researching some of the events that occurred in the 1950s, I believe that the treatment was outrageous. They used lobotomies and electro-shock therapy as we learned in the novel but they also forced patients into ice baths and forced them to sleep in wooden cribs stacked three patients high. Today, it is supposed that they take care of the patients a lot better with certain medications and proper hygienic care.
10. I believe that the attendants are portrayed in a racist fashion because of the era that this book was written and that the blacks were seen as less important.
11. I believe that Chief pretends to be deaf and dumb because it makes him able to be distinct from the world while interacting with it on the terms he finds acceptable. It could also be a defence mechanism, seeing as he is so tall and large.
12. Nurse Ratched controls the patients by manipulating and emasculating them. She uses her strategic use of shame and guilt as well as determination to divide and conquer her patients.