Impact Of Mcmurphy In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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McMurphy’s Impact on the Ward
After two patients commit suicide shortly after McMurphy’s arrival, one may question, did McMurphy have an overall positive impact on the ward? The psychological drama, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey is told through the point of view of patient Chief Bromden, a schizophrenic man who has been in the ward for over ten years. Nurse Ratched, the head nurse of the ward, abuses her power by utilizing several therapy techniques which are debilitating to the patients. However, her power is challenged when new patient Randle McMurphy arrives on the ward. McMurphy is loud, talkative, and confident, a direct contrast to the rest of the patients. He quickly becomes an influential figure for the patients and …show more content…

After a day of freedom and fun during the fishing trip, Chief recalls his happier past and how the day’s events reminded him of it. “I noticed vaguely that I was getting so’s I could see some good in the life around me. McMurphy was teaching me. I was feeling better than I’d remembered feeling since I was a kid, when everything was good and the land was still singing kids’ poetry to me.” (256) Chief realizes the significant change in his morale and happiness due to the events of the fishing trip. He recalls the last time that he felt happy, when he was still a kid still living on the land with his family and community. During the fishing trip, Chief spent the day drinking alcohol, catching fish, and laughing with his friends, just like a “normal” man would. The sense of community and peace he feels during this trip reminds him of simpler memories from when he was a child. He realizes that he doesn’t have to constantly live in fear and numbness under the jurisdiction of the ward. Instead, McMurphy teaches him that he can make the most out of his life and enjoy it to the fullest. This is likely to be the first time he felt truly happy since he entered the ward almost ten years ago, and he recognizes that it is all thanks to McMurphy. “McMurphy helps to build the Chiefs confidence by signing his name to the fishing list, and by convincing him that he can once again feel tall and strong—strong enough, in fact, to lift the cement console in the tub room.” (“One Flew”) At first, Chief was hesitant to sign up for the fishing trip because he was scared, but McMurphy talked him into it and signed Chief’s name on the list. McMurphy helps Chief take the first step in improving his self-confidence and strength. By doing this, he also inspires Chief to take initiative for himself the next time he wants something. So, the next time Chief gets “stuck in the fog”, he takes it upon himself to regain

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