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. Both McMurphy and Nurse Ratched approached their leadership in different ways. McMurphy uses transformational leadership, which is a leader that “must perform some combination of the transactional functions (plan, direct, organize, control) in order to build respect and trust… [and the] leader gets people to work towards some higher purpose or goal” (O’Connor). In other words, it is a leader who achieves a “higher goal”, while “build[ing] respect and trust” from the people. On the other hand, Nurse Ratched uses authoritarian leadership, which is when “Policies [are] determined by the leader. [The] leader determines what each member should do and with whom he should work… 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
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, published in 1962, tells the story of men in a psychiatric ward and focuses on two characters called McMurphy and Bromden, and their defiance towards the institution’s system. A critical factor in this novel are the women. The 1960’s played a significant role in changing the norms of social issues, and the perfect idea of women was changing too. Women were no longer just stay at home wives, but had their own voice in society, and many people did not agree with these untraditional views. Kesey’s representation of women in this novel illustrate them in a poor light that makes it obvious that they don’t fit the ideal womanly persona. Nurse Ratched is the main antagonist who is a very cruel and manipulative nurse, in which all the characters seem to agree that she is out to get them. The other main female role is a hooker McMurphy knew before the hospital who plays a role of meeting the boys needs. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
The Beat Generation of the 1950’s and early 1960’s encouraged a new lifestyle for young Americans striving for individualism and freedom, which included rock and roll music, long hair, relaxed style attire, vegetarianism, and experimenting with drugs (“Beat Movement”). Many young Americans of this era wanted to experiment with new social and cultural concepts, rebelling against “normal” American life. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey, portrays the gruesomeness of conformity through the lives of patients in one of the asylum’s wards. The novel shows how the patients are confined to strict rules and limited freedom because of Nurse Ratched’s power. The Beat Generation wanted change because of this conformity, by rebelling against the rules and structure of society. In the text, Kesey implies that conformity is damaging because he believed that conformity and mental institutions negatively impact the patients by destroying their self-esteem, while many in the ‘50s and early ‘60s believed mental institutions helped someone become a normal member of society.
In Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ the main character and narrator, Chief Bromden, is noticeably stuck inside his own head as he acts deaf and dumb to escape the pressures of being a part of something. As the novel moves on, for someone who’s perception of living is to stay transparent and withdrawn totally inside himself the Chief takes a transformation from his delusional mind and gains strength physically and mentally, creating a journey towards freedom and finally, breaking free from the ward and from himself. Kesey uses the transformation to unravel a number of ideas about the importance of freedom and explores how the pressures of society can lead individuals to conform within themselves. The theories Chief believes
The conflict between the two main character's Nurse Ratched and McMurphy serves as a bridge for the overarching theme of sexuality. Or to be more specific the battle of sexuality. In the book the two main characters represent both sides of the spectrum when it comes to sexuality concerning genders. Nurse Ratched represents feminism and McMurphy represents masculinity. With the two conflicting views of how the character’s believe the institution for the mentally ill should be run you can see more of the juxtaposition between the two. Nurse Ratched who ruled with an iron handed fist to keep her distance away from the patients of the ward and establish her role of a women in power in the institution. This from the beginning of the book sets a
“Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm being repressed!”
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey reveals the insensitive treatment and dehumanization of the mentally ill. The origin of the book is a story of an individual in a mental hospital. Ken Kesey’s character observes the daily life in a psych ward and reveals
Due to the structure in place by Nurse Ratched’s orders, all patients must participate in therapeutic meetings, where they have a group discussion with the nurse and Dr. Spivey. These discussions specifically target one patient where the others proceed to humiliate them. When Bromden narrates a meeting of this nature, Harding, another patient, is the one under harsh criticism, “The group is still tearing into Harding when when two o’clock rolls around” (Kesey 53). In the ward, the nurse has created an environment where the patients do not feel safe. She pits them against each other using methods such as the therapeutic meetings, which cause the patients to feel as though they cannot trust one another. 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
“He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum” (Kesey 154). In this modern world, to come to terms with society is to conform to its standards. When a person does not fit the standard mold of a society, they are scrutinized for their divergence. Forcing people to follow a societal norm is detrimental to the health of the mind and body. The struggle between conformers and non conformers creates a schism in society. In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey asserts the overarching importance of individuality through the use of a conflict between the patients and the nurse as a microcosm of society.
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. While the Big Nurse may look flawless, her porcelain exterior is a mask to her true personality. Her appearance indicates a polished, helpful treatment for incoming patients, but this twisted perfection
First of all, it is unjust for people who are deemed unalike from others in society to be forced into the preset way of conduct because human tend to have dissimilar nature. In the novel, Kesey employs many characters, each with unique features. For example, Dale Harding, one of the protagonists in the story, was described as, “... a flat, nervous man ...”(Kesey 20) and in one of the group discussion lead by Nurse Ratched, he was reported of saying
Ken Kesey uses his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to describe the lives of patients in a mental institution, and their struggle to overcome the oppressive authority under which they are living. Told from the point of view of a supposedly mute schizophrenic, the novel also shines a light on the many disorders present in the patients, as well as how their illnesses affect their lives during a time when little known about these disorders, and when patients living with these illnesses were seen as an extreme threat. Chief Bromden, the narrator of the novel, has many mental illnesses, but he learns to accept himself and embrace his differences. Through the heroism introduced through Randle McMurphy, Chief becomes confident in himself, and is ultimately able to escape from the toxic environment Nurse Ratched has created on the ward. Chief has many disorders including schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and, in addition to these illnesses, he pretends to be deaf and dumb. This combination of many mind and life altering diagnoses leads to an interesting point of view, and a deeper look into the lives of people living with the
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. In Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, women are portrayed as the power figures
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