McMurphy is the joker needed to save the men from paralyzing angst and lack of self-confidence. He accomplishes this by exposing the men to new experiences and stirring conflict with the nurses and guards. The antagonist of the film is Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who is the chief caretaker of the patients. Her character is the antithesis of McMurphy as she is cold and follows the rules absolutely. At every instance McMurphy tries to free the patients of routine Nurse Ratched is there to corral the men back to mundanity.
Kesey’s representation of women in this novel illustrate them in a poor light that makes it obvious that they don’t fit the ideal womanly persona. 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
Society in the ‘60s was based around the men, and the women could not do much without their husbands, they had very little rights, and were losing more as men came back from war. The book, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest is about a mental ward that just received a new patient, Randle McMurphy, who was previously at a work farm for many crimes committed. McMurphy thought it would be more comfortable for him in a mental hospital. He was quite wrong, the woman in charge of his unit, Nurse Ratched, was very hard on her patents using abuse, medication, and electroshock therapy to keep her patients in fear of her and the outside world. These two are accustomed of being the top dogs and do not get along well, they battle for power throughout the book.
Black e mo…”(Morrison 65) This forced her to become angry and since she has no one to shout at without being shouted back at, she ends the cycle being at the lowest of the low. So she starts to believe everything that she is told is true. All of this harassment from everyone in her life pushes her emotional and mental capacity to the breaking point until she drowns in the pursuit of trying to fix everything that she has ever been picked on for. She becomes insane and disconnected from reality, living in her own bubble of a world. Gaines uses a similar setting in A Gathering of old men to produce the same thematic conclusion.
The thought that men are strong and superior to women led the science field to disassociate mental disorders with men but completely attribute them with women. “Gender and Pathology In ‘The Yellow-Wallpaper’” by Juliann Fleenor the “female sickness” is what in those times was known as female hysteria. Which in today’s terms would have been some sort of depression or even stress-related illness, but nonetheless it was attributed as something that happened exclusively to women. In “The Yellow-Wallpaper” the protagonist’s husband is a physician that has her locked up in her house without being able to do anything, because the
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.
During the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, American society looked negatively on psychiatric wards and how to treat those that inhabited the wards along with the women that were fighting strongly for equality in the workplace, and in the community. In the wards of America, harsh operations were bestowed upon patients in hopes that it would cure whatever ailment the patient suffered from. In society, women fought for equality, and at times had impacts stronger than man. Ken Kesey accurately shows the struggle of the patients of a psychiatric ward that struggle with the impact of a stronger matriarchal society. By writing while experiencing the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shows the struggles faced throughout the nineteen-fifties and sixties while also finding multiple ways to show the readers his realist views on life.
Did you not know that men are the true creators in our culture, Mother? They mould our lives and destinies according to their whims and desires’. (The Holy Woman, p.88) The Holy Woman, by Qaisra Shahraz, encapsulates the restrictions on the lives of women living under patriarchy. The Holy Woman highlights how the powerful social structures and feudal customs, centred on female body and sexuality, restrict women and are difficult to challenge. These customs and tradition are often nurtured, strengthened and kept alive through violent and unjust actions centred on women.
Kesey has used characterisation to get the idea that in this novel there are aspects of venerability and strength. In Nurse Ratched’s case, Kesey has made it so that she is shown with strength and power over the whole ward, including the black men in white, other nurses, and mainly the patients. An example of Nurse Ratched’s power over the patients is when she says to Billy Bibbit, “What worries me, Billy, ' she said- I could hear the change in her voice- 'is how your mother is going to take this.” This shows how one sentence was able to debilitate Billy into begging Nurse for forgiveness and restraint of telling his mother. There is an obvious idea presented by Kesey that the Nurse is dominant over Billy, who has become very vulnerable. Nurse Ratched is shown as a character of strength by the way the writer has created her character.
The men would think that they are still stronger than the women when in actuality they are already equal. Women have been taking advantage of this opportunity to slowly gain power on men. The scene where the other ruler is trying to serve all of Matabagka’s wishes is a great allegory that the conflict between men and women before has now reversed today but Matabagka is not yet content with this. Besides having all of her requests granted, she still wants the power of Ipo-Ipo and Bagyo and when she got it, tragedy happened. Her mom died and her whole kingdom was in chaos.