Prostitution In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Today’s society is one in which women can assume positions of power, without being regarded as bitches or being told that they are for men to take. We usually do not take these women as emasculating, or oppressive towards men; although they can be, generally, they are not. In the book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest however, the female characters, with the exception of prostitutes and one of the nurses, are often portrayed as castrators or ‘ball cutters’. It becomes quite clear that, as we progress through the story, we see that the patients have been psychologically affected negatively, as a result of dealing with the overpowering and emasculating female characters. Furthermore, the patients seem to agree that the women, especially Nurse…show more content…
Firstly, we learn that Bromden came into the hospital as an acute, but thanks to Nurse Ratched’s ‘treatments’, he became a chronic. In addition, Bromden himself thinks he “used to be big, but not no more” (pg. 187). This shows us how Nurse Ratched, in addition to other women, have belittled him to the point where he has lost his strength and size. Secondly, as we read through the novel, we become acquainted with Bromden’s father, the Chief, who loses everything, and goes from a strong Indian chief, to a weak, small alcoholic. We learn that Bromden’s mother would make herself bigger by putting him down, and stripping him of his masculinity. It is mentioned that his father takes his mother's name, which is the ultimate sacrifice and represents his loss of manhood. Bromden mentions that his mother “made him too little to fight anymore and he gave up.” (Pg. 188). Likewise, we can see the same effect on Billy Bibbit, who is treated like a child by his mother and Nurse Ratched. Billy mentions that the first word he said was a stutter, “m-m-m-mama.” (Pg. ), and at one point, Nurse Ratched calls him a “poor boy, poor little boy.” (Pg. 273). By doing this, Billy’s mother prevents him from developing sexually, but through sexual intercourse with Candy, he is able to briefly revive his manhood. Once Nurse Ratched threatens to call his mother however, fearing what may happen, Billy commits suicide. For contrast purposes, Kesey portrays the nurse in charge of the disturbed ward as the ideal authoritative female in between Nurse Ratched and the whores (Candy and Sandy); a kind and nurturing woman who bandages McMurphy and flirts with
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