Character Analysis - Cuckoo's Nest
1 Project Introduction
Distribute the student instructions to the class. This lesson should be completed after reading a novel, although it is best practice to give the assignment BEFORE reading the novel to guide their reading.
You are a special agent hired by the FBI to investigate the strange happenings in the Oregon Asylum, specifically, on the ward of Nurse Ratched. You have been assigned to study the character of one of the major participants in the unusual events. Your character will come from the list below:
Nurse Ratched Chief Bromden
Randle McMurphy Billy Bibbit
Since each character is not available for an interview, it is your job to uncover your person’s inner workings and role within the plot of the story. This personal dossier is due to your director on ______________________________, when a conference will be held by all the investigators to share their findings of this unnatural occurrence. The following items should be included in your investigator’s portfolio:
A description of the suspect’s personal appearance, along with a police artist’s sketch and a photograph, if available.
A page summarizing all personal biographical information available on the individual prior to the events of the novel. (Do not include fictional material) Report on only what is given testimony from the character.)
A page listing any significant symbolism surrounding the character during the events of the story. (Symbols must include the symbolism graphic organizer and an explanation of each symbol and a reference to its relevance to the novel.)
A list of at least ten (10) specific referents to the character within the course of the story. In other words, list at least ten significant things that cause a change in behavior/mental state in the character. Cite the page number and chapter for each referent.
A sanity over time graph for the character. For the Y-axis, use a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the most sane and 10 being the most insane. For the X-axis use the chapters of the book. Plot the 10 events you have chosen on your graph. The events should show the character’s progression from sanity to insanity or from insanity to sanity. In some cases, characters might go from insanity to sanity then back to insanity, or vice versa. Make sure that your ten events are equally distributed throughout the four parts of the novel. For each point (event) that is plotted, there should be a corresponding paragraph below the graph explaining why you plotted that event as you did. (No one progresses to an action alone, they are influenced by people and things around them that cause them to react and act as they do – justify your decisions).
A final minimum one page, MLA formatted, paper discussing your character’s role in Kesey’s plot. Specifically, you must analyze the role your character plays in the thematic development of the novel.
The above information must be submitted in electronic copy to the director no later than _________________, in the order listed above,. The director appreciates creativity, so any additional relevant information (or creative avenues) you want to include could result in a promotion.
2 Technology and Authentic Presentation
Students can use a variety of media to complete the project. Google Docs or Slides is ideal for the project, especially if paired with Google Classroom, due to the flexibility Docs provides and the ease of collaboration and sharing.
On presentation day, students should sit in a conference style arrangement if possible. One by one, each group should share their findings with the group and guide a discussion on the development of their assigned character.
Key Standards Supported
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
(Not applicable to literature)
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
(Not applicable to literature)
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.