One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By Ken Kesey

902 Words4 Pages

The novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, is viewed as a tragedy when tracking McMurphy’s and Billy Bibbit’s plot, however, is also portrayed as comedic when tracking the societal transformation caused by McMurphy. When observing both McMurphy’s and Billy Bibbit’s tragic endings, the novel is portrayed as a tragedy. Toward the end of the novel, Billy Bibbit sleeps with Candy, an old friend of McMurphy’s. The night that Billy spent with Candy relieves him from his stutter and anxiety. However, when Nurse Ratched finds out that they slept together, she yells at Billy, threatening to call his mother, and ultimately, reviving his stutter and anxiety. Billy responds to this threat, saying, “You d-don’t n-n-need” (Kesey 315). Because …show more content…

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. For example, when McMurphy proposes that they change the television time to the afternoon, the group unites as one to fight against the villain, Nurse Ratched, for what they want. The novel states that the men were “raising [their hands] not just for watching TV, but against the Big Nurse… against the way she talked and acted and beat them down for years” (Kesey 140). Because McMurphy helps the patients recognize the oppression and control that Nurse Ratched and the staff have over the ward, they unite to gain more influence and power, starting with small changes such as changing the television time. With this, the society transforms from a weak group of individuals to a more influential and united community of patients. This reflects the transformation aspect of comedy, as the society grows and changes to become bonded and powerful. Additionally, when McMurphy is not doing his work, he influences others to stand up against Nurse Ratched. The book states, “Harding shuts off the buffer, and leaves it in the hall, and goes pulls him a chair up alongside McMurphy and sits down and flights him a cigarette” (Kesey 144). McMurphy’s powerful influence

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