Mcmurphy's Fog Analysis

1687 Words7 Pages
He imagines that the patients are implanted with tiny machines that record and control their movements from the inside. The truth is that Nurse Ratched manages to rule by insinuation, without ever having to be explicit about her accusations and threats, so it seems as though the patients themselves have absorbed her influence—she becomes a sort of twisted conscience. When McMurphy smashes through the glass window of the Nurses’ Station, his excuse is that the glass was so clean he could not see it. By smashing it, he reminds the patients that although they cannot always see Ratched’s or society’s manipulation, it still operates on them. The power of laughter resonates throughout the novel. McMurphy’s laughter is the first genuine laughter…show more content…
In this novel, fogs symbolize a lack of insight and an escape from reality. When Bromden starts to slip away from reality, because of his medication or out of fear, he hallucinates fog drifting into the ward. He imagines that there are hidden fog machines in the vents and that they are controlled by the staff. Although it can be frightening at times, Bromden considers the fog to be a safe place; he can hide in it and ignore reality. Beyond what it means for Bromden, the fog represents the state of mind that Ratched imposes on the patients with her strict, mind-numbing routines and humiliating treatment. When McMurphy arrives, he drags all the patients out of the fog. The fog that constantly surrounds Chief and the patients on the ward is, Chief claims, "made" by Nurse Ratched. Because we know that Chief is schizophrenic and sees things that are not literally there, we recognize that the fog may be medicinally induced and is a fog of the mind rather than a literal fog. It keeps the patients from rising up in rebellion against Nurse Ratched, but it also keeps them satisfied with their lives and prevents them from ever thinking about anything real. It both helps them to live this way and prevents them from ever trying to improve their situations. As Chief says, the men hide behind the fog because it is comfortable. Chief Bromden’s hallucinations are dominated by a thick, debilitating fog that only begins to wane with the…show more content…
A literature major gave them to him, saying that McMurphy is himself a symbol. The shorts, of course, are also highly symbolic. First, the white whales call to mind Moby-Dick, one of the most potent symbols in American literature. One common interpretation of Moby-Dick is that the whale is a phallic symbol, which obviously suggests McMurphy’s blatant sexuality—the little white whales cover McMurphy’s underwear, which he gleefully reveals to Nurse Ratched. Moby-Dick also represents the pervasive evil that inspires Ahab’s obsessive, futile pursuit. Here, the implication is that McMurphy is to Ratched as Moby-Dick is to Ahab. A third interpretation is that Moby-Dick stands for the power of nature, signifying McMurphy’s untamed nature that conflicts with the controlled institution. Also, in Melville’s novel Moby-Dick is associated with God, which resonates with McMurphy’s role as a Christ figure. Finally, the whale boxer shorts poke fun at academia and its elaborate interpretations of

    More about Mcmurphy's Fog Analysis

      Open Document