The gentlemen in “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” were in search of mental freedom. Fear kept them prisoners of their own minds. Perhaps the main focus of the film was to illustrate the point that we are master’s of own freedom. However, it is difficult to change our pattern of thinking. Sometimes, in fact, we need someone to show us just how it is done. Ken Kesey's character Randall P. McMurphy was always accustomed to being a wild and free spirit. His attitude was completely contagious. Often, when you experience someone with that amount of self, you begin to think that you too can do anything. RP healed more of the men in the ward than any medicine or doctor could have dreamed. Specifically, he healed Billy, gave Cheswick some much-needed self-confidence, and set Chief completely free. Furthermore, he had the rest of the ward convinced they were “no more insane then the average guy walking around the streets!” Nurse Ratched, on the other hand, had a complete opposite effect. Her methods of therapy were cornered on guilt, repression and inflexible rules. She killed Billy. In short, she caused the patients to remain in chains.
In the novel “Beloved” by Toni Morrison the character Amy shares some of the same liberating characteristics as RP McMurphy. Both use their confidence to enable individuals to reach their full potential. Without Amy’s deliberate, confident guidance, Sethe may have never reached Sweet Home. Before she did that, however, Sethe had to conquer her past, which included schoolteacher. Somewhat similar to Ratched, schoolteach...
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...shocked the first time he jokingly fools the whole ward with the humorous side of his personality. The two were extremely magnetic people.
For every nurse Ratched there will always be someone like RP who bends her granite rules and “for every schoolteacher there would be an Amy.” (188) These characters seemed to balance each other well in their roles. Violent individuals like schoolteacher will always represent evil in this world. Manipulative, control centered people like Ratched will also prove to be obstacles. Still, McMurphy eased the tension that Ratched inflicted upon the ward. Moreover, Amy made Sethe forget about schoolteacher’s “lessons” and started her on her way to freedom. Both RP and Amy were gifted liberators who could make someone believe in him or herself before they even knew what hit them.
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