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A Presentation on the Symbolism of Fog in the Novel One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

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All Fogged Up: A Presentation on the Symbolism of Fog in the Novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Throughout history, there have always been incidents where the middle class or normal people of a society have had a lack of clarity or transparency in regards to the higher order or governing power. The truth has always been hidden from the people. A lack of vision for what is true and the ability to move forward is represented by the fog in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In the novel, the narrator and one of the main characters, Chief Bromden, consistently encounters a layer of fog at the mental asylum he lives in. The fog impairs him from seeing others and is quite distracting; however, in the latter half of the novel the fog seems to go away. The fog that Bromden experiences is a representation of the lack of transparency and clarity by the Combine of the mental asylum. The clearing of the fog is subsequent with McMurphy's rebellion and represents the newfound clarity that Bromden and the other patients acquire when McMurphy is around. This symbolism is universal and can be applied to many historical contexts as well. ...read more.


I know now there is no real help against her or her Combine." (Kesey 100) The fog is also showing the reader that no one is standing up to the Nurse and "clearing up" the fog. Someone needs to rise and turn off the fog machine, however everyone in the institution up until McMurphy's arrival has conformed to the rules and commands. At the same time, however, the fog is in a way good for the patients, even Bromden himself. While a lack of transparency and honesty by a Combine has always been frowned upon, for those with as malleable and damaged mental states as those in the ward, the fog can actually have some benefits. With the fog, the patients have a safe zone in which they can live, a place where they do not need to worry about how the world works or why there are certain occurrences. They have seen the terrors and tribulations of reality and this fog makes lives for them less complicated and the job easier for the Combine. Nurse Ratched is happy to take away their autonomy, provided that she does not face opposition. ...read more.


His act catalyzed the Tunisian Revolution, in which the people revolted and the Combine of the Tunisian Government was overthrown (Worth). This is very similar to the storyline of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The fog is represented by the dark preceding the Tunisian Revolution; the people were oppressed by the corrupt government, which controlled the fog machine. Bouazizi set himself on fire and subsequently illuminated the dark, similar to how McMurphy turns off the fog machine and eventually sacrifices himself to clear the fog from the patients. These events both lead to a revolution against the combine and discourse follows. In conclusion, the fog in Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the most important pieces of symbolic imagery presented to the reader. It is essential to describing the progression and plot of the novel, from the beginning where the patients are hidden from the truth by the thick fog, to the latter half when McMurphy cleans the fog and brings about the change and discord in the Mental Ward. This is similar to many historical events, more recently the story of Mohamed Bouazizi and the start of the Tunisian Revolution. Kesey has created a magnificent parallel in which those who are in the dark can be enlightened, and break from the barriers of the Combine and gain individuality and freedom. ...read more.

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