At some time-- perhaps in your childhood-- you may have been allowed to get away with flouting the rules of society” (Kesey171). Nurse Ratched said this to all the patients at the ward one day regarding them rebelling against the rules. This quote really showed how manipulative and mean Nurse Ratched could be. Ever since McMurphy came to the ward, everyone there decided to start a rebellion against Nurse Ratched and the ward policy. Many examples such as when McMurphy was carousing around the halls in his underwear, people not doing their chores, asking to change the schedule to watch the baseball game and breaking the nurse’s window to take back their cigarettes show there is a difference in the air at the ward.
“At sea, away from the restraints of Nurse Ratched they follow the lead of McMurphy” (Elaine B., It’s the Truth Even If It Didn’t Happen). When the men are away from Nurse Ratched they still need to follow the lead of someone; rather than doing something from their own mindset. This shows how Nurse Ratched’s manipulation has hindered the men’s inability to do something for themselves. Another example of the longterm effects of manipulation is that none of the men actually want to leave the ward.
Kesey has created Nurse Ratched as a representation of how the ward works. Nurse Ratched works the ward like a combine, when something goes in; broken pieces become the end result. When Nurse Ratched loses her first battle with McMurphy, she ends up “hollering and squealing” about the “discipline and order” she has instilled throughout her years working in the ward (128). Here, Kesey presents how this small act of rebellion affects Ratched system she has perfected over the years. Even though she is screaming about discipline and order, the patients continue to ignore her pleas and sit in front of the television watching nothing.
The theme that manipulation is only a powerful tool if the victim is weak enough to not resist it is revealed through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and the patients in the mental institution. The reader can first imply that manipulation
The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey tells the story of a group of patients in a 1960s psychiatric hospital. The novel is told from the perspective of one of the patients who, up until the very end of the story, is mute. This character is named Bromden and because of the fact that he doesn’t speak, people think he is deaf. Bromden is in the psychiatric hospital because, although its is unclear whether he actually is skitzophrenic, he has been diagnosed as such. Bromden and many other psychiatric patients live in this ward, under the “command” of Nurse Ratched, nicknamed “Big Nurse”.
Kesey has used characterisation to get the idea that in this novel there are aspects of venerability and strength. In Nurse Ratched’s case, Kesey has made it so that she is shown with strength and power over the whole ward, including the black men in white, other nurses, and mainly the patients. An example of Nurse Ratched’s power over the patients is when she says to Billy Bibbit, “What worries me, Billy, ' she said- I could hear the change in her voice- 'is how your mother is going to take this.” This shows how one sentence was able to debilitate Billy into begging Nurse for forgiveness and restraint of telling his mother.
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.
“You’re sentenced in a jail and you got a date ahead of when you know you’re gonna be let loose” ( Kesey, page 190). The lifeguard that is talking to McMurphy say that being in jail is better than being in at the ward because you do not know when you are going to leave. After this McMurphy talks to Harding and says “Yes; chopping away the brain. Frontal-lobe castration. I guess if she can’t cut below the belt she’ll do it above”. “ I didn’t think the nurse had the say-so on this kind of thing”. “She does indeed” ( Kesey, pg 191). So, McMurphy understands that nurse Ratched has a say in when he can leave the ward. After learning this he becomes quiet and nice towards nurse Ratched. But before learning that she had say in when he could get out he used to go against her orders and laws. “He drags his armchair out of the corner to in the front of the tv set then switches on the set and sits down” (Kesey, page 143). “I said Mr. Murphy, that you are suppose to be working during these hours” (page 144). In this scene he pulls a chair in front of the television to watch the baseball game eventho nurse Ratched said
This battle is hashed out between the two characters: Nurse Ratched and Randle McMurphy. In McMurphy’s world of individuality, everything is laid back, cheerful and lighthearted, while the Nurse’s world of conformity is uptight, heartless and mechanical. Nurse’s conformist attitude is reflected through her reaction to McMurphy’s singing, and walking around in a towel. Once she processes McMurphy’s disregard for ward policy, “her nostrils flare open...when she rumbles past she’s already big as a truck, trailing that wicker bag behind her exaust like a semi behind a Jimmy Diesel” (87).
Kesey argues that wolves are the threatening forces that dictate the lifestyle of rabbits. The wolf asserts her dominance over the rabbits and controls their potential for freedom. All the while, Nurse Ratched’s dominance is found in her direct control of the machine that is the mental hospital. According to Chief Bromden, Nurse Ratched can “turn that dial to a dead stop and freeze the sun” or “set the wall clock at whatever speed she wants” (71, 70). Here, Kesey gives Nurse Ratched literal control of the settings of the hospital to imply she desires social or spiritual control of the ward as
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
We learn on page 38 that Nurse Ratched has many connections and will use them to her advantage to get what she wants. On page 38, it reads, “the doctor doesn’t hold the power of hiring and firing. That power goes to the supervisor, and the supervisor is a woman, a dear old friend of Miss Ratched’s; they were Army nurses together in the thirties. We are victims of a matriarchy here, my friend, and the doctor is just as helpless against it as we are.” This proves that Nurse Ratched uses this relationship with head supervisor to her advantage.
In novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, a leader organizes a group of mental patients and rebels against the figurehead of the broken institutional system of the mental hospital. McMurphy pushes The institutions rules of order, bringing out the evil in the situation. Bromden, due to his bias narration, misconstrues Nurse Ratched as the antagonist where, in truth, she falsifies this by trying to maintain order and by ultimately seeking the best for her patients. Kesey chooses Bromden as the narrator, by doing this, he introduces an element of skepticism for the audience as Brombden opposes the institution.
His rebellious and free mind makes the patients open their eyes and see how the have been suppressed. His appearance is a breath of fresh air and a look into the outside world for the patients. This clearly weakens Nurse Ratched’s powers, and she sees him as a large threat. One way or another, McMurphy tends to instigate changes of scenery. He manages to move everyone away from her music and watchful eye into the old tube room.