The Power Of Laughter In Nurse Ratched

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Nurse Ratched, the head administrative nurse at a mental institution, exercised her near-absolute power over every aspect of the patients’ lives. Over time, she gradually gained a strong position of power, which was only strengthened by her ability to determine the fates of her patients. She was presented as a controlling, yet peaceful character, ensuring that her calculate outlook on the patients was upheld on every measure. Her strong personality is not seen as superficial, rather permanent through many distractions, revealing a mechanical aspect to her presence. Her lack of emotion was an extreme patience, which she used as a weapon against the patients. Using constant, and persistent pressure on the patients made the men unaware of her…show more content…
He portrays laughter as a parallel to freedom in order to illustrate how the power of laughter can free a man who is under control of an unjust authority. It was stated that “when an individual is no longer capable of laughing, he is also no longer capable of being in control of himself”, which happens when a greater authority has the power to deny a person of their laughter, and inevitably, denies them of their freedom. The power of laughter was introduced by McMurphy, giving the patients the courage to stand against the truncated concept of masculinity seen in Nurse Ratched. Finding humor in everything was his way of keeping sane and resistant to the Combine and Ratched’s force to make him conform to the ward’s rules and policies. The men on the ward gradually began to laugh along which showed Mcmurphy's powerful influence on the patients. The laughter coming out of the men's mouths showed that they were beginning to resist to the Comine’s power, and regaining their own strength and individuality. After McMurphy arrives, Chief Bromden notices that his laughter was the first genuine laughter he had heard in years, therefore, it had become evident that the men slowly started to change, as the men on the ward started to laugh. McMurphy showed Chief Bromden that he had the ability to laugh and coincide with a group. These jokes and commissions helped enable the men defend against their anxieties, fear, anger and other disturbing emotions, as they were not capable of doing this in the past. The men could subdue any emotion that was too high strung in their system, and let it out in a melancholy form that helped them cope with problems no one else could really understand. As a result, the acutes started “grinning now, not so uneasy anymore”, and eventually little by little, the patients showed improvement with themselves and was portrayed by the ability not just to laugh, but laugh
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