“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest & That Eye, The Sky”
The contrast of characters in a novel such as That Eye, The Sky by Tim Winton and One Flew over the Cuckoo Nest by Ken Kesey, make for an in-depth view into the lives and problems of each individual character in each novel. Between many of the characters in each novel there are trust issues and problems of not knowing where they belong. Another point to be discussed is the contrast between the masculinity of main male characters in each novel. These three techniques can relate to teenagers and therefore they are kept captivated in the novels and will read to the end.
In both novels there are characters that show some form of unusual trust between each other. In Winton’s book it is Henry Warburton and Alice Flack, and in Kesey’s book it is Bromden and the other patients on the mental ward. Winton has Henry Warburton showing up to the Flack household unannounced and rather unclean and untrustworthy looking, dressed in “old clothes that you could buy at a school fete for 50 cents” and grass seeds all over him (page 52). Winton has done this because it shows how people will instill their trust in almost anybody when they are desperate enough to do so, like Alice is now in this point of the novel. Kesey writes in his novel that Bromden puts his trust in the other patients to keep his secret when the stumble upon the truth, that Bromden is not deaf. Although the patients now know his secret, they don’t rat him out to Nurse Ratched or any of the black boys. Kesey does this to show that everyone needs someone to rely on and that Bromden obviously cannot hid the fact that he can hear from the people he lives with, but continues his act in front of people with authority, “The staff always let me clean the room because they didn’t think I could hear” (page 117, Bromden’s inner voice). Another contrast topic between the novels is masculinity.
The lead males in each novel all have a sense of masculinity about them, or lack thereof. In Winton’s novel, the difference in masculinity is that of Henry and Sam. Ort still sees his father as a strong man, though he is unable to eat, sit, sleep or bath alone. He is 100% relying on others, mainly his wife and Henry. Henry is masculine in the way that he has lived a life of independence and hardship. Henry was living under a bridge, homeless and alone when Ort first met him, and had to overcome challenges other people wouldn’t have to. “You’ve been sleeping under the bridge” (page 54, Ort whispers to Henry Warburton) Henry pretends not to hear Ort, as if he is trying to forget that time in his life. He was a real help to the Flacks in caring for Sam, helping to carry, bathe, dress and feed him. In Kesey’s novel the show of masculinity is between McMurphy and the other patients in the ward. McMurphy stood out from the other patients. He was loud, overbearing and seemed to stand higher than the other patients on the ward. McMurphy would stand up for the other patients when Nurse Ratched or the black boys were on the case.
Just like in a lot of novels, there are always characters who simple just want to belong. Winton’s novel shows a sense of wanting to belong between Tegwyn and her mother Alice. Like mother like daughter they spent a lot of time arguing with one another, both believing they were right and the other wasn’t. Tegwyn wanted to live school and work full time but her mother didn’t like the idea. What Tegwyn really wanted was just to belong, to be close to mother and not argue so much. Kesey’s novel shows McMurphy being the masculine outcast of the group, but he just wants to fit in and belong with the other patients. He ends up doing so when he becomes a vegetable, but that is not quite the same.
Although there was only three types of contrast mentioned (Masculinity, Trust and Belonging) there is more topics of contrast that could be discussed. Both Winton and Kesey did marvelous at using their creative skills to get the character’s views across to the readers. And by doing so the readers were captivated until the end of the novels, another good technique.
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