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The Significance to the Title "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"

  • Date Submitted: 05/22/2011 04:32 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.7 
  • Words: 259
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The title "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" works very well to explain the general ideas
of what goes on throughout the novel.The "Cuckoo's Nest" is the hospital itself, it is based in
the novel off of a nursery rhyme quoted in part 4 by Chief Bromden. It has meaning which
works well with this novel.

The nursery rhyme was part of a game Chief Bromden used to play with his mother. The rhyme finished with "One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest". There is also a large amount of symbolism towards birds throughout the novel. The birds stand for freedom which works for "being free" and "being clear headed" among other things.

In the novel Chief Bromden and others are controlled by Nurse Ratched, when McMurphy arrives he doesn't allow himself to be dominated, instead he takes on Nurse Ratched in a battle of wills. McMurphy flies east and Nurse Ratched flies west. He is trying to fly over the system itself.

The title suits the novel perfectly because readers see a short understanding of what happens without reading it. When you do read it you really see how it all makes sense with the title. The "one who flew over the cuckoo's nest" was McMurphy. McMurphy wanted to help the patients, especially the Chief to recover their pride and manhood from Nurse Ratched. Mcmurphy gave them back their pride but he did that with fatal consequences. The significance is large and sets the perfect tone.

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