Analysis Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By Ken Kesey

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Sigmund Freud was someone who turned clinical psychology on its head; therefore, it only makes sense that he would be an inspiration for someone who completely redefined literature. In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey weaves an intricate, while subtextual, theme that mirrors concepts of Freudian psychology. About a decade after publication, in her article “Kesey and Freud,” former Northeastern University professor Ruth Sullivan analyzes the progression and impact of Kesey’s use of Freudian psychology, most specifically, Kesey’s use of Freud’s Oedipus Complex as it pertains to the characters Nurse Ratched, R.P. McMurphy, and Chief Bromden. While it is true that McMurphy and Bromden represent the typical Freudian father-son…show more content…
According to an article titled “The Oedipal Crisis,” the main stages of the Oedipal Complex that deals with a mother are that, “the first love-object for [the son] is the mother, the young boy is threatened by the father’s relationship with his mother, and the father is perceived as an enemy.” (http://www.changingstates.co.uk/freud.html). Nurse Ratched never fulfills any of those roles; in fact, she is seen as the clear enemy the whole entire book. The enemy is never McMurphy; instead, Nurse Ratched is described as “the root of all the trouble here” (Kesey, 185). Ratched and McMurphy’s relationship is not sexual and the men on the ward are never envious of McMurphy for his relationship with Nurse Ratched. Instead, Nurse Ratched is seen as a woman who McMurphy describes as a “ball-cutter” (Kesey, 60) Nurse Ratched is not someone who is seen as appealing or attractive or warm like a Freudian mother, rather, she is a woman that makes a man powerless and asexual. Freud's Oedipal triangle is clearly missing one point because the Big Nurse does not fulfill the concept of a Freudian mother. That is where Sullivan’s analysis falls
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