Power Struggle In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo

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Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest follows the power struggle between Nurse Ratched, a head nurse in a psychiatric ward, and Randle Patrick McMurphy, a felon pretending insanity to escape prison. Ironically, though Nurse Ratched holds position as caretaker, she actually does the complete opposite and inflicts pain on the patient's. When McMurphy then goes on to realizes that he is at Nurse Ratched’s mercy. He begins to submit to her because he wants to leave. However, when he finds out that she is the one who causes Billy Bibbit to commit suicide. McMurphy then proceeds to attack Ratched and attempts to strangle her. Unfortunately, like Billy Bibbit, McMurphy becomes a victim of Nurse Ratched’s wrath which teaches the truism: never…show more content…
We need a good strong wolf like the nurse to teach us our place.”(Kesey 57-58). He places the nurse in a higher position in the food chain because she is of higher power in reality he places everyone including the doctor as rabbits because they are inferior to the nurse as well as in the wild. Which goes to show that she is inferior to everyone, even the doctor who is suppose to be at a higher ranking than she is. For example, whenever someone tries to defies her she attacks and never lets her guard…show more content…
In the end, Nurse Ratched is proven to be superior by sending McMurphy to get lobotomized. When he returns he is practically unrecognizable “We stood at the foot of the Gurney, reading the chart, the looked up to the other end at the head dented into the pillow, a swirl of red hair over a face milk-white except for the heavy purple bruising around the eyes.”(Kesey,277) Scanlon proceeds to say: “That ain’t him”(Kesey,277) which Martini agrees saying: “ nothing like him”(Kesey,277) which goes to prove that they're in denial about it being McMurphy. Who once was a carefree, loud soul is now a Vegetable all because of Nurse Ratched. He not only mentally dies, but later on also physically dies in the hands of Chief Bromden, who can’t bare to see Nurse Ratched win and because Chief know he will never be the same man as he once was. The irony is that McMurphy first enters the ward as sane as can be to never leaving the place of corrupt ruling because he ends up dying in the ward. According to Jean Griffon she expresses that “This conflict is further complicated by Kersey’s use of Christ imagery to describe McMurphy, leading readers to regularly accept McMurphy’s death as a selfless sacrifice for the greater good. This particular reading can only result from readers missing the irony.”(Griffin 25) However it is also ironic because he is seen as a heroic figure to the patients and usually in

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