Power In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Nurse Ratched’s Truth One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel with a clear engagement shown toward the reader regarding Nurse Ratched’s measures. Author Ken Kesey expresses Ratched’s actions through multiple altercations with other leading characters. The main conflict in this novel is how Nurse Ratched manipulates her power in the ward, and inevitably does not want to better her patients. This can be agreed upon based on her abuse of given power, how she treats her patients, and to what extent of life she will let them live. Firstly, Nurse Ratched is repeatedly seen abusing her power in which she has over the ward. Referring to a specific scene, Ratched manipulates a conversation between an overbearing patient, McMurphy, and guilts him …show more content…

“Do you want to know what I think? I think you are being very selfish. Haven’t you noticed there are others in this hospital besides yourself? There are old men here who couldn’t hear the radio at all if it were lower, old fellows who simply aren’t capable of reading, or working puzzles - or playing cards to win other men’s cigarettes. Old fellows like Matterson and Kittling, that music coming from the loudspeaker is all they have. And you want to take that away from them. We like to hear suggestions and requests whenever we can, but I should think you might at least give some thought to others before you make your requests” (Kesey 106). This interaction shows how Nurse Ratched can easily manipulate a conversation into a respect battle. She uses every fault a patient has against them, and makes them believe it is all because of what they were admitted for. This further supports how Ratched abuses her power as she then turns to more physical terms of manipulation over the patients. Lobotomies and electroshock therapy are nothing out of the norm for the patients residing in her ward. What Nurse …show more content…

The patients are frequently told that they will be lost and alone when let out. However, when McMurphy plans a way to get a touch of freedom, the patients begin to realize the restrictions Ratched puts against them. The narrator of the story, Chief Bromden, reflects, “Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy” (Kesey 211). This shows that the men maintaining their sanity in such an oppressive world cannot allow external forces to exert too much power. When a person succumbs to the bad experiences of humanity, they have no way of growth. All of these negative external forces on the patients’ lives all lead to Nurse Ratched. For the patients to be able to leave the ward and realize her restrictions on them “- it reveals that the mental hospital is hindering, not aiding, their recoveries and ultimate return to life outside the institution” (Cyclopedia of Literary Places 2015). This provides a strong argument showing how Nurse Ratched truly does not try to better her patients, but she just tries to keep them under her

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