Part IV. The final battle. Nurse Ratched releases the Kracken! 261
1. Trace Chief Broom's progress towards sanity; What are the various stages he goes through? Find the important incidents that show him taking steps out of his defenses.
How does seeing things through the Chief's eyes change the book?
What does the Chief's perspective add to McMurphy's perspective?
Can you trust the Chief's perceptions?
2. What are his most typical distortions?
3. In what terms/ metaphors does he see reality?
Is the Chief really crazy? How is he perhaps sane -- seeing a deeper truth?
What are the Chief's main defense mechanisms? How do they help him cope?
What is the fog?
4. How does Mac fit the American image of masculinity?
5. How does Mac relate to each separate person on the ward. How is his reaction to Billy different from his treatment of Harding, Ellis, etc.
What do his responses to the men tell us about him and about who they are?
Discuss the imagery surrounding Big Nurse. What is she symbolic of? Thematically, how is she opposed to Mac?
Discuss references to Christ and Christianity throughout the book. Is Mac a Christ figure?
Try to figure out the bird symbolism throughout the book.
6. What's the significance/importance of laughter?
7. What are the attitudes towards women and sex throughout the book?
What kinds of images of women do we get? Is this book sexist? How does it reflect contemporary
(1964) attitudes towards women?
Why is the Chief a Native American? What is the attitude towards Blacks in this book. Is the book racist?