One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Individuality Analysis

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A line of identically dressed men lined up perfectly, versus men in their own clothes conversing with each other in clumps. A meticulously calculated routine with no room for changes versus general rules that allow for freedom. A tight, pristine white uniform versus boxers covered in cartoon whales. Conformity versus individuality. In the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, one of the themes explored is the battle between conformity and individuality. This battle is hashed out between the two characters: Nurse Ratched and Randle McMurphy. In McMurphy’s world of individuality, everything is laid back, cheerful and lighthearted, while the Nurse’s world of conformity is uptight, heartless and mechanical. Nurse’s conformist attitude is reflected through her reaction to McMurphy’s singing, and walking around in a towel. Once she processes McMurphy’s disregard for ward policy, “her nostrils flare open...when she rumbles past she’s already big as a truck, trailing that wicker bag behind her exaust like a semi behind a Jimmy Diesel” (87). Nurse Ratched quickly loses her composure since McMurphy’s behavior is not…show more content…
While The Big Nurse throws a horrifying tantrum about all the rules that McMurphy is breaking, McMurphy remains strong and steadfast. He makes a bold move and “winks at the nurse and shrugs and wraps the towel, drapes it over her shoulder like she was a wooden rack...I can see he had his shorts on under his towel all along...she’s glaring at those big white whales leaping round on his shorts in pure outrage” (90). McMurphy’s playful personality due to his individuality, helps him win this battle against the uptight nurse. He is able to let her insistent fit roll right off of his back, and does not let the Nurse’s conformity affect him the way that his individuality cripples her. Overall, Kesey believes that individuality will ultimately
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