Sexism In One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

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In Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Kesey promotes sexist views through the way he characterizes his female characters. He does this showing women in a dehumanizing light. The nurse for example is constantly showing her source of power over the males on the ward by simply taking away theirs. However kesey also adds in women such as Candy to simply help empower men. Kesey wrote his novel in the 1960s. During the 1960s the feminist movement, also know as the women’s movement, was underway with reforms on issues like domestic violence sexual harassment and reproductive rights. for women. Ironically Kesey wrote his novel during this time and through his novel we are his views on sexism.

Many instances in the novel Kesey has shown women only having power by stealing it from others. Nurse Ratched and the Chiefs mother in particular are portrayed as castrating women. To all of the men on the Ward, Nurse
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He thoroughly shows through these characters that Female physical traits equal weakness, while male traits equal power. He promotes his sexist views by showing the gender roles reversed to further enhance mans power. The women, Nurse Ratched for example, is looked at as destructive forces she is seen as a machine “a mistake was made somehow in manufacturing putting those big, womanly breasts on what would of otherwise been a perfect work”(6). “She’s swelling up, swells till her backs splitting out the white uniform”(5). At the end of the novel her breasts are exposed and her feminine (less powerful) side is seen. Her clothes “could no longer conceal the fact that she was a women”(320). She tries to hide her femininity throughout the whole novel, again because any sign or femininity shows weakness. Nurse Ratched controls all men on the ward and acts as what Kesey characterizes as “manly”. Kesey promotes sexism in this way because of how he characterizes women to look and act in a masculine
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