Ken Kesey’s, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest presents a confronting satire, in which Nurse Ratched’s oppressive and tyrannical government in the ward prevents freedom and self-expression. Nurse Ratched’s manipulation of patients and tyrannical rule over the ward is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s rule over Nazi Germany. Similar to Adolf Hitler, an egomaniac, Nurse Ratched, portrays institutional authorities, mercilessly punishing patients and manipulating them into conforming with her ideas of a perfect society. The asylum “hum[s] hate and death”
Throughout Ken Kesey’s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the balance of power is challenged in the psychiatric ward. Out of the several leaders that appear in the novel, Nurse Ratched and McMurphy are the most prominent. During Nurse Ratched and McMurphy struggle for power, they share many of the same qualities. It is argued that: “McMurphy and Ratched are alike in intelligence, military service, distinctive (if opposite) clothing, and conventionally masculine qualities” (Evans). These small similarities; however, do not distract the characters from fighting for their individual beliefs. Both McMurphy and Nurse Ratched approached their leadership in different ways. McMurphy uses transformational leadership, which is a leader that “must perform some combination of the transactional functions (plan, direct, organize, control) in order to build respect and trust… [and the] leader gets people to work towards some higher purpose or goal” (O’Connor). In other words, it is a leader who achieves a “higher goal”, while “build[ing] respect and trust” from the people. On the other hand, Nurse Ratched uses authoritarian leadership, which is when “Policies [are] determined by the leader. [The] leader determines what each member should do and with whom he should work… Some find it difficult to diffuse authority… [which] causes some to feel threatened and insecure” (Sferra). More simply, an authoritative leader is one that has supreme power over the people. McMurphy’s transformational
Through the institutions, patients had less freedom, were forced to do activities, had no say in their treatments, and had to be helped with everyday tasks. The lifestyle in mental hospitals corresponded with American life in the 1950’s and early 1960’s because the mental hospitals encouraged conformity. Even though the Beat Generation’s ideals would have been seen as outrageous in the 1950’s and 1960’s, their beliefs rejected conformity and encouraged a new lifestyle for
Ken Kesey’s comic novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, takes place in an all-male psychiatric ward. The head of the ward, Big Nurse Ratched, is female. Kesey explores the power-struggle that takes place when the characters challenge gender dynamics in this environment. One newly-arrived patient, McMurphy, leads the men against the Big Nurse. The story is told through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a patient who learns from McMurphy and fights for his freedom. In Ken Kesey’s comic novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, gender is a definer of one's power in the hospital, and this leads to Nurse Ratched hiding her femininity, the patients’ attempts to boost their own masculinity, and both sides trying to expose the other. Kesey uses these examples to explain that men cannot handle a female leader.
To dehumanize someone is to strip an individual of their individuality including their human attributes and qualities. For as long as mental illnesses have been known, people have treated those with illnesses much differently. A particular assertion i tend to agree with is that people who have mental disorders are always dehumanized in some way. This dehumanization is shown in One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest alongside other perspectives such as a live and pop culture point of view.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, considers the qualities in which society determines sanity. The label of insanity is given when someone is different from the perceived norm. Conversely, a person is perceived as sane when their behavior is consistent with the beliefs of the majority. Although the characters of this novel are patients of a mental institution, they all show qualities of sanity. The book is narrated by Chief Brodmen, an observant chronic psychiatric patient, who many believe to be deaf and dumb. The question of sanity becomes apparent when McMurphy, a confident gambler, who might have faked psychosis in order to get out of the work farm, is assigned to the mental hospital. He quickly stirs up tension in the ward for Nurse Ratched by encouraging the men to have fun and rebel against her rules.
The 1950s, the context of which One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a novel by Ken Kesey, was written, was called the Era of Conformity. During this time, the American social atmosphere was quiet conformed, in that everyone was expected to follow the same, fixed format of behavior in society, and the ones who stand out of being not the same would likely be “beaten down” by the social norms. In the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey argues that it is immoral for society to simply push its beliefs onto the people who are deemed different, as it is unfair and could lead to destructive results.
Due to the structure in place by Nurse Ratched’s orders, all patients must participate in therapeutic meetings, where they have a group discussion with the nurse and Dr. Spivey. These discussions specifically target one patient where the others proceed to humiliate them. When Bromden narrates a meeting of this nature, Harding, another patient, is the one under harsh criticism, “The group is still tearing into Harding when when two o’clock rolls around” (Kesey 53). In the ward, the nurse has created an environment where the patients do not feel safe. She pits them against each other using methods such as the therapeutic meetings, which cause the patients to feel as though they cannot trust one another. These elements keep the nurse in power, as many of the patients fear being the target of one of these meetings and worry that they will again be betrayed by others. By introducing order through these activities, Nurse Ratched undermines the safety of the patients that should be under her care and keeps them silent. Nurse Ratched's oppressive order is not only seen in a literal sense, but also through the attitudes of the patients under her care. Chief Bromden describes the nurse as being “able to set the wall clock at whatever speed she wants just by turning one of those dials“ (Kesey 70). Nurse Ratched’s control over the patients’ lives extends to the point where
Ken Kesey uses his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to describe the lives of patients in a mental institution, and their struggle to overcome the oppressive authority under which they are living. Told from the point of view of a supposedly mute schizophrenic, the novel also shines a light on the many disorders present in the patients, as well as how their illnesses affect their lives during a time when little known about these disorders, and when patients living with these illnesses were seen as an extreme threat. Chief Bromden, the narrator of the novel, has many mental illnesses, but he learns to accept himself and embrace his differences. Through the heroism introduced through Randle McMurphy, Chief becomes confident in himself, and is ultimately able to escape from the toxic environment Nurse Ratched has created on the ward. Chief has many disorders including schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and, in addition to these illnesses, he pretends to be deaf and dumb. This combination of many mind and life altering diagnoses leads to an interesting point of view, and a deeper look into the lives of people living with the
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, published in 1962, tells the story of men in a psychiatric ward and focuses on two characters called McMurphy and Bromden, and their defiance towards the institution’s system. A critical factor in this novel are the women. The 1960’s played a significant role in changing the norms of social issues, and the perfect idea of women was changing too. Women were no longer just stay at home wives, but had their own voice in society, and many people did not agree with these untraditional views. Kesey’s representation of women in this novel illustrate them in a poor light that makes it obvious that they don’t fit the ideal womanly persona. Nurse Ratched is the main antagonist who is a very cruel and manipulative nurse, in which all the characters seem to agree that she is out to get them. The other main female role is a hooker McMurphy knew before the hospital who plays a role of meeting the boys needs. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
Society, It is always changing, just like the people in it. No one wants to look out of place in the world so they do what they can to fit in. Everyone does it differently it might be acting a certain way, or changing style, but with fitting in comes rejection. Just like trying to fit in, dealing with rejection is done differently, most people try to fix the problem before they start to get labeled. In the book “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest” Ken Kesey shows that the “insanity” of the patients is really just normal insecurities and their label as insane by society is immoral. This appears in the book concerning Billy Bibbits problem with his mom, Harding's problems with his wife, and that the patients are in the ward
Nurse Ratched’s desire for control, in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, allows her to manipulate the entire hospital ward into believing her work is for the betterment of the patients. Significantly, Nurse Ratched appears doll-like: hair in a tight bun, a neatly pressed uniform, and “too-red” lipstick (48). Traditionally, dolls, like other toys, are made to occupy the unruly minds of young children. By comparing Nurse Ratched to a child’s toy, Kesey implies she is a mere distraction to the patients from their mental impairments. While the Big Nurse may look flawless, her porcelain exterior is a mask to her true personality. Her appearance indicates a polished, helpful treatment for incoming patients, but this twisted perfection
In the drama film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest, Patrick McMurphy was moved from a prison farm to a mental institution to get evaluated for his erratic behavior. Upon being transported to the institution, all his assumptions about his new home were completely wrong. The head nurse, Nurse Ratched, has the whole hospital under her control with little to no freedom for the patients. All the inmates at the institution go through rigorous training to become obedient to Nurse Ratched and her strict schedule and rules. The institution was a very controlled environment with the patients having no control over their own life’s while there. There are four characteristics of a controlled environment and they include the following: status hierarchy,
Ken Kesey author of the fictional novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest published in 1962 has taken the opportunity to write about the hippy culture and how society shames difference. Readers are taken to a mental institution in Oregon in the 1950’s and experience what it is like for the outcast people. The men in the ward are run by Nurse Ratched and have lost control of themselves. Majority of these men are in the mental hospital because they have checked themselves in, but not McMurphy he is a convict there for psych evaluation. Do to Nurse Ratched the men loses control over themselves and they haven’t realized till McMurphy walked through the door. In Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, women are portrayed as the power figures
Published in 1962, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest tells the story of Patrick McMurphy, a newly-admitted patient at a psychiatric hospital where individuals with various mental conditions are treated. Run primarily by Nurse Ratched, a demeaning autocrat who exhibits complete control over others, the patients are subjected to various forms of treatments and therapy with the intent of rehabilitation (Kesey 5). Most forms of treatment depicted in Kesey’s novel, such as group therapy, are an accurate representation of what typical psychiatric patients may encounter while under care at a mental facility. Yet others, particularly electroshock therapy and lobotomies, were quite controversial at the time of the novel’s publication. Such treatments were questioned for their effectiveness at improving patients’ condition – and while these procedures were still occasionally performed at the time, they often did not benefit the treated individual. Often painful and traumatic, these treatments physically degraded the patient’s mental status; and in extreme