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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a novel or other dramatic work of fiction or narrative, the rising action refers to the series of events and behaviors that lead toward a climax. Also this action functions alongside the trajectory of a main character and plots his or her journey through the narrative. In 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' the rising action is McMurphy's efforts to transform the lives of them men living in the mental asylum. He finds that their physical and mental conditions are not as serious as many of them think, and he believes some of the patients are normal and don't belong there (like Billy). He plays games with the men, encourages them to misbehave, and gets them to stand up for themselves.

Also, McMurphy's friendship with the Chief, the Native American who pretends to be deaf and mute and who narrates the novel, represents an important movement in the novel. The growing trust and loyalty between them begin to affect many other events and ultimately determine the novel's outcome.

wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In discussing the structure of drama, scholars and critics often adopt the vocabulary and methodology of Eugene Scribe, the 19th c. playwright who defined the “well-made play” by following its progress through a series of accumulating steps concentrating the dramatic tension to its climax.  After the exposition and first complication, the incidents and conflicts of character gradually build to a “high-pressure” situation.  The gradual steps toward this climax is the rising action, a series of complications that can only be resolved by a climax; the well-made play then ends with a denouement that gives a sense of resolution to the conflicts (not unlike the classical drama’s sense of catharsis).  So the rising action is the gradual accumulation of the consequences of the first complication.

mysticgirl | Student

the rising action is the climax. it isnt compplicated but it is where all problems reaches its max, where issuses are put in the front and leads tto conflicts among characters. it also leads to how dynamic or static a character is in other words, it develops the characters personality.

faithm99 | Student

The rising action are the events leading up to the climax.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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