Give me examples of how One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is considered a discussion of race and gender.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

An examination of the character of Chief Bromden should clearly reveal the way that this novel deals with the two topics of race and gender and the way that this novel presents Bromden as an example of how an indigenous American male is oppressed by women. If we consider his background, this can be seen more clearly. Bromden is the son of Chief Tee Ah Millatoona, which, translated, means The Pine That Stands Tallest on the Mountain, and a white woman. It was his mother who was the force in the relationship, and this is indicated by the acceptance of her last name. A hugely important memory Bromden has was when he was ten years old and three government men come to buy the tribal ancestral land to build a dam. Bromden was there by himself. When he tried to speak to these officials, they treated him as if he were invisible. Note the way that Bromden describes the way in which these men ignore him and his words:

And, almost, see the apparatus inside them take the words I just aid and try to fit the words in here and there, this place and that, and when they find the words don't have any place ready-made where they'll fit, the machinery disposes of the words like they weren't even spoken.

This of course is the genesis of his later mental illness and his belief that he is invisible. He believes this because he lives in a world where the majority treat him as if he is deaf and dumb. Bromden, although he is so tall, actually considers himself to be incredibly small, because he is treated this way by society. In Bromden, therefore, the novel discusses how race and gender result in oppression for certain key characters, of whom Bromden is a key example.

We’ve answered 317,410 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question