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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1 by Ken Kesey

Agenda:
Be ready to talk about 'favorite quote/passage'
Be ready to talk about 'which character you most identify with?'

Discussion Time:
Thursday January 8th 5W 12:55-2:25

Group Member- Food/Drinks:

Samantha F- Munchkins
Olivia R- Fruit Salad
Nick P- Apple Juice
Spencer S-Chocolate
Kyle G (Facilitator)- Salsa and Chips
Ivy K- Different chips and brownies
Julie D- Chocolate Chip Cookies

Volunteers:
Julie Jackson
Anne Tommaso

Link To The Movie Trailer
Article by a nurse reviewing the movie and book

Clarifying Questions
What is the Combine?
Does the clock really change or does Bromden just think it does because of his condition?
What was the point of Cheswick's death? Was it suicide? Does it have a deeper meaning?
Are some of Bromden's observations in the beginning about seeing people nailed to a board on a cross true or just hallucinations?
Are the Acutes and Chronics treated the same?
Is Nurse Ratched just as crazy as everyone else? Should she be in charge of everyone, when she her self seems crazy?
Why are all the women in this book either "ball-cutters" or "whores"?
Did McMurphy really want to leave the ward?
Why did Billy slit his throat?
What reasons did Bromden have behind suffocating McMurphy?
Did the nurse really lose her patience with McMurphy, or was she treating him differently because she knew it would help him improve?
What was the significance of the gum collected on Bromden's bed?
How is the title of the book connected to the story? Why is it significant?
Is Bromden "cured" of his hallucinations?
How is this book a dystopia?
Is McMurphy clinically insane?
What happened to McMurphy at the end of the book that made him that way?

Characters
Nurse Ratched: her control, was she a villain or was she just doing her job? Is she just as crazy as everyone else? nurse, runner of the hospital ward.
Dr Spivey: sympathetic to the patients
McMurphy: protagonist?-his ability to rise up against authorityIs McMurphy a good person before he gets in the fight with Washington to save George?
Bromden: Narrator Was he right in his actions to sufficate McMurphy?
Charles Cheswick: First patient to join McMurphy's rebellion.
Billy Bibbit- Who is to blame for Billy's suicide?
Harding-What made Bromden go to the ward? What made him go "crazy"? Why did he decide to go?
Candy: prostitute and Billy's love interest
Did the ward help any of the patients?

Narration
What would it be like if Bromden didn't narrate the book but McMurphy or the Nurse did?
Did Ken Kesey portray his own opinions into Bromden's narration?
Why does Bromden sometimes say something then say "that's a lie"?
What can be assumed about Bromden based on his narration? Is he confident or shy? Is he educated?

Setting
1950's
Mental Institution in Oregon
How does the time period influence Bromden's impression the nurse's black assistants?
What physical features of the ward are significant in the book? Why are certain aspects of how it looks described more than others?

Themes/Motifs
Letting society dictate how one acts
The power of authority
What is the role of women?
Individuality
Invisibility
Rabbits/Wolves
Craziness

Style of Writing
Why is this novel written in the present tense?
How does the flashback technique add to the writing?
How does the language of McMurphy differ from that of the other patients and the Nurse?

Significant Passages
• "A bunch of chickens at a peckin’ party"-- After group therapy, McMurphy asserts that they should not attack one another because they hurt themselves in the process. Later, he states that Nurse Ratched "pecks the first peck".
  • "They can't tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed." (pg. 10)
  • "Mostly, I'd just like to look over the country around the gorge again, just to bring some of it clear in my mind again." (pg. 272)
  • “If somebody’d of come in and took a look, men watching a blank TV, a fifty-year-old woman hollering and squealing at criminations, they’d of thought the whole bunch was crazy as loons.” (pg. 128)
  • "...it's like an old clock that won't tell time but won't stop neither, with the hands bent out of shape and the face bare of numbers and the alarm bell rusted silent, an old, worthless clock that just keeps ticking and cuckooing without meaning nothing" (53). -A description of one of the men in the asylum, but this could apply to many of the men there.
  • "And we're all sitting there lined up in front of that blanked-out TV set, watching the gray screen just like we could see the baseball game clear as day, and she's ranting and screaming behind us" (128).-All the men continue to watch the TV even after the Nurse unplugs it.
  • "It was us that had been making him go on for weeks, keeping him standing long after his feet and legs had given out, weeks of making him wink and grin and laugh and go on with his act long after his humor had been parched dry between two electrodes" (267).-Chief realizes that he and the other men are the motivation that keeps McMurphy alive.
  • "'I was born dead'" (49) said by Pete who has been a chronic all of his life
  • "'I was born a rabbit. Just look at me. I simply need the nurse to make me happy with my role.'" (58) said by harding
  • "'No. I'm way too little. "I used to be big, but not any more. You're twice the size of me.'" (187) Bromden

Symbols
• What do these symbols mean...
The fog machine
Cigarettes and gum
The significance of the playing card
Laughter
Gambling
Deaths
The Broom
Billy's Death

Climax
• Cheswick's death
• McMurphy smashing his hand through the Nurse's window (violence of fighting back)
• When all the men watch the blank TV after the Nurse unplugs it (all the men are standing by each other)
• The fishing trip
• When McMurphy finds out that the nurse can keep him committed for life while the rest of the patients are mostly their voluntarily and can leave whenever they want

How did you feel about the ending of the book?
What parts did you like about the book? What parts didn't you like about the book? Why?