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By means of a close reading of the passage 'The big hard body...' to '...I been away a long time' consider in what ways this is an appropriate conclusion to one flew over the cuckoos nest.

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Introduction

By means of a close reading of the passage 'The big hard body...' to '...I been away a long time' consider in what ways this is an appropriate conclusion to one flew over the cuckoos nest. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which shall now be referred to as Cuckoo throughout this consideration) was written by Ken Kesey and published in 1962. In the novel, a character called Randal McMurphy enters a mental institute to avoid a work farm, and comes up against the suppressive regime of Miss Ratched, who he sees to be manipulating and destroying people by removing their identity. Before the conclusion of the novel, McMurphy, in a culmination of events in which he tries to make the patients in the institute regain knowledge of who they are, is given a frontal lobotomy. The importance of energy, vitality and recognition of the right to be free in Cuckoo is always apparent. McMurphy is a character that breathes life into the whole novel, with his bright red hair 'This guy is redheaded...with a broad white devilish grin' and flamboyant personality. ...read more.

Middle

One does not expect the character in the book, which has provided so much hope to the patients, to die himself. However, by making McMurphy a martyr, Kesey both imprints the twist in the novel in people's minds forever, but also makes the reader run a parallel with Jesus. Jesus died so that mankind may live in the kingdom of heaven. Similarly, McMurphy died to save chief and the other patients so that they may live on earth. The death of McMurphy can be seen as a warning sign as to the devastation society's opinions on the deviation from normal can cause, and once again he supports the message of the importance of freedom of expression. The imagery he uses in the death scene is dramatic and profound '...I finally had to lie full length on top of it and scissor kick the legs with mine while I mashed the pillow into the face...' So this creates a sound conclusion to a potentially very dramatically and profound introspective book. ...read more.

Conclusion

'I'd like to see what they've all been doing since the government tried to buy their right to be Indians...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' This is a traditional upbeat ending to the book, and also throws open the question of what happened to the chief, and leaves the reader back over thinking about the contents of the novel. Therefore, even after the book is finished there is a lot of room for thought and analysis of the ideas; there is no definite ending just like there is no definite ending in life. The conclusion of Cuckoo ties all the themes together with powerful imagery and firmly imprints the ideas contained in the novel on the reader's minds forever. It also allows room for individual perceptions on what happens next. By throwing the ending open to individual perception, Kesey perhaps leaves a final conclusion that life is we make it, and our mind forges own destiny thus never abandon our individuality or our lives are not worth living. Ruth Naughton-Doe 1 ...read more.

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