Essay PreviewMore ↓
There is much strength associated with both speech and silence. One can use either to their advantage in a power struggle. In the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Randle Patrick McMurphy and Nurse Ratched employ the power of speech and Chief Bromden uses the power of silence until the end of the novel when he gains the power of speech. These cases prove that the greatest power is not held in speech or silence alone, but in the effective combination of the two.
Many people believe verbal communication to be a very powerful way of expressing oneself. Words gain there power when the volume is raised and lowered alternatively to make a point. Additionally, the influence of speech can manifest itself in a number of ways. It can be used to humiliate, to intimidate, to flirt and to threaten, all of which are integral and pragmatic strategies to win a power struggle.
McMurphy uses his power of speech to rally his fellow patients against Nurse Ratched who is constantly revoking their privileges. He also uses it furtively to acquire all that he desires, by conning the other patients. Throughout the novel he is very loud and is known for his unwavering ability to speak his mind and confront those that oppose him.
Nurse Ratched uses her voice throughout the novel to intimidate the patients. She is the antagonist of the novel. The patients obsequiously follow Ratched’s command, until McMurphy comes along. They all fear that she will send them for shock therapy if they don’t obey her. Nurse Ratched is the most daunting persona of the novel, due in large part to the use of her voice.
Throughout the novel both McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are continually trying to pull each other down. Nurse Ratched using her dominant speaking skills tries to prove to the patients that McMurphy is conning them with his vocalizations, “Look at some of these gifts, as devoted fans of his might call them. First, there was the gift of the tub room. Was that actually his to give?
How to Cite this Page
"One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest." 123HelpMe.com. 04 Apr 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- QUESTION Was Forman compelled to change the point of view in his adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. ANSWER Forman was compelled to change the point of view in adapting the book into a film. REASONING A. In the book Chief Bromden’s thoughts go from stark reality and understanding to dreams and visions which would be difficult for an audience to follow. B. The confusion created by the Chief’s switches from reality to fantasy is possible in literary form due to the amount of detail and analysis, which can be put down on paper.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
811 words (2.3 pages)
- ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST 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.... [tags: essays research papers]
1086 words (3.1 pages)
- One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Cuckoos Nest There is much strength associated with both speech and silence. One can use either to their advantage in a power struggle. In the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Randle Patrick McMurphy and Nurse Ratched employ the power of speech and Chief Bromden uses the power of silence until the end of the novel when he gains the power of speech. These cases prove that the greatest power is not held in speech or silence alone, but in the effective combination of the two.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1202 words (3.4 pages)
- Control Leads to Destruction in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, is about patients and doctors in a mental institution. The author talks a lot about what goes on in this institute. The main points in this book deal with control, be it the character of McMurphy who is unable to handle control, or Nurse Ratched the head nurse on the ward whose job requires her to be in control. The world of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is dark; it is a place where control leads to destruction, but the novel shows through the character of The Chief that there is still hope if the people who are being controlled have the power to resi... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
833 words (2.4 pages)
- Racism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Sometimes things that seem crazy actually make sense. A good example is the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden. He appears to be an insane patient at a mental hospital who hallucinates about irrational mechanical people and a thick fog that permeates the hospital ward where he lives. In reality, Bromden's hallucinations provide valuable insight into the dehumanization that Bromden and the other ward patients are subjected to.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
556 words (1.6 pages)
- The Individual and The System One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Many social issues and problems are explored in Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Perhaps the most obvious complaint against society is the treatment of the individual. This problem of the individual versus the system is a very controversial topic that has provoked great questioning of the government and the methods used to treat people who are unable to conform to the government's standards. McMurphy is an individual who is challenging and rebelling against the system's rules and practices.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
479 words (1.4 pages)
- Symbolism in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey presents his masterpiece, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, with popular culture symbolism of the 1960s. This strategy helps paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Music and cartoons of the times are often referred to in the novel. These help to exaggerate the characters and the state of the mental institution. Popular culture supplies the music which is used as a recurring theme in the novel. McMurphy dislikes the tape playing in the day room because it represents how the ward is run routinely and without change.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
520 words (1.5 pages)
- The Use of Laughter as Medicine in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest For years, it has been said that laughter is the best medicine. In Proverbs 17:22 it says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Imagine being in a place where medicine takes the place of laughter. This is the environment the patients at an Oregon psychiatric hospital in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) experienced before the arrival of a new patient. Chief Bromden, who is presumably deaf and dumb, narrates the story in third person.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
775 words (2.2 pages)
- Point of View in Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest The choice that a novelist makes in deciding the point of view for a novel is hardly a minor one. Few authors make the decision to use first person narration by secondary character as Ken Kesey does in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. By choosing Bromden as narrator instead of the central character of Randle Patrick McMurphy, Kesey gives us narration that is objective, that is to say from the outside of the central character, and also narration that is subjective and understandably unreliable.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
2247 words (6.4 pages)
- Narration, Metaphors, Images and Symbols in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest In 1962, when One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (the Nest), was published, America was at the start of decade that would be characterized by turmoil. Involvement in Vietnam was increasing, civil rights marches were taking place in the south and a new era of sexual promiscuity and drug use was about to come into full swing. Young Americans formed a subgroup in American society that historians termed the “counterculture”.... [tags: One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest]
3031 words (8.7 pages)
Until the novel’s conclusion, McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are the most authoritative people in the ward. They both have ultimate control over the inmates in accordance with their objectives. McMurphy cons many of the patients into giving him money and had them hanging on his every word. Nurse Ratched struck trepidation into the patients as they were confronted with the possibility that she might physically injure them or refer them for shock therapy. In light of her dominating persona, the patients too follow her command. However, the novel’s close highlights Ratched’s and McMurphy’s loss of power, proving that speech alone can’t be the sole way of gaining control within an environment.
Silence can also be used as a combatant to gain supremacy. “Keeping quiet,” is the best remedy to counteracting an aggressive persona. Rather than attacking, the response of quietude is most effective. It frustrates the hostile individual, causing him to introspect and rethink his belligerent position, and in effect quells the foe. (Silence can also be used to help obtain information that one wouldn’t be able to gain if one is very outspoken. People willingly confide in others who assure them silence and provides them with the solace that “their secret is safe.)
The utilization of silence during a power struggle is prevalent throughout the novel. Chief Bromden uses silence very effectively to his advantage. Everyone thinks that he is deaf and dumb, however, their perception proves to be erroneous, as we learn at the novel’s end. Chief Bromden is a very large man who falsely thinks of himself as being rather diminutive. For him, Chief Bromden’s silence is extremely potent. He is able to hear everything that went on in the meetings where the doctors and nurses discuss the future of the patients. The doctors and nurses don’t think that Chief Bromden can hear what they are saying. They don’t hesitate to say anything in front of him. “They don’t bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when I’m nearby because they think I’m deaf and dumb”(10). This is very beneficial because chief Bromden knows what takes place in the ward, and knows what it takes to survive.
Silence, however, is not the sole manifestation of control that Bromden utilizes. After Chief Bromden gains all the information that he needs he has no way to act upon it unless he demonstrates the utility of speech. He can protect himself without this ability, but he can’t prevail without it. For Bromden, speech is just as much a key to success as silence is. Thus the combination proves to be the most potent.
McMurphy’s realization that Chief Bromden is not really deaf and dumb marks a significant turning point in the novel. It is the first time that anyone hears Chief Bromden speak since he entered the ward fifteen years earlier. The Chief starts talking to McMurphy and his fog disappears. After the Chief begins talking he relishes conveying tales of his childhood and other experiences to McMurphy. As a child he was treated as though he was invisible, enabling him to perfect his skill of listening and not responding; therefore, his pretending to be a deaf mute is rather facile.
Ever since Bromden’s revelation that he is not the deaf mute he is perceived to be, he slowly gains more power. Conversely McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are enervated.
In the conclusion of the novel, McMurphy loses his sanity and tears open Nurse Ratcheds uniform exposing her breasts. Fortunately, the other patients have recovered, due to his efforts, and do not require his services anymore. Even the Chief is restored to his full mental capacity, acting with both logic and sanity, thanks to McMurphy. However, McMurphy’s fate is not as promising. In light of his violation of Nurse Ratched, McMurphy is subject to a lobotomy. The fact that McMurphy is forced to endure such a surgery is strangely ironic. It is McMurphy who has propelled Chief Bromden’s “Psychological restoration,” and now he, physically, is subject to the same ail nesses that were fallaciously believed to plague the chief.
Nurse Ratched too suffers a similar fate as McMurphy, as she can no longer verbally communicate, due to the injuries she sustained from McMurphy’s attack.
In a paradigm of role reversal, Chief Bromden has become the apex of the ward’s power triangle. He is the sole individual, who is able to utilize both speech and silence. Ultimately, Bromden escapes the ward, effectively fleeing from his past, and is on the path to a more promising future.