One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Critical Analysis

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Looking through his kaleidoscopic drug altered eyes, Ken Kesey has used the the power of words to enlighten us about the world of a mental institution. In his novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Kesey is able to illustrate his life experiences through the characters of Nurse Ratched, a depiction of the setting; McMurphy, the American Hero; and Chief Bromden, Kesey’s own self reflection. Kesey strategically uses Nurse Ratched to personify the 1950’s by incorporating the desire for conformity and the use of cruelty from his experiences into the novel. Uniformity was common and expected in the era when Kesey was working at the institution (Culture). Nurse Ratched reflects this time period, in her personality, as she tries to keep her ward in order. In the beginning of the novel, Chief states that “when a completed product [patient] goes back out into society, all fixed up good as new ... it brings joy to the Big Nurse’s heart,” (Kesey 25). By having her patients believe this, Nurse Ratched shows that her true purpose in the ward is to mend individuals so that they may be re-accepted by society. Society, just like Big Nurse, manipulates its ways to get every individual to conform to it.? If she is not able to complete this task, she takes a different route, cruelty. The harsh manner that Big Nurse exhibits her characteristics is a direct display of what Kesey believes is the corrupted and “abusive [mental institution] system” (Ken Kesey Bio). Nurse Ratched threatens the
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