English 11

Choose one of the following to answer in a coherent, logical essay. Be sure to use textual support (evidence) for any contestable claim.

  1. Some students have claimed that York Community High School is rather like the crazy ward in Cuckoo’s Nest. In your opinion, how seriously should one take this claim? How is Nurse Ratched’s ward like a totalitarian society? How are inmates/students similarly controlled?
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been criticized for its treatment of race and gender. Do you think that this is the case? Point out examples of explicit and implicit racism or sexism in the novel. If you can verify that it exists, why do you think it is present? Can we impute racism/sexism to the author, Ken Kesey? Why or why not?
  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 modern warfare serve as a metaphor for the sickness that Kesey perceives in modern society?
  4. Kesey states that One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest helps the reader to “question reality by tearing away the fabric of what we've been told is reality and showing us something that is far more real.” Do you agree with Kesey's claim for his book? Select a scene or two that does or does not effectively expose hidden truths.
  5. What are we to make of Chief Bromden? Why is he the narrator of Cuckoo’s Nest instead of McMurphy? Who is the real protagonist of the novel? And how might the use of Bromden as the narrator tie into the biblical allusions in the novel?
  6. FOR THE SYMBOLISM SEEKER: Notice references to Christ and Christianity throughout the book. Is Mac a Christ figure? And please explain the bird symbolism throughout the book.

some prompts derived from discovery education online resources