Chaos In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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No matter where one is the world their always exists two important elements. The element of chaos, and the element of control. Both of these elements find themselves rather clearly defined and on display in Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest”. The representative of chaos: Randell McMurphy, and of control: Nurse Ratched.. Throughout the novel the two spar over their conflicting ideologies on how life should be in the ward, and how the men there should act. Be it watching the World Series, bickering over the amount of cigarettes received, organizing a fishing trip with the other inmates, and other examples, a battle is fought not just between nurse Ratched and McMurphy, but between the forces of chaos and control themselves in …show more content…

The prostitute Candy and Sandy are snuck into the ward one night, where eventually Candy and Billy have sex and are discovered that morning by the staff and nurse Ratched along with the mess caused by the other patients (300). Billy is at first undeterred by Ratched’s words of disappointment, but is eventually broken by the nurse’s threat to tell his mother: “’Duh-duh-don’t t-tell, M-M-M-Miss Ratched’” (301). Nuirse Ratched is using this as a chance to gain the upper hand, and take back some control. Billy commits suicide, and in a fit of rage McMurphy attacks nurse Ratched and rips part of her clothing off. This is the quintessential moment where chaos and control have their last battle. McMurphy successfully tears away not just Ratched’s clothes, but also any shred of sway and fear she had over the patients; her control effectively gone: “. . . he’d smashed through that glass door, her face swinging around, with terror forever ruining any other look she might ever try to use again” (305). . McMurphy’s fate is sealed by this action however, and is taken away to receive a lobotomy. Many of the patients leave the ward as a result. When McMurphy’s shell of a body returns, Chief Bromden chooses to kindly smother it, assuring nurse Ratched cannot use it as a way to gain power over the other patients again, and then escapes, the control of Nurse Ratched no longer grasped onto him. McMurphy had become a “Christ” figure, and according to Carol Pearson “. . . combines the roles of Christ and fool”, the fool part representing McMurphy’s past attitudes and actions

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