Analysis Of ' One Flew Over The Cuckoo 's Nest '

943 WordsDec 7, 20154 Pages
Karsen M. Rau Ms. Dilworth ENG4U 4th December 2015 The Subversion of Gender Roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest In today 's society, as well as in the past, men are typically placed in a position of power over women. Although gender equality is increasing, a more patriarchal society is considered to be the norm. However, in certain situations the gender roles that are played by men and women are reversed, and women hold most, if not all of the power. Such as in Ken Kesey 's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest, in this instance the ward is a very obvious matriarchy, where women rule over men and attempt to metaphorically castrate them. Throughout the text there are many examples of women, Nurse Ratched in particular, attempting to emasculate the patients on the ward. The ward is an extreme matriarchy, and the men hold little to no power, whereas the women are able to control and manipulate them with ease because of the reversal of roles. In many ways Nurse Ratched shames the men for their masculinity, although it is fairly standard male behavior. She makes them feel as if their virility is something to avoid and ultimately be ashamed of. The Nurse takes perfectly normal human behavior and twists it to be seen as something perverted and obscene. For example, when Billy Bibbit and Candy sleep together, the Nurse 's reaction when she realizes this fact causes him to feel extreme shame and embarrassment. “Oh, Billy Billy Billy-I’m so ashamed for you.” (Kesey 314)

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