Analysis Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest By Ken Kesey Essay

Analysis Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest By Ken Kesey Essay

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One of the numerous challenges faced by youth today is that of individuality. While the idea of acceptance is becoming more widespread daily, everyone faces a period in life in which he or she is told that it is wrong to be different. The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey challenges this issue and the effect society has on a person’s identity and individualism. Kesey used two of the main characters, Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, to represent the battle for one’s unique personality. Nurse Ratched and The Combine portrayed how society has the power to manipulate an individual into believing that it is unacceptable to be different and that one should alter oneself into societal views of the conventional. However, McMurphy represents the counterbalance to society’s views; McMurphy’s strong, aggressive, and undoubtedly unique personality reached out to the patients and worked to undo the damage inflicted upon them by society.
Nurse Ratched and McMurphy engaged in an extensive battle to control the patients’ views of themselves; while the nurse worked to deceive them into an idea of isolation and unconventionality, McMurphy reached out to them and taught them that being different is not always a negative characteristic. The narrator of the story, Bromden, exemplifies this battle between society and McMurphy’s balance of acceptance. Bromden’s contrived “mental illness” was merely an effect of society; it can be argued that he did not possess any physical or mental flaw, but simply an imagination. Throughout the novel, he described his ability to see occurrences that the other patients did not notice. For example, in the first chapter Bromden narrated, “She really lets herself go and her painted smi...


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...they want you to. And the best way to do this, to get you to knuckle under, is to weaken you by getting’ you where it hurts most.” Through these means, he succeeded in conquering Nurse Ratched and her attempts to alter her patients to the beliefs of society.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remarkably demonstrates the individual’s battle to maintain a sense of uniqueness from society. In the novel, McMurphy fought to save the patients of the asylum from the efforts of Nurse Ratched (society) to take their self-respect and force them to sacrifice their individuality. Life is full of contradictions and people who maliciously force ideas upon others of what is normal and acceptable. While McMurphy won the battle against Nurse Ratched, it was not the war; society still threatened the world in Kesey’s novel as it threatens the world of dreams and possibilities today.

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