One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Analysis

Decent Essays

The Kesey novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, outlines how mental wards were run in the 1960s. Patients were not given the right to make choices and were often treated under strict rule. Staff acted as dictators in the lives of those who were committed or those who chose to commit themselves to mental health. Independence cannot be gained without individual rights. In the Kesey novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, the antagonist Nurse Ratched strips her patients of their individual choice via “ward policy” and the ward schedule. The protagonist Randle McMurphy gives choice back by rebelling against Nurse Ratched and inspiring the patients. Nurse Ratched acts as the authoritarian figure in the story who strips all the power from the patients with her “ward policy”. The acute patients are the only ones present for the vote to change the schedule. For example, she mentions “There are forty patients on the ward, Mr, McMurphy. Forty patients, and only twenty voted, you must have a majority to change ward policy”(Kesey 209) She says this because the twenty patients present at the group meeting are the only patients who are capable of thinking for themselves. The other patients who are not present at the meeting, are still accounted for as chronic patients. This is one of the many ways she rigs ward policy in her favor in order to prevent power from leaving her side. Kesey also uses symbolism to describe her overwhelming intimidation. The narrator, Chief Bromden is in

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