One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Analysis

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The 1960's were the beginning of social rebellions, like, women's rights movements and the Civil Rights Movement. Women in positions of authority were perceived as manipulators and castrators. For example, one of the most controversial points McMurphy makes in the book is the fear of women, and the women in the book are constantly described as threatening and terrifying figures. Most of the patients have been damaged by relationships with overpowering women. Chief's mom is portrayed as a castrating woman. Her husband took her last name and turned a big chief into a small, weak alcoholic. Chief says, she "got twice his size; she made him too little to fight anymore and he gave up" (page 187). By putting him down over and over again, she made herself stronger emotionally, in turn becoming bigger than her husband. Also the hospital, run mostly by women, treat only male patients. We see that through Nurse Ratched's administration, the ability they have to emasculate even the manliest and strongest men. An example of this could be when a patient named Rawler commits suicide by cutting off his own testicles. Chief then says, "all he had to do…show more content…
The mental hospital also acts like a metaphor for the oppression Kesey saw in modern society. Through Chief's narration we can see how he perceives the world around him and the pressures to conform. He sees society as a kind of machine and the hospital is basically for people who are broken or are missing bolts/pieces. And people who don't conform to society's rules are defective and are labeled as mentally ill and are institutionalized. In the book, the hospital is portrayed as a dangerous place. Patients Ellis, Ruckly, and Taber are given electroshock therapy until they become docile or vegetables. Chief sees Nurse Ratched as a "watchful robot, mechanically controlling the ward" (page
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