Freedom is a river that maintains and nourishes the people along its borders to develop individuality and power. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, the author describes the sterile environment run by the sadistic Nurse Ratched through the eyes of one of the patient's: Chief Bromden. Under Nurse Ratched’s oppressive power, the patients live with restricted freedom until Randle McMurphy arrives at the ward. The novel suggests, through the use of symbolism and metaphors, that the ward operates similarly to the world in reality, which suppresses people into mindless machines that are detached from society and their own selves.
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, published in 1962, tells the story of men in a psychiatric ward and focuses on two characters called McMurphy and Bromden, and their defiance towards the institution’s system. A critical factor in this novel are the women. The 1960’s played a significant role in changing the norms of social issues, and the perfect idea of women was changing too. Women were no longer just stay at home wives, but had their own voice in society, and many people did not agree with these untraditional views. 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
Within the mental institution, operations are conducted in a smooth, orderly manner. Day-to-day activities are monitored by Nurse Ratched and her “black boys,” who present intimidating figures. They strive to maintain control over the patients, who are divided into two distinct groups: the Acutes (young, able-bodied men) and the Chronics (mostly wheelchair-bound, older men, with virtually
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, considers the qualities in which society determines sanity. The label of insanity is given when someone is different from the perceived norm. Conversely, a person is perceived as sane when their behavior is consistent with the beliefs of the majority. Although the characters of this novel are patients of a mental institution, they all show qualities of sanity. The book is narrated by Chief Brodmen, an observant chronic psychiatric patient, who many believe to be deaf and dumb. The question of sanity becomes apparent when McMurphy, a confident gambler, who might have faked psychosis in order to get out of the work farm, is assigned to the mental hospital. He quickly stirs up tension in the ward for Nurse Ratched by encouraging the men to have fun and rebel against her rules.
The Beat Generation of the 1950’s and early 1960’s encouraged a new lifestyle for young Americans striving for individualism and freedom, which included rock and roll music, long hair, relaxed style attire, vegetarianism, and experimenting with drugs (“Beat Movement”). Many young Americans of this era wanted to experiment with new social and cultural concepts, rebelling against “normal” American life. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey, portrays the gruesomeness of conformity through the lives of patients in one of the asylum’s wards. The novel shows how the patients are confined to strict rules and limited freedom because of Nurse Ratched’s power. The Beat Generation wanted change because of this conformity, by rebelling against the rules and structure of society. In the text, Kesey implies that conformity is damaging because he believed that conformity and mental institutions negatively impact the patients by destroying their self-esteem, while many in the ‘50s and early ‘60s believed mental institutions helped someone become a normal member of society.
In Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, humor is present in an influential form. Not all insane people have the capacity to laugh or find the humor in something as would normal people are capable of. Most people live terrible realities, drifting day by day in the plain, depressing in the place of an asylum. Patients have forgotten how to live because they are under the commanding rule of the head nurse, and under the behavior effect of drug doses and overbearing orderlies. The patients’ laughter is a therapeutic form. In the novel laughter play a major role by representing a type of freedom and an escape from nurse Ratched’s restrictions.
In “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, the role of manipulation is integral to showing the complexities of each character, and creates a set of standards in which right and wrong become indistinguishable in a human struggle for dignity and survival. The characters of McMurphy and Nurse Ratched show this most vividly, and the complex combination of manipulation and a human lust for survival come together in the end, in which the dignity of all involved is compromised. As a strategy of self-preservation and a grab for power,, manipulation comprises both good and evil: both the deep human need to survive and the deep human desire to maintain control. This is shown through McMurphy’s manipulation of the other patients, Nurse Ratched 's manipulation of everyone, and the patients manipulation of McMurphy.
Laughter is something humans do inherently. If we find something humorous, we cannot resist the urge to laugh; it is uncontrollable. Control and humor are extremely important themes in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The novel takes place in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, run by a seemingly omnipotent woman named Nurse Ratched. When new patient McMurphy enters the ward, he disrupts the fragile ecosystem the Nurse has created by spreading laughter. Although it may seem that McMurphy is solely trying to delegitimize Nurse Ratched through humor, midway through the novel McMurphy realizes he must use humor in a manipulative way in order to overthrow the Nurse completely. By involving the other patients, McMurphy uses humor to orchestrate a rebellion within the ward.
In the late 1960s, the United States was characterized by the voluminous amounts of counterculture hippies, the Vietnam War, Woodstock music fair, and political pacifism (Haugen 89). Contributing to an age of “hippiedom”, a new wave of young, energetic Americans emerged and avidly protested the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (89). Encouraging unity among nations, these “hippies” repudiated the actions that placed America in the war and the measures they took in attempt to “better” society (95). During this time, radicals were characterized by excessive use of marijuana and psychedelics, and extremist actions they took to protest against the militaristic inclination of mainstream America (98). Love
What truly deems the mentally insane, insane? Throughout the captivating novel written by Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, whether or not patients were mentally insane was completely up to Nurse Ratched or “Big Nurse”. The emasculating role Big Nurse and several other female characters played in the novel, shaped the submissive role a majority of the male characters held. Kesey illustrates the human fear of abnormality and sometimes sexuality, through tyrant-like individuals that foster a mental hospital full of docility.
The text One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Kesey, 1962) communicates a unique social hierarchy, but the use of power within this society discusses the idea of gender and preservation of power. The text is set within a mental asylum, and within this society the figure of authority is nurse Ratched. It has been noted that men are commonly seen to be in positions of power and highly respected within society. This text reverses the stereotype, but through this reversal conveys the way in which a female in power is not equal to a male in power. A 2012 study by students at Washington University in St. Louis state that ‘Not all power is created equal’, but rather the level of power a person has is dependent on various elements of society such as cultural
Ken Kesey’s, One flew over the cuckoo’s nest, is a novel set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital which portrays the psychedelic sixties. In this extract, Kesey strongly emphasizes the theme of power through Harding’s speech using different techniques. He does this by focusing on the context and the society of the sixties, conformity, strong use of animal imagery and the shift in power.
Ken Kesey’s novel “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” was set during the psychedelic sixties of the post war American society, where many social changes were influenced by psychedelic drugs. During the end of the 1950s Psychiatry had reached the peak of its apparent prestige in the American Society, where psychiatric hospitals were seen as “a utopian monument to the virtues of separating the mentally ill from the community for successful treatment.” In “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”, Ken Kesey displays an era with the widespread practice of “Therapeutic community” through the eyes of Chief Bromden; the narrator who suffers from Schizophrenia and is seen as the observer in the novel. Ultimately, through the portrayal of a post war American Psychiatric hospital setting, Ken Kesey explores how society smothers difference even though it may come as a valuable aspect to society.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest is a novel that takes place at a mental institution back in the 1960’s. Nurse Ratched is a key role in the story and she actively characterizes the book by her unbending routines and mistreating behavior against her patients. The most obvious problem concerning