In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey provides a storyline about personal experiences he saw occur in a mental asylum. Ken Kesey worked as a staff member in an insane asylum in Oregon. When he wrote the book, he was providing personal memories about the patients and other workers into a story. The entire novel is about patients that are checked into a mental asylum, and their unwillingness to act against the nurse. Throughout the novel, there is a theme of “manipulation” implied. The theme that manipulation is only a powerful tool if the victim is weak enough to not resist it is revealed through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and the patients in the mental institution.
The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey, presents the ideas about venerability and strength by using his characters and the way they interact with each other to establish whether they are a submissive or a dominant, tamed or leading, venerable or strong. Kesey uses strong personalities to show the drastic difference between someone who is vulnerable and someone who is strong. Nurse Ratchet is a perfect example of how Kasey presents the idea of strength over the venerability of others (the patients). Keys also exhibited vulnerability throughout characters such as Chief Bromden and his extensive habit of hiding himself in all means possible from Nurse Ratchet. Another idea presented by Kesey is a character’s false thought on what
This reveals that after constant manipulation the victims brain is traumatized and is left with an ability to find change. Lastly, most men in the ward find Nurse Ratched to be scary and something to be reckoned with. The fear of Nurse Ratched causes the men to see most women as scary monsters and something to be hated. For example Harding is revealed to have many problems with his wife. “Touch upon the—subject, Mr. McMurry, the subject of Mr. Harding’s problem with his wife” (Kesey, 436).
At some time-- perhaps in your childhood-- you may have been allowed to get away with flouting the rules of society” (Kesey171). Nurse Ratched said this to all the patients at the ward one day regarding them rebelling against the rules. This quote really showed how manipulative and mean Nurse Ratched could be. Ever since McMurphy came to the ward, everyone there decided to start a rebellion against Nurse Ratched and the ward policy. Many examples such as when McMurphy was carousing around the halls in his underwear, people not doing their chores, asking to change the schedule to watch the baseball game and breaking the nurse’s window to take back their cigarettes show there is a difference in the air at the ward.
The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey tells the story of a group of patients in a 1960s psychiatric hospital. The novel is told from the perspective of one of the patients who, up until the very end of the story, is mute. This character is named Bromden and because of the fact that he doesn’t speak, people think he is deaf. Bromden is in the psychiatric hospital because, although its is unclear whether he actually is skitzophrenic, he has been diagnosed as such. Bromden and many other psychiatric patients live in this ward, under the “command” of Nurse Ratched, nicknamed “Big Nurse”. Nurse Ratched is very bossy and strict with the patients in the ward. Many of the patients find her intimidating, until a new patient shows up
“One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” is a film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. The Film was released in 1975. It is the story of a convicted man, trying to outsmart the American legal system by playing mentally ill. The film starts at the beginning when the main character, Randle McMurphy, enters the mental institution. It won 6 Golden Globes as well as 5 Oscars and many other nominations. What separates this film from others is its’ use of movie devices and techniques, as well as the emotionally charged story.
Kesey has created Nurse Ratched as a representation of how the ward works. Nurse Ratched works the ward like a combine, when something goes in; broken pieces become the end result. When Nurse Ratched loses her first battle with McMurphy, she ends up “hollering and squealing” about the “discipline and order” she has instilled throughout her years working in the ward (128). Here, Kesey presents how this small act of rebellion affects Ratched system she has perfected over the years. Even though she is screaming about discipline and order, the patients continue to ignore her pleas and sit in front of the television watching nothing.
Fear is within everybody in the world, nobody can escape it and nobody can avoid encountering it. Fear can define many things: being unable to talk to others, having a rush of adrenaline because something is frightening , or just the fact that the task at hand is too hard to handle and someone could potentially yell at someone for not completing it. Fear is the main element in both the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest and the film The Ward.
In the ward, the only individual capable of undermining Nurse Ratched’s power is Randle McMurphy. By blatantly disregarding the nurse’s strict rules, standing up for himself, and encouraging other patients to do so, he creates a situation that jeopardizes the order Nurse Ratched has created. When McMurphy manages to get a fishing trip approved, granted he gets ten other patients to sign up, Nurse Ratched uses malicious methods to thwart his plans: “The nurse started steadily bringing in clippings from the newspapers that told about wrecked boats and sudden storms on coast” (Kesey 178). In order to dismantle the immense progress McMurphy has made towards changing the attitudes of the patients, Nurse Ratched discourages them from attending his trip. Her motive in doing this is to have the patients lose faith in McMurphy, ultimately destroying the influence he has over them.
The conflict between the two main character's Nurse Ratched and McMurphy serves as a bridge for the overarching theme of sexuality. Or to be more specific the battle of sexuality. In the book the two main characters represent both sides of the spectrum when it comes to sexuality concerning genders. Nurse Ratched represents feminism and McMurphy represents masculinity. With the two conflicting views of how the character’s believe the institution for the mentally ill should be run you can see more of the juxtaposition between the two.
Throughout Ken Kesey’s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the balance of power is challenged in the psychiatric ward. Out of the several leaders that appear in the novel, Nurse Ratched and McMurphy are the most prominent. During Nurse Ratched and McMurphy struggle for power, they share many of the same qualities. It is argued that: “McMurphy and Ratched are alike in intelligence, military service, distinctive (if opposite) clothing, and conventionally masculine qualities” (Evans). These small similarities; however, do not distract the characters from fighting for their individual beliefs.
In novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, a leader organizes a group of mental patients and rebels against the figurehead of the broken institutional system of the mental hospital. McMurphy pushes The institutions rules of order, bringing out the evil in the situation. Bromden, due to his bias narration, misconstrues Nurse Ratched as the antagonist where, in truth, she falsifies this by trying to maintain order and by ultimately seeking the best for her patients.
In the novel, McMurphy attacks the nurse brutally and attempts to kill her, “doctors and supervisors and nurses prying those heavy red fingers out of the white flesh of her throat as if they were her neck bones, jerking him backward” (Kesey 319). Also, the narrator shows mercy towards McMurphy by smothering him in his sleep, “and scissor the kicking legs with mine while I mashed the pillow into the face. I lay there on top of the body for what seemed days. Until the thrashing stopped” (323).
However, to Nurse Ratched, this window illustrates her dominance over the ward. “The Big Nurse watches all [that the patients do] through her window” (42). Kesey’s glass division between the sane and the insane demonstrates Nurse Ratched’s overall want of authority. Correspondingly, the Big Nurse is a wolf amongst the hospital full of rabbits. As Harding explains to McMurphy that the patients are essentially small rabbits in the forest that is the mental institution, he also notes that Nurse Ratched is the “strong wolf” that teaches the rabbits their place, much like the hierarchy of nature (61).
Nurse Ratched is the main antagonist who is a very cruel and manipulative nurse, in which all the characters seem to agree that she is out to get them. The other main female role is a hooker McMurphy knew before the hospital who plays a role of meeting the boys needs. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s