One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: 3 Points

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: 3 Points

Length: 1011 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
In Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, the author refers to the many struggles people individually face in life. Through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, the novel explores the themes of individuality and rebellion against conformity. With these themes, Kesey makes various points which help us understand which situations of repression can lead an individual to insanity. These points include: the effects of sexual repression, woman as castrators, and the pressures we face from society to conform. Through these points, Kesey encourages the reader to consider that people react differently in the face of repression, and makes the reader realize the value of alternative states of perception, rather than simply writing them off as "crazy."
In the novel, Kesey suggests that a healthy expression of sexuality is a key component of sanity and that repression of sexuality leads directly to insanity. For example; by treating him like an infant and not allowing him to develop sexually, Billy Bibbet's mother causes him to lose his sanity. Missing from the halls of the mental hospital are healthy, natural expression of sexuality between two people. Perverted sexual expressions are said to take place in the ward; for example; Bromden describes the aides as "black boys in white suites committing sex acts in the hall" (p.9). The aides engage in illicit "sex acts" that nobody witnesses, and on several occasions it is suggested that they rape the patients, such as Taber. Nurse Ratched implicitly permits this to happen, symbolized by the jar of Vaseline she leaves the aides. This shows how she condones the sexual violation of the patients, because she gains control from their oppression. McMurphy's sanity is symbolized by his bold and open insertion of sexuality which gives him great confidence and individuality. This stands in contrast to what Kesey implies, ironically and tragically, represents the institution.
One of the most controversial points McMurphy makes in the novel is fear of woman as castrators. The women in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest are uniformly described as threatening and terrifying figures. Most of the male patients have been damaged by relationships with overpowering women. For example; Bromden's mother is portrayed as a castrating woman; her husband took her last name, and she turned a big strong chief into a small, weak alcoholic. According to Bromden, she "got twice his size; she made him too little to fight anymore and he gave up" (p.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: 3 Points." 20 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest Essay examples

-         Pros and Cons of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Chaitrangi Patel Eng: 122-03 Prof. Lasky Thesis Statement - The mental institution which restricts the settings and moods the films sets in different scenes. Introduction           >  Name and Director of Film >  Characters II.    Summary of Film          > Jack Nicholson as R.P. McMurphy          > Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched III.     Details in the Film     > Cons     > Pros IV.    Mise en Scene     > Setting     > Cinematography     > Supporting Actors     > Last Scene     V....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy]

Research Papers
1681 words (4.8 pages)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest Essay

- The society that we live in today has shaped individuals perspectives on what is right or wrong. Take for instance; I acquire a metal pot and a wooden spoon and advance to the streets of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. I am right next to the stop sign of the HPER building. I sit down and sat drumming up any sort of rhyme. The chance that I will looked at crazy or even called crazy will be over 90%. What defines humans as crazy. Who is the person that made this rules. These are the kind of questions the play “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST” is trying to ask....   [tags: Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
771 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest

- Ken Kesey in his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest question a lot of things that you think almost everyday. With this famous portrait of a mental institute its rebellious patients and domineering caretakers counter-culture icon Kesey is doing a whole lot more than just spinning a great yarn. He is asking us to stop and consider how what we call "normal" is forced upon each and every one of us. Stepping out of line, going against the grain, swimming upstream whatever your metaphor, there is a steep price to pay for that kind of behavior....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy]

Research Papers
711 words (2 pages)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest Essay

- In the novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the characters are in a mental hospital for various reasons. Narrated by Chief Bromden, a large Native American man, the story tells mainly of a newcomer to the hospital, Randle McMurphy, who is not actually mentally ill, but pretends to be to escape work detail. A much-feared middle-aged woman named Mildred Ratched runs the hospital. She runs the hospital like a concentration camp, with harsh rules, little change, and almost no medical oversight. The “prisoners” have a large amount of fear of Nurse Ratched, as she rules the place like she is a soulless dictator, the patients get no say in any decision made....   [tags: Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
964 words (2.8 pages)

Women as Authority Figures in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- “We are victims of a matriarchy here my friends…” (Harding). A matriarchy is a social order where women have power. In the novel One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest the women are portrayed as the power figures and have the power manipulate, or control the men in the ward, as shown by the characters of Nurse Ratched, Mrs. Bibbit, and Vera Harding. 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....   [tags: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
821 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about Patient Control in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

- The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey is about the power structure of a mental ward from the perspective of a patient, Bromden. The story takes place during the 1950's in Oregon. Many of the patients on the ward are not necessarily insane however do not fit in with pre established societal norms and have chosen a life away from these norms. The men who are voluntary have given in to the staff and follow them like sheep, however, the men who are committed need controlling according to society so they were sent to the ward....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
1030 words (2.9 pages)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest      Sometimes in life people are forced to conform to a certain situation for lack of a better alternative, and this is the case in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. These such people lack the will to stand up for their scruples, and intern are simply guided through their mundane lives by the powers that be. Until someone comes along offering them leadership and the prospect to become “big again.” The man who does so is no other than R.P. McMurphy. Scanlon, Harding, Bibbit, and Chief Bromden may have become adjusted to the oppressive system in which they lived, but certainly were much better adjusted to the real world and life in general after their experienc...   [tags: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
1632 words (4.7 pages)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey in 1962, is a book about a lively con man that turns a mental institution upside down with his rambunctious antics and sporadic bouts with the head nurse. Throughout the book, this man shows the others in the institution how to stand up for themselves, to challenge conformity to society and to be who they want to be. It is basically a book of good versus evil, the good being the con man R.P. McMurphy, and the bad being the head nurse, Nurse Ratched....   [tags: One Flew Cuckoo's Nest Kesey]

Free Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

- Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a multidimensional novel with many important messages in which Kesey strives to relay to the readers. Kesey did not write this novel for the sole purpose of entertainment, even though it was very entertaining, but did write it with the intent to show the readers many realities of life. First of all Kesey shows in this book that how people are perceived in society may not really be how that person is and that things are sometimes different than what they seem....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essays]

Research Papers
852 words (2.4 pages)

Laughter as Therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

- Laughter as Therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Laughter is a therapeutic form. In the novel One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey laughter represents freedom and an escape from nurse Ratched’s restrictions. Laughter also proves a vital role in helping the patients deal with their problems. Not only does it help them deal with problems but it also gave them the push toward progress on getting out of the institution.      Mcmurphy was the one who started making people laughing in the ward....   [tags: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest]

Research Papers
1080 words (3.1 pages)

187). By constantly putting him down, she built herself up emotionally, becoming bigger than her husband. The hospital, run by women, treats only male patients. Through nurse Ratched's strict regime, we see how women have the ability to emasculate even the most masculine of men. An example of this can be seen when a patient named Rawler commits suicide by cutting off his own testicles. Brombden remarks that "all the guy had to do was wait," (p.57) implying that the women running institution itself would have castrated him in the long run. More images and references to castration appear later in the novel. When Nurse Ratched suggests taking more drastic measures on McMurphy with "an operation," he jokes about castration despite knowing full well that she is referring to a lobotomy. Both operations remove a man's individuality, freedom, and ability for sexual expression. Kesey portrays the two operations as symbolically the same to make this point.
The hospital, just like society, suppresses the individuality of the patients by gaining control of their lives and forcing them to conform. In the novel, the mental hospital is a metaphor for the oppression Kesey sees in modern society. Through Brombden's narration, we see how his way of interpreting the world emphasizes the oppressive social pressure to conform. He sees modern society as a machinelike, oppressive force and the hospital as a repair shop from the people who do not fit into their role as cogs in the machine. Those who do not conform to society's rules and conventions are considered defective products and are labeled mentally ill and sent for treatment. In the novel, the hospital is portrayed as a dangerous place. The patients Ellis, Ruckly, and Taber for instance, are electroshocked until they become docile or even vegetables. He sees Nurse Ratched as a "watchful robot, mechanically controlling the ward" (p.30). The hospital is not about healing, but about dehumanizing and manipulating the patients until they are weak and willing to conform. Another way in which this is done is through the nurses' need to keep the patients medicated. McMurphy, the protagonist, battles against letting the oppressive society make him into a machinelike drone. He manages to maintain his individuality until his ultimate objective- bringing his individuality to others- is complete. However, when his wildness is provoked one too many times by Nurse Ratched, he ends up being destroyed by modern society's machines of oppression.
Through the points Kesey is making in the novel, we begin to see the different situations in which the patients struggle to overcome. Whether insane or not, the hospital is undeniably in control of the fates of its patients. Through the points Kesey is making in the novel about the hospital's ways of gaining control of the patients, we see how this parallels with the ways in which society gains control over individuals. Randle McMurphy's character is essential to the novel because he battles against the oppressive society, and holds characteristics that clash with ward-representing sexuality, freedom, and self-determination. Throughout the novel, the sane actions of men contrast with the insane actions of the institution. Through Chief Bromden's narration, the novel establishes that McMurphy is not, in fact, crazy, but rather that he is trying to manipulate the system to his advantage. McMurphy's trajectory through the novel is the opposite of Bromden's: he starts out sane and powerful but ends up a helpless vegetable, having sacrificed himself for the benefit of all the patients. Even though Bromden's comparisons of the hospital with machinery may seem "crazy" to readers at the beginning of the novel, they actually reveal his insight into the hospital's insidious power over the patients.
Return to