Chief is the narrator because if McMurphy were the narrator, he could not quite be telling the story as a fable. He would be empowered to control the path of the narrative--if he were still sane. But Chief, who has not been lobotomized but freed, recounts McMurphy's story and takes the lesson to the outside world. He becomes the messenger.
Chief Bromden believes in the "fog" and the power of the "Combine." The fog is, on an individual level, a kind of mental dimness or confusion that also represents the thickness of delusion and suffering that prevents the inmates from seeing their true situation and their true selves. The Combine is, on a social level, a repressive institution and all the individual wheels and cogs in it that ensures that the inmates stay quiescent.
When McMurphy supposedly oversleeps and is discovered, we must question the depth of his motivation to escape. McMurphy has found deep fulfillment in helping the men in the ward, especially Bromden, despite his increasing personal frustration. But he also has been letting his frustration distance himself somewhat from his initial efforts at leadership. McMurphy may well be the kind of person who is immoderate in his desires and who might end up oversleeping even while he might have preferred to escape.
McMurphy has figuratively disrobed Nurse Ratched, disempowering her and because she has been exposed as human. Her power over the men is further broken, despite her clear victory over McMurphy as an individual. "Thoughts are free," but if part of one's brain has been removed, one does not even have much in the way of thoughts. Ratched has been stripped of much of her authority, her credibility in the overall institution has been further eroded, and Bromden finally gains the independence to escape.
Nurse Ratched is nominally the villain, but she symbolizes a somewhat broken institutional system and the problems of a larger, repressive society that subjugates individualism to conformity. She is part of the Combine, and another upon her demise will likely take her place in the machine. Still, she is particularly cruel at a level beyond that of the other doctors and nurses.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, each character is a representation of something else. Randle McMurphy represents an outside world/nature and Nurse Ratched represents the inside world and is a manipulator. However, Chief Bromden is different. He is depicted as an adherent, the balance between the outside and inside world, and a follower of McMurphy.
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Nurse Ratched was head nurse of the ward. She needed to have control over everything. All of the patients feared Nurse Ratched, or as they sometimes call her, “Big Nurse.” That is everyone feared her until McMurphy. Because he refused to listen to Nurse Ratched, the “ruler” of the ward, it showed that there will be dismay between the two throughout the story.
In Ken Kesey’s novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, he engages the reader with Nurse Ratched’s obsession with power, especially against McMurphy. When Nurse Ratched faces multiple altercations with McMurphy, she believes that her significant power is in jeopardy. This commences a battle for power in the ward between these characters. One assumes that the Nurses’ meticulous tendency in the ward is for the benefit of the patients. However, this is simply not the case. The manipulative nurse is unfamiliar with losing control of the ward. Moreover, she is rabid when it comes to sharing her power with anyone, especially McMurphy. Nurse Ratched is overly ambitious when it comes to being in charge, leaving the reader with a poor impression of
Nurse Ratched is a former army nurse who works in the ward, she has manipulates the men in many ways. One way is having the patients “spy on each other” making them write things down, they think she would want to hear, or know. Bromden described Nurse Ratched as having the ability to “set the wall clock to whatever speed she wants”, a metaphor for her control, showing how the patients lose track of time. Nurse Ratched acts authority on the ward shows controls how superior over the person who would normally be her Superior, such as, Dr. Spivey.
In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the struggle for power is conveyed in the passage using visual imagery, parallelism, and conflict between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched.
I hated Nurse Ratched before and I sure do now. Her sneaky little schemes to turn the patients on each other make’s me furious. I’m glad McMurphy broke down the window; it’ll remind the patients that her power is limited and changeable. Although, she made McMurphy stronger than ever, even with the countless electroshock treatments. Proving his desire to remain strong in the face of tyranny. “And he'd swell up, aware that every one of those faces on Disturbed had turned toward him and was waiting, and he'd tell the nurse he regretted that he had but one life to give for his country and she could kiss his rosy red ass before he'd give up the goddam ship. Yeh!” (Kesey, 187) I agree to some extent, that without her there wouldn’t be a book, she makes the book exciting even if her methods are all but pure. Her character stands as a symbol of the oppression woman received during that time and in a way, the society in which these characters live are flipped. While on the outside woman have no rights, in the ward they are the all mighty, all knowing, powerful, controllable force. So yah, we need Nurse Ratched but I still hate her. During the course of the short novel she destroyed three men, two of which died and the other was lobotomised. “What worries me, Billy," she said - I could hear the change in her voice - "is how your mother is going to take this.” (Kesey, 231) I can’t say I enjoyed Nurse Ratched being strangled by McMurphy, but I do think she deserved it. Although, it was the end to the battle since the Nurse had won the war. By infuriating McMurphy to that point and her ability to remain calm throughout it all, she proved that McMurphy’s action didn’t faze her. She proved that rebelling is feeblish and by lobot...
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest takes place in a mental institution in the Pacific Northwest. The narrator of the novel is Chief Bromden, also known as Chief Broom, a catatonic half-Indian man whom everybody thinks is deaf and dumb. He often suffers from hallucinations in which he feels that the room is filled with fog. The institution is dominated by Nurse Ratched (Big Nurse), a cold, precise woman with calculated gestures and a calm, mechanical manner. When the story begins, a new patient, Randall Patrick McMurphy, arrives at the ward. He is a self-professed 'gambling fool' who has just come from a work farm at Pendleton. He introduces himself to the other men on the ward, including Dale Harding, the president of the patient's council, and Billy Bibbit, a thirty-year old man who stutters and appears very young. Nurse Ratched immediately pegs McMurphy as a manipulator.
The men, after McMurphy’s death, hold onto his story and pass it on. He is a man, a myth, and a legend that forever remains in the hospital. Leaving an everlasting sting on the nurse and how she reigns over the hospital. McMurphy’s death also affected Bromden, giving him enough strength to set off into the world, breaking loose from the Nurse’s control and living life as McMurphy would have wanted him to. “I feel good, seeing McMurphy get that black boys goat like not many men could. Papa used to be able to do that” (Kesey 94) This is Bromden speaking of McMurphy making fun of the staff’s blind rule-following tendencies. This also, strongly shows how much Bromden, and the other men, think of McMurphy as a father figure. He is a man in their lives that gives them confidence and comfort. The men in the ward & especially Billy Bibbit and Bromden, like authority and power; for example, the Big Nurse, Billy’s mom, and Bromden’s dad. They like to follow a structure and have a power to look up to; McMurphy is a different kind of power that’s freeing to be lead by. When they see their leader ‘fight the power’ they see this as an invitation to follow suit and question their old ways of the ward, therefore not conforming. So, when the men in the ward make McMurphy like their strong father figure, that becomes their normal. This also speaks to Kesey’s underline analogy,
Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest takes place in a mental hospital. The main character, or protagonist is Randle P. McMurphy, a convicted criminal and gambler who feigns insanity to get out of a prisoners work ranch. The antagonist is Nurse Ratched also referred to as The Big Nurse . She is in charge of running the mental ward. The novel is narrated by a patient of the hospital, an American Indian named Chief Bromden. Chief Bromden has been a patient at the hospital longer than any of the others, and is a paranoid-schizophrenic, who is posing as a deaf mute. The Chief often drifts in and out between reality and his psychosis. The conflict in the novel is between McMurphy and The Big Nurse which turns into a battle of mythic proportion. The center of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is this battle between the two, which Kesey uses to represent many of our cultures most influential stories. The dominant theme in this novel is that of conformity and it's pressure on today's society. In the novel conformity is represented as a machine , or in Chief Bromden's mind a combine . To the Chief, the combine' depicts the conformist society of America, this is evident in one particular paragraph: This excerpt not only explains the Chiefs outlook on society as a machine but also his self outlook and how society treats a person who is unable to conform to society, or more poignantly one who is unable to cope with the inability to conform to society. The chief views the mental hospital as a big machine as well, which is run by The Big Nurse who controls everyone except McMurphy with wires and a control panel. In the Chiefs eyes McMurphy was missed by the combine, as the Chief and the other patients are casualties of it. Therefore McMurphy is an unconformist and is unencumbered by the wires of The Big Nurse and so he is a threat to the combine. McMurphy represents the antithesis to the mechanical regularity, therefore he represents nature and it's unregularity. Another key theme in Kesey's novel is the role of women is society and how it contradicts the males. In keeping with the highly contrasting forces of conformity verses creativity Kesey proceeds to compare the male role to spontaneity, sexuality, and nature and the female role to conformity, sexual repression and ultimately the psychological castration of the male. Nurse ...
Before McMurphy arrives to the institution all of the other men depended on Nurse Ratchet. The reason some of the patients are in the ward is because they need support to survive day to day. Nurse Ratchet is a dictator that is controlling, and manipulative. The patients could not get better under the power of Nurse Ratchet. Instead of giving them love and support, she reminded them daily of their shortcomings. The patients needed someone to give them hope for the future, and make them believe in themselves.
One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a movie that portrays a life story of a criminal named McMurphy who is sent to a mental institution because he believes that he himself is insane. While McMurphy is in the mental ward, he encounters other patients and changes their perception of the “real” world. Before McMurphy came to the mental ward, it was a place filled with strict rules and orders that patients had to follow; these rules were created by the head nurse, Nurse Ratched. However, once McMurphy was in the ward, everything, including the atmosphere, changed. He was the first patient to disobey Nurse Ratched. Unlike other patients who continuously obeyed Nurse Ratched, McMurphy and another patient named Charlie Cheswick decided to rebel
Gibson and Mika Haritos-Fatouros, they inform readers about psychologist Stanley Milgram’s studies. “Milgram proposed that the reasons people obey or disobey authority fall into three categories. The first is personal history family or school backgrounds that encourage obedience or defiance. The second, which he called “binding,” is made up of ongoing experiences that make people feel comfortable when they obey authority. Strain, the third category, consists of bad feelings from unpleasant experiences connected with obedience,” ( Milgram 247). Although the nurse isn’t harmful the patients still feel obligated to respect and obey her. The complication begins when McMurphy joins the group. First of all, Randle McMurphy is not disturbed, he’s not crazy. He’s just a rebellious man who doesn’t follow any orders. He had the group steal a bus and steal a boat to go fishing and so he could spend time with his old friend Candy. He doesn’t respect Nurse Ratched and always seems to have a problem with her. He causes everyone to speak up, which isn’t a bad thing but causes disorder and the patients act up. For example, the scene where Cheswick starts yelling at the nurse and disobeys her orders doesn’t sit down and pouts about not getting his cigarettes back. From the start of the movie to the middle it seems that they were gaining a new authority figure, McMurphy himself. “The Greek example illustrates how the ability to torture can be taught. Training that increases binding and reduces strain can cause decent people to commit acts, often over long periods of time, that otherwise would be unthinkable for them” (Gibson, Haritos-Fatouros 249). The rebellious Mac has an influence on the rest of the ward to think it is okay to be against the rules. The quote “You bargained your freedom for the comfort of discipline,” (Jones Gibson, Haritos-Fatouros 247) has a similar meaning to McMurphy's actions. Mac gets a bit out of
As he tries to conform to the ways of the hospital, he actually becomes more like the patients that he detests. In one last attempt to escape from the hospital, McMurphy uses his cunning wit and skills as a con man to persuade the orderly into opening a window to allow two women into the ward. As the nigh progresses and he has the perfect opportunity to flee he realizes the hospital is the only safe place to stay. Due to Randal McMurphy rebellious ways and non-conformist ideas, the hospital performs a lobotomy, which during the time of this movie, w...
There were no heroes on the psychiatric ward until McMurphy's arrival. McMurphy gave the patients courage to stand against a truncated concept of masculinity, such as Nurse Ratched. For example, Harding states, "No ones ever dared to come out and say it before, but there is not a man among us that does not think it. That doesn't feel just as you do about her, and the whole business feels it somewhere down deep in his sacred little soul." McMurphy did not only understand his friends/patients, but understood the enemy who portrayed evil, spite, and hatred. McMurphy is the only one who can stand against the Big Nurse's oppressive supreme power. Chief explains this by stating, "To beat her you don't have to whip her two out of three or three out of five, but every time you meet. As soon as you let down your guard, as sson as you loose once, she's won for good. And eventually we all got to lose. Nobody can help that." McMuprhy's struggle for hte patient's free will is a disruption to Nurse Ratched's social order. Though she holds down her guard she yet is incapable of controlling what McMurphy is incontrollable of , such as his friends well being, to the order of Nurse Ratched and the Combine.
People often find themselves as part of a collective, following society's norms and may find oneself in places where feeling constrained by the rules and will act out to be unconstrained, as a result people are branded as nuisances or troublemakers. In the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the author Ken Kesey conveys the attempt McMurphy makes to live unconstrained by the authority of Nurse Ratched. The story is very one sided and helps create an understanding for those troublemakers who are look down on in hopes of shifting ingrained ideals. The Significance of McMurphy's struggles lies in the importance placed on individuality and liberty. If McMurphy had not opposed fear and autocratic authority of Nurse Ratched nothing would have gotten better on the ward the men would still feel fear. and unnerved by a possibility of freedom. “...Then, just as she's rolling along at her biggest and meanest, McMurphy steps out of the latrine ... holding that towel around his hips-stops her dead! ” In the novel McMurphy shows little signs like this to combat thee Nurse. His defiance of her system included
In the control panel scene, McMurphy bets with the other men that he can lift the control panel even though it is too heavy for him. He is teaching Chief and the other inmates that even if you think you can't do something, you have to try. If you try and you fail that will be okay, but if you never try, you don't know what you can do. The other men and Chief have never tried to rebel against Nurse Ratched and the institution. They have watched others fail so they are afraid to try; but they are different. If they try, they might be able to defeat Nurse Ratched. They do not know about their own abilities. They lack the self-confidence and courage to do it for themselves. So McMurphy shows them how to try. "But I tried, though,' he says. Goddammit, I sure as hell did that much, now, didn't I?"(111)