Power In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Throughout the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest written by Ken Kesey, power is a recurring theme that also teaches the morals of responsibility in this novel. Power is something that can easily be abused when given to the wrong person, as demonstrated in the story through allusions and characters, such as the antagonist, Nurse Ratched, and the protagonist, Randle McMurphy. Without proper use of power, it may result in negative consequences, therefore it is important for one to use their power accordingly and responsibly, as demonstrated all throughout the novel. Firstly, the novel demonstrates the theme of power through making reference to a famous historical figure, Adolf Hitler. Harding makes a reference to Hitler while talking about …show more content…

Hitler an example. Fair makes the old brin reel, doesn’t it? Food for thought there.”” (Kesey, 238). In this quote, Harding mentions that being mentally ill could give them more power over others, while also making reference to Hitler, a man that had a crazy ideology with immense power over Germany in the past. Furthermore, this reference makes the readers reflect back on the actions and consequences of abuse of power, which evidently was the consequences of mass genocide of Jewish people. Therefore, this quote helps one understand the consequences of abusing power, while also relating back to the theme of the story. Additionally, in the later part of the quote Harding says; “...the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become” (Kesey, 238). This part tells the readers that since …show more content…

In the novel, the Black Boys are aides of Nurse Ratched, and only follow her orders or those of the higher ups. Additionally, these aides frequently bully the patients of the ward by taking things from them or forcing them to do their chores, resulting in all the patients being afraid of defying their orders. On the other hand, McMurphy, who has gained power during his short time in the ward, is not scared of these aides, and is able to stand up against them. He demonstrates his authority during the scene where one of the black boys, Sam, is trying to steal gum from Chief Bromden, and he stops him from doing so as shown through the quote; “The black boy jumped and swung his flashlight up in McMurphy’s eyes. “Now tell me, Sam; what the devil are you collectin’ that needs the cover of night?”” (Kesey, 216). In this quote, it shows that McMurphy shows no sign of fear when he is confronting Sam. Additionally, Sam is clearly caught off guard when McMurphy confronts him, therefore suggesting to the readers that he is more scared of McMurphy than he is of other patients. Furthermore, due to the fact that McMurphy was brave enough to confront the aide, it shows that he has enough power to be able to stand up against him without getting punished for doing so. In short, McMurphy demonstrates his power clearly by confronting the aide of Nurse Ratched, someone that is

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