Cuckoo's Nest: Authority And Power

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Meadow Neubauer-Keyes Kozak 2nd Hour - Prompt 1 19 April 2023 Graded Essay #3 Authority and power are some of the most abused concepts in any society, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey exhibits this dynamic flawlessly. Kesey portrays a microcosm of American society in a mental institution led by a woman called Nurse Ratched. The administration of the mental institution manipulates the population of the hospital into subordination. Through the lens of a schizophrenic man with a warped sense of reality and his perception of a feisty peer, Kesey communicates the necessity of confrontation and rebellion when there is injustice and the consequences of blind acceptance of biased and ill-intentioned authority. Throughout One Flew …show more content…

Years before Chief Bromden arrives at the psychiatric institution, he watches as a group of old white men appear at his home to swindle Bromden's father into selling them their land. Bromden remembers speaking to them and being ignored and listening to them converse about their premeditated exploitation of their land. He remembers feeling invisible and insignificant, as this was one of the contributing factors to his phony deafness. He is scared and exploited into silence. While at the ward Bromden's sense of self exponentially diminishes as he views himself as weak and unimportant. He is a physically large person but due to years of belittlement, Bromden succumbs to the societal pressures of the ward and loses himself. Everyone in the ward including himself believes he is nothing but weak and dumb. One of the biggest forms of oppression the authority in the ward imposed was dehumanization. Nurse Ratched's office resides behind a panel of glass that she uses as a barrier between her and the men of the ward but also to watch them and make sure they are following the rules. The men are subject to the treatment of a zoo animal and are robbed of their rights to privacy, they are all scared Nurse Ratched will catch them doing something wrong. Randle P. McMurphy smashes this glass in an act of rebellion. This was one of the …show more content…

Chief Bromden and his experiences with the hierarchy in the psychiatric ward are a metaphor for the implications of the hierarchy of American society. First seen in colonial America, Native Americans suffered from repetitive exploitation and the robbery of their culture and land, forcing them into submission. Kesey highlights this injustice by illuminating certain impacts white Americans are still having on Native American and minority populations. Corruption is inherent in power and many times there aren't enough restrictions in place to prevent this dynamic from having severe implications. Although the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans the right to assembly and free speech, many are killed in doing so, and subsequently others are scared that if they do the same they will be killed too. Luckily, Bromden wasn't killed, but he was severely traumatized and abused, just as many Americans are now. Police officers and military officials whose jobs are to protect Americans, instead have a reputation for inflicting harm on innocent civilians. Phenomena like these display some of the biggest problems with American society and the social hierarchy within it. An inability to stand up for what is wrong prevents positive change from occurring. One of the greatest problems with society is ignorance, and the most inhibiting factor of

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