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.
At the end of the book, after McMurphy has been lobotomized, the acutes in the ward decide that they will no longer be subdued to the cruelty of Nurse Ratched. As Chief says, “Sefelt and Fredrickson signed out together Against Medical Advice, and two days later another three Acutes left, and six more transferred to another ward” (246). Although McMurphy is no longer able to fight the Big Nurse, he has left a lasting impact that motivates the other patients to escape the system. McMurphy inspires change in the ward by showing the acutes that Nurse Ratched is less powerful than they believe, and that they have
McMurphy initially sees Nurse Ratched as an obstacle to his freedom and the freedom of the other patients. However, he quickly realizes that he can use her to his advantage. He begins to flirt with her and tries to seduce her, hoping to undermine her authority and gain power over the other patients. He also tries to provoke her into making mistakes, which he can then use to his advantage. For example, he encourages the other patients to rebel against her, knowing that she will respond with harsh punishments.
The table, a religious symbol, performs the function of destroying lives and making public examples of those who rebel against the ruling powers, while also symbolising crucifixion, and foreshadowing McMurphy’s inevitable sacrifice. Similar to Hitler, who concealed his actions from the German civilians, Nurse Ratched hid her ‘vile’ behaviour from outsiders. Through the despicable actions of Nurse Ratched, Kesey positions the reader to question the sinister notion of authoritative control. This is highlighted through Nurse Ratched’s manipulation of patients through her ‘democratic’ group meetings which were intended to transform the patients into ‘functioning, adjusted components’ ready to assimilate into society. Nurse Ratched maintained her position of power through her ‘pecking party’ where she manipulated patients into expelling shameful ‘confessions’ and performing humiliating
“ 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.
Nurse Ratched’s common pattern of classifying the patients made them feel worthless; she divided each patient into the chronic or acutes, as Chief Bromden explains, “What the chronics are—or most of us – are machines with flaws inside that cant be repaired flaws born in, or flaws neat in over so many years.” (Kesey 90.) McMurphy is driven to make a change due to the injustice shown toward the patients, and by doing so he allows the patients realize their self worth and sanity over time. McMurphy changes the course of life for many, meaning life or death for a majority of the patients living in the
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.
Nurse Ratched is the top nurse in charge and, she wishes nothing but dominate control over the men. Her voice gets polite and controlling when she gets angry with the patients. Her tightly rolled hair implies the horns on her head, lending a visual weight to her role as McMurphy’s
Nurse Ratched was very controlling and wanted complete power. This caused many of the patients to rebel and break loose from her control. McMurphy lead the ward in this uprising. From brushing his teeth too early to sneaking prostitutes into the ward, he shows Nurse Ratched that she cannot rule him. This story reminded me of Malala Yousafzai and her retaliation against the Taliban.
Throughout the beginning of the novel it is evident that some characters over use their powers, one of these characters being Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched uses her position in the ward to take advantage of the patients and make sure that they adhere to everyone of her daunting commands. Nurse Ratched “tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine” (Kesey 28) because she has been on the ward for so long that when something doesn 't go according to her plan, she starts to get mad and will often try to use her power to come down on the patient 's. Nurse Ratched is in control of the whole ward and when someone does something that isn 't in her manuscript she gets irritated. The ward will be run her way and only her way, “ under her rule the ward inside is almost completely adjusted to surroundings” (Kesey 28).
The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey, presents the ideas about venerability and strength by using his characters and the way they interact with each other to establish whether they are a submissive or a dominant, tamed or leading, venerable or strong. Kesey uses strong personalities to show the drastic difference between someone who is vulnerable and someone who is strong. Nurse Ratchet is a perfect example of how Kasey presents the idea of strength over the venerability of others (the patients). Keys also exhibited vulnerability throughout characters such as Chief Bromden and his extensive habit of hiding himself in all means possible from Nurse Ratchet. Another idea presented by Kesey is a character’s false thought on what
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.
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.
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.
The movie was mostly focused on the feud between the warden/nurse Ms. Ratched and McMurphy. McMurphy tried to go against the hard-set plan set by the institution. More he tried to establish dominance and leadership within the group. This threatened the nurse’s ways of subduing patients, and they felt of less importance in their own institution. This led to a bitter rivalry and because of it the nurse tried to subdue, with same techniques as with other patients, McMurphy even after realizing that he was not a mentally unstable person.