Techniques The Author Used To Develop The Characters In The Novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, By Ken Kesey

911 words - 4 pages

Q. Discuss the techniques the author used to develop the characters in the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. You are required to examine three characters from the novel when addressing this question.Ken Kesey is the author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, a hugely influential and important book of the 20the century. To weave his story, Kesey uses a bizarre cast of characters living in a mental asylum. To create these characters, the base of Kesey's novel, he utilises various devices such as his extensive use of imagery, symbolism, language and the contrasting of characters. Kesey explores the minds, habits, faults and qualities of his assorted characters through these techniques and the reader can readily find examples of Kesey's techniques in each of the three main characters.Kesey develops the character Chief Bromden by presenting him to the reader gradually. Bromden is immediately established as the narrator, but as it takes time for Bromden to re-establish his sense of self, it takes time for the reader to understand the complex character of Bromden. This does not hinder the story telling by any means, because as Bromden discovers himself, the story unfolds around him with increasing clarity, and gives the book a slow steady rhythm.This narration of the story in the first person is a technique used by Kesey not only to develop the character of Bromden slowly, but also to let the reader understand the extent of Bromden's illness and the depth of his delusions by letting them be inside Bromden's mind. Thus established, sympathy is invoked in the readers and one of the main themes, the mistreatment of mental patients, can be more readily addressed. Another advantage of this first person narration used by Kesey is that it keeps the reader interested. As Bromden slowly reveals details about his past, the reader believes they are getting closer to discovering the core of Bromden's madness and hallucinations.Kesey has turned the very words with which he has written the book into a writing tool, the language is colloquial which ties with the narration by Bromden. "Papa used to be able to do it - spraddle-legged, dead-panned, squinting up at the sky that first time the government men showed up..." (p.78) It gives the story warmth and a human scale. It helps the reader to identify with the narrator and to accept the narrator as a vehicle of the story.To develop the character of Nurse Radchet, Kesey has used symbolism and imagery, McMurphy describes Radchet as a 'ball-cutter'(p.51) and accuses her of trying to repress the men's sexuality. Radchet is a male-controlling-female. This was a popular character or theme in 20th century novels, being explored more...

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