In Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the universal message that authority can be enforced through matriarchal practices which forces inferior individuals to conform to society’s standards is prevalent throughout the novel. Characters throughout the novel depict the possible outcomes of someone subject to conformity under matriarchal authority. Nurse Ratched is the epitome of conformity. She uses her power to instill fear in her patients and her authority forces them to conform to society’s standards. Patients throughout the novel experience a conflict of man vs. society. Part one of the novel is an in-depth explanation of Nurse Ratched’s authority and the power she holds over the ward. Part two is an illustration of how fearful …show more content…
Nurse Ratched’s character is vile in enforcing conformity. She picks her staff to her liking and exercises her authority as she pleases, ensuring that she has total control over the ward. Chief states, “Year by year she accumulates her ideal staff: doctors, all ages and types, come and rise up in front of her with ideas of their own about the way a ward should be run, some with backbone enough to stand behind their ideas, and she fixes these doctors with dry-ice eyes day in, day out until they retreat with unnatural chills” (Kesey 29). Nurse Ratched is detrimental to the men’s physical and mental health. She keeps herself superior to the men through emasculation and shame. The men blindly conform to Nurse Ratched because they will not challenge her or her …show more content…
The men have a party with prostitutes McMurphy is familiar with; they get drunk, take pills, and engage in sexual activities. The morning after, the men face Nurse Ratched, who is targeting Billy Bibbit. She plays on his fear of his mother, she threatens to tell her what he has done. Big Nurse uses her authority and relationship with his mom to put Billy to shame and emasculate him. Big Nurse’s attitude towards Billy causes him to accuse the men of forcing him to engage with the lady. Eventually, he can not take the pressure anymore and commits suicide. Big Nurse accuses McMurphy of Billy’s death, and this causes him to attack her. She has lost total control over the ward, after she returns to the institute things have completely changed. She tries to gain complete control again by making an example out of McMurphy. He is lobotomized and put through electroshock therapy; after these harsh treatments, he is left in a completely vegetative state. Nurse Ratched uses him as an example of “what will happen if someone challenges me”. Chief smothers McMurphy because he refuses to let his friend be an example of Nurse Ratched’s conformity
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Nurse Ratched is dominant, racist, and unfair in every way possible. Chief’s description of her physical appearance includes comparing her to a “tractor” where he can “smell the machinery inside” (5) and the way she “walks stiff” (4). Sticking someone like Chief, who is innocent but insane, in a setting like this is what fails him from ever getting
Many of the men in the ward suffer from low self-esteem and self-respect. The orderlies constantly breakdown the patients and demote their individualty through many different ways. Nurse Ratched taking advantage of their vulnerability “‘you men in this hospital’ she would say like she was repeating it for the hundreth time, ‘because of your proven inability to adjust to society’”(Kesey 167) Nurse Ratched repeatedly destructs the patients on the ward and manipulates them to belive they are incapable of ever being able to function as a part of society. This displays the amount of control the orderlies have on the patients and the amount they take advantage of that, as well. This example ties into the self-doubt and uncertainty the men in the book have in
At the beginning of the novel, the rules in the ward are strict, and no one dares to go against them; the workers have the power, and the patients follow what they are told. Nurse Ratched exerts this power over the people by saying, “You’re committed, you realize. You are…under the jurisdiction of me…the staff” (Kesey 144). At the beginning of the novel, the power of Nurse Ratched and the staff is superior, and the patients on the ward do not fight for what they believe in. However, throughout the novel, McMurphy’s compelling and powerful ways transform the ward into a group of individuals who fight together for what they want in the ward.
This behavior is due to her initial representation of an authoritarian figure who controls every aspect of their lives on the ward and their fear of retribution if they speak out against her. In the early stages of the novel, Nurse Ratched uses several tactics to maintain her control over the hospital and its patients. One of her primary tactics is to establish a rigid and authoritarian system of rules and regulations that leave no room for deviation or individuality. She strictly enforces these rules, punishing patients who disobey them with electroshock therapy or confinement. Additionally, she manipulates the patients by offering small privileges, such as sleeping in or access to the dayroom, as rewards for conforming to her expectations.
This take from Kašpárková emphasises the fact that Nurse Ratched is always in control and fights to stay there. Nurse Ratched is actively working to break out of a shoebox of misogyny and into
Heartless, cruel, and sadistic are all words people may use to characterize Nurse Ratched. She keeps dictatorial control over her patients, shatters patients' self worth, and is the symbol of evil and oppression in the novel. She treats patients with this authority so that they let her control them, and Kesey through the use of Ratched shows why it’s crucial to stand up and rebel against oppressive authority. Ratched would ruthlessly undermine her patients self worth to a degree where they would become compliant and submissive to her control. The best example of this is how she treats Billy Bibbit, a young, insecure, and vulnerable patient.
Chief characterizes the Nurse as almost robotic in her manipulation and intimidation. In the first chapter of the book, Chief Bromden illustrates how Nurse Ratched uses her position in the ward to control the patients. Chief says, “The big nurse recognizes this fear and knows how to put it to use; she’ll point out to an Acute, whenever he goes into a sulk, that you boys be good boys and cooperate with the staff policy which is engineered for your cure, or you’ll end up over on that side” (18). Nurse Ratched uses her power in the ward to manipulate and control the patients. This is important because with the Nurse's control, the patients are unable to think and act for themselves.
The hospital ward is controlled and dominated by Nurse Ratched, who has over the years gained enough power to now control every thing and person in the ward. She runs the ward—outfit—like a “smooth, accurate, precision-made machine”(22). She is intolerant of any deviation or variation from the regiment that she has been accustomed to imposing. She manipulates the ward by using a perfect system of punishments, rewards and interpersonal conflict. For example, Chief tells about how she will reward the inmates with extra sleep in the mornings if they rat on each other by writing down information in Nurse Ratched’s logbook.
Chief Bromden depicts McMurphy as a loud mouthed, cocky con-man. Chief says that you can hear McMurphy from down the hall, he describes him as the perfect match to go up against Nurse Ratched. Mr. —Zubizarreta then compares McMurphy to the character of the movie, The Goonies and in we crave for their success and want to see them win at the end. This article shows great detail about how the matchup between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy affected the rest of the characters. I will use this throughout the research
All of these negative external forces on the patients’ lives all lead to Nurse Ratched. For the patients to be able to leave the ward and realize her restrictions on them “- it reveals that the mental hospital is hindering, not aiding, their recoveries and ultimate return to life outside the institution” (Cyclopedia of Literary Places 2015). This provides a strong argument showing how Nurse Ratched truly does not try to better her patients, but she just tries to keep them under her
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
Nurse Ratched is a harsh, dictatorial woman who manipulates her patients in order to keep her extreme power. “She smiles and closes her eyes again and shakes her head gently. " Of course, you may take the suggestion up with the rest of the staff at some time, but I'm afraid everyone's feelings will correspond with mine” (Kesey). Even though readers do not get to see the Big Nurse outside of the hospital and her strict personality, she uses the mistreatment of the patients as a defense of events from her personal life. Despite her acting as if she has total regulation of the ward, Nurse Ratched is actually unstable in her life, feeling vulnerable by the patients because they bring up the idea that she may not be mentally secure
There is an obvious idea presented by Kesey that the Nurse is dominant over Billy, who has become very vulnerable. Nurse Ratched is shown as a character of strength by the way the writer has created her character. Nurse Ratched is also seen as a strong figure by the way the other characters talk about her, for example when Chief says “To beat her you don 't have to whip her two out of three or three out of five, but every time you meet. As soon as you let down your guard, as soon as you lose once, she 's won for good.” The writer has used this line to show us how both Chief and the other patient give her the strong and authoritative