This passage is taken from the end of part one, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It is a significant passage for what it reveals to us about the further development of characters, the external conflict and drastic change in daily order. In the remainder of this commentary I will explore the impact this passage has on the plot, conflict, characters and language exhibited in this passage. The plot and conflict are aspects that are explored in- depth in this passage. For the reader to fully understand the importance of this passage they need to know the basics of the conflict.
From the start when it became clear that Randle McMurphy wanted to lighten up the tense atmosphere of them mental institution that Nurse Ratched caused. Until this passage in the novel there was a constant effort by McMurphy to revolt against Ratched, this was not possible because McMurphy received no support form his peers. This passage is the first hope of light that tides may be changing. It starts out with McMurphy watching the first game of the World Series in exchange for him cleaning. Soon after, Ratched reacts by switching off the television and screaming to McMurphy to get back to cleaning.
Instead of following his orders he sat there quietly like nothing ever happened. This is a development in the conflict and plot between McMurphy and Ratched. While McMurphy was still seated the rest of the patients that had been still currently cleaning came and sat just as McMurphy did staring at the blank television. This put Ratched over the top, this can be seen in the story through several different quotes, one of which is effective is “You men– Stop this. Stop! ” after she says this the men stay lined up in front of the television like nothing ever happened.
This is important in the terms of plot because it brings the end to a long road of strict control by Nurse Ratched. Similarly this passage is significant to the conflict because it moves the other patients on to McMurphy’s side of the conflict. This was an important change in conflict and plot which would not be possible with out a development of characters. I will now look at characters, in specific I will look at Nurse Ratched, Randle McMurphy, and the minor characters new rolls. Ratched’s main goal is to gain full control over the ward.
This passage is the point where she states to fail, she had been almost indestructible before this point in the story. Ratched’s decline in power can be seen by Kesey descriptions such as how she would stand behind the glass, this symbolizes weakness and brings out an inability to face her patients. Another feature that the reader can not go with out mentioning form this passage is Ratched’s speech, she speaks in an aggressive manner while still trying to show respect with by using terms such as “Mr. “. In this section McMurphy displays great guts and courage, he stands up for what he thinks is right.
Examples of his is when we calmly goes sits down, puts his legs up, lights a cigarette and says “HOO-WEE! ” This shows great courage and that he is fearless, that is a vital trait for someone trying to do what he is doing. This section would not be nearly as special or drastic as it is if all the minor characters were not present. This is one passage that shows real change with the minor characters, the minor characters up until this point played a relatively minor job with regard to McMurphy’s goal to overthrow Ratched. This will allow McMurphy to do counter Ratched with support.
When trying to understand these complex characters language plays a major roll, in my next paragraph I will look at how the language is used in this section. This passage features a range of linguistic features, in particular this passage includes imagery. The language in this used in this section helps bring out the emotions that the characters possess by vividly painting a picture of what is going on in this selection. The narrator describes the characters clearly if we use Nurse Ratched as an example. In the first paragraph there are two very vivid examples that give us such a feeling that we were present.
The words ‘blew up” as well as “shoulders rise and fall as she breaths” are two examples. There terms paint an image in our minds that we can not resist to notice. As well as that imagery it has similes, one of which that I find effective is when Chief Bromden compares Ratched’s voice to an electric chain say ripping through pine. Finally I believe that Kesey does an effective job emphasizing certain words which gives them a more significant sound. This can be seen in phrases such as “Mr. Har-ding”, “I’m warning you” and “Hoo-wee(McMurphy)”. All of these effects help enhance the significance of this passage.
This is an important passage and it can be viewed as a turning point in both the plot as well as the conflict. The passage is supported by clear language as well as rapidly developing characters. After this passage the book could head in a number different directions, including a new support towards McMurphy which was witnessed in this passage.