Choose three images from a Ken Kesey novel and explain what they suggest, what they add to an understanding of character, conflict, or situation.
What is the effect of telling One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest through the confused, schizophrenic musings of the supposedly deaf-and-dumb Native American Chief Bromden, a “chronic” committed to an insane asylum for life?
Select two or more background details about McMurphy (for example, his Red Chinese prison camp experience, the white whales on his shorts) and explain what they reveal about him.
List techniques or strategies used by McMurphy against Big Nurse. Then list tools or strategies used by Big Nurse against McMurphy. What differences do you notice between them? How are these differences significant to Kesey’s message?
The endings of Kesey’s novels often leave readers feeling uncomfortable. Pick a novel and explain whether the ending is hopeful or pessimistic and why you think so. Why does Kesey end his novel the way he does? What effect does he hope to create in his readers?
Although Kesey describes the brothers in Sometimes a Great Notion as opposites, he also sees them as parts of himself. In what ways are Hank and Lee different? Behind those differences, what qualities do they share?
Find an example of black humor, anecdote, tall tale, cinematic technique, or comic book technique in Kesey’s writing. Identify which term applies to the example, how it applies, and what Kesey achieves by using it.