Corrption of Power On All in One Flew Over the Cuckoo´s Nest

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The mid-twentieth century was a time of change for many women and African-Americans. Typical housewife lives’ were no longer the only option for women due to greater job freedom allowing them to have a professional life. At the same time African-Americans were had greater freedom after civil rights movements paved the way to greater opportunities. During the same period, a movement of extremist feminist and African-Rights groups, like Black Power and radical feminist movements that were gaining power at that time, and were also highly controversial in their push for a women or African-American dominated society. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest portrays through the reversal of traditional roles the corruption by power on all, and the need for equality in power.

In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, role reversal puts a woman, Nurse Ratched, in control of the ward, which is important in creating a contrast to traditional power. Within the ward Ratched has ultimate power by “merely [insinuating]” (p. 63) a wrongdoing and has control of the doctors. Soon after the first confrontation with Randle McMurphy (Mack), her power is demonstrated through the submissive and obedient manners of all there (152). Ratched is shown as having great power within the ward and outside, despite that time periods constriction of being a women, showing an important contrast to traditional power structures.

This is mirrored by the power of the black aides in the ward, with the untraditional role of power. On the ward they have a position of power with their ability to rule the lives of those in the ward. Although their power is often from terrorization and sexual harassment of those on the ward through “sex acts” and intimidation of “sex acts” their role i...

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... of that era. He saw that all can be corrupted by power and that no group for that reason should be better than another.

Kesey through changing the structure of power in a society showed the similarity between the oppressed and the oppressor. This was a demonstration of the corruption of power, and a push back to the era. It symbolized an era of radical thinking of changing the power structure, but he advocated making all equal. In addition it exemplified the communist views of the era and the oppressive regime of those with absolute control. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest advocates the quest for equality in a time where disparity in power was great.

Works Cited

Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton. Essays on freedom and power. Boston: Beacon Press, 1948. Print.

Kesey, Ken. One flew over the cuckoo's nest, a novel. New York: Viking Press, 1962. Print.

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