Monday, November 2, 2009

CCN Socratic seminar

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Student Generated Socratic Seminar

 Often the patients seem sane and at other times their insanity is quite clear. What is Kesey trying to accomplish?
o How does Kesey use his characters to convey differences between sanity and insanity?
o How do they change throughout the novel?
o How does this relate to society?

 What are the benefits and disadvantages to having Bromden as a narrator?
o What affect do his flashbacks have on the narration?

 Discuss the end of the novel.
o What affect does McMurphy have on the ward?
o What does his death accomplish that his life couldn’t?

 POWER and dominance over others play a huge role in this novel.
o How does the nurse assert her power over the patients?
o How does this relate to the machine metaphor?
o Describe the nurse’s actions and reasoning that relate to the death of Cheswick and Billy.
o What role does sexualization and sanitation (in the case of Nurse Ratched) play in the novel?
 How does this relate to Billy’s short lived confidence at the end of the novel?
 How does McMurphy’s final act of defiance relate to this idea?
 Discuss the role of women in McMurphy’s life and in the novel.
o What is the significance of McMurphy’s first sexual experience?
o How do McMurphy’s boxer shorts represent his character?
 Is the novel racist, or are the “black boys” an evil symbol?

 How is McMurphy a Christ symbol?

 Does McMurphy really exist, or did Bromden create a personality to help him escape the ward?


  1. Are we allowed to (or supposed to) discuss them here before the seminar? Or is this just for us to research?

  2. We will never get to all of these, so feel free to comment here! Tina, I'm not sure what you're asking.

  3. I don't quite understand the inner circle, outer circle thing (do we have to prepare for all the questions or just some of them?) but I'm sure you'll explain it in class so I can get it for next time...

  4. Are we supposed to discuss the questions after the seminar (the questions we didn't get to) or when ever?

  5. Tina, Inner circle format is confusing at first, but you'll understand as soon as we start.
    Maya (I think), you'll discuss what went on during the seminar and what you didn't get to here. I'll post questions for you if you aren't sure what to say.