Analyse how the actions of a character influenced events or situations in the written text you have studied.
“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” By Ken Kesey is a text based around a psychiatric ward somewhere located in the heart of Oregon. The novel takes place sometime between the 1950s - 1960s. We know this as memories of World War II are prominent and sexism along with racism is still a recurring problem.
The actions of a character by the name of Randle McMurphy influenced a series of events throughout the novel. Right from the beginning when he managed to scheme his way out of prison time, till the very end of the novel when he influenced Chief Bromden to go on a great escape. Some of McMurphy's actions had positive influences some negative, no matter how vast or how small each action was it would have a lasting impact on the majority of the ward. I think two significant actions in the text that influenced an event in some shape or form was first off McMurphy’s organisation and persistence of the boat trip. And secondly McMurphy forcefully undressing Nurse Mildred Ratched then proceeding to strangle her.
During McMurphy’s stay at the psychiatric ward it was mundane and lifeless. So McMurphy decided to take this matter into his own hands, starting a petition which would allow the men on the ward to take part in a boating expedition. For the men to actually go on this trip Nurse Ratched required that at least sixteen of the thirty men on the ward had to sign the
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Kesey has also given this novel great Symbolic value. As an opposer to the McCarthy scheme, he has used the mental hospital as a scale model of how society breaks free of society's conformity. McMurphy acts as the liberator', or rebel of the ward's excessively strict conformity. He saves the patients from "the
1979. Choose a complex and important character in a novel or a play of recognized literary merit who might on the basis of the character's actions alone be considered evil or immoral. In a well-organized essay, explain both how and why the full presentation of the character in the work makes us react more sympathetically than we otherwise might. Avoid plot summary.
Laughter makes the patients feel good, and, specifically, Bromden feels good and begins to remember other things that made him feel good (Tanner 4). McMurphy’s power in laughter is intensified by Nurse Ratched’s lack of laughter. McMurphy’s laughter and humor are genuine while Nurse Ratched’s humor is forced and smiles are chiseled like in plastic (Wallace 3, 5). Power enables McMurphy to make changes on the ward and to survive in the institution. His sanity compared to the other patients, his manipulations, and his ability to laugh give him the power. He, in turn, gives patients a sense of power by teaching them to laugh at themselves, Nurse Ratched, and the world (Magill 1533).
After leaving the hellish work farm where he serving his prison sentence, McMurphy arrives at the ward, which is exponentially more dull and drab in comparison. The impact of his arrival at the ward is seen instantly. The enthusiasm and energy he brings to the ward is so uncharacteristic, that even some of the Chronics, who are longstanding patients that have become “machines with flaws inside that can’t be repaired,” show some life (Kesey 10). In his typical westernized fashion, McMurphy arrives at the hospital with the aura of “a frontier
As a man who pretends to be deaf and mute, Bromden is considered to be a relatively unbiased character, yet he even displays strong feelings of hatred towards Nurse Ratched, proving just how evil she is. As Nurse Ratched enters the novel for the first time, she brings with her a noticeably ominous atmospheric change with, “A gust of cold,” (4) that represents her complete control over every aspect of the mental ward, even the weather. At the pinnacle of Kesey’s totalitarian society, Nurse Ratched represents the tendencies of an oppressive government or what Bromden calls, The Combine. For example, she suppresses the patients’ free will because regardless of the patients actual sanity, she is undeniably in control of their fates at the hospital. Besides McMurphy, the majority of the patients could leave on their own, but Nurse Ratched has been able to brainwash them into thinking that they are not suited to assimilate with others outside of the ward. Billy Bibbit says to McMurphy when he asks why they do not leave, “You think I wuh-wuh-wuh-want to stay in here? You think I wouldn’t like a con-convertible and a guh-guh-girl friend? But did you ever have people l-l-laughing at you? No, because you’re so b-big and so tough!” (162-163). Just like an oppressive government, Nurse Ratched convinces its people that they are worthless so they never feel powerful enough to retaliate. Like an alcoholic, Nurse Ratched needs her fix of power that makes her drunk and
Although the nurse has seemingly won because the patients were not able to achieve their primary goal, in reality, their real victory is their combined resistance against Nurse Ratched. The adventure on the fishing boat also exhibits how the patients aid McMurphy in his rebellion. Though he charges them for their endeavor, they once again decide to accompany him and go against the institution, further implying their admiration for him and his cause. Even though McMurphy knows that the nurse will likely punish the twelve other patients severely for lying and leaving the ward with a prostitute under false pretenses, he does so anyway, showing that he will risk great punishment to help his “disciples.” Finally, the patients support the party that McMurphy has in the ward with alcohol and the two prostitutes. The main reason behind this event was to ensure that Billy Bibbit, one of the patients on the ward who lacked self-confidence, got to have a date with Candy, one of the prostitutes whom Billy liked. This event is another example of how McMurphy would risk trouble for himself for the betterment of others and how they supported him in his actions.
He becomes a father-like figure to the inmates, and the inmates begin to rely on him for their needs. As McMurphy continues to defy Nurse Ratched and her rules by creating a basketball team, gambling even more, and annoying Nurse Ratched, the inmates begin to see his actions as divine. This proves he resembles Jesus Christ. He brings goodness into the ward to confront the evil set by the hospital. George Boyd describes McMurphy’s purpose when he says, “he brings the promise of spiritual renewal to his disciples” (126). McMurphy clearly shows this when he repairs Chief Bromden and convinces him to speak again. The Chief stops talking and acts deaf because he fears the society and its rules. McMurphy gives him a new life and strength to overcome his fear and to challenge the rules of the ward and Nurse Ratched. Another noteworthy example of spiritual renewal occurs when McMurphy takes twelve inmates on a fishing trip. He creates a sense of freedom and strength within the inmates by the trip. The resemblance to the twelve disciples of Christ is no coincidence. Just as Christ, McMurphy gives his disciples a new life to live and a bright outlook for the future. The inmates grow stronger and lose their weaknesses they are still afraid to take the initiative and challenge Nurse Ratched and look to McMurphy to solve their problems. The achievement of McMurphy’s rise to
McMurphy learns that involuntarily committed patients cannot leave the hospital without staff approval. Therefore, he cannot leave at the end of his six months sentence, but when Nurse Ratched says he can and he begins to submit to her authority. However, by this time, he had become the leader for the other patients. Their sanity, their claim to manhood lies in the balance. Cheswick, dismayed by McMurphy’s surrender, commits suicide.
“A success, they say, but I say he’s just another robot for the Combine and might be better off as a failure…”(17).
Out of the four characters listed in this film, the one character that does not exhibit pretense is Billy. We first see Billy as a nervous, shy young boy with a speech impediment. Billy has weird relationships with women; he likes women and enjoys the company of them but is fearful of the women that are most close to him. Billy’s mother and especially Nurse Ratched are the women he is most afraid of. Nurse Ratched has a personal relationship with Billy’ mother, she has a special motherly power that she only has on Billy and not the other patients in the hospital. She can control him into doing stuff he doesn’t want to do because, Billy is afraid that Nurse Ratched will tell his mother about his
He was also fearful that he might do something wrong again causing him to go back to the Disturbed ward, or worse, sent to shock therapy, therefore he turns to suicide as his only solution. This self-inflicted tragedy could’ve been prevented if McMurphy supported Cheswick when he rebelled against Nurse Ratched’s cigarette policy. He would not have felt worthless; instead, he would’ve gained some confidence as he knew someone supported him. McMurphy’s support would’ve made Cheswick stronger so he wouldn’t have been weakened in the Disturbed Ward and he would’ve felt insignificant, giving him no reason to commit
Cheswick’s journey for being an independent leader begins when McMurphy first arrives to the ward and has his first group therapy session with Nurse Ratched and the other members who reside in the institution. When Cheswick finds out that McMurphy is anti-authority, and not afraid to show it, he, along with the other patients, start to encourage him to constantly harass Nurse Ratched. What Cheswick does not realise is that this event makes McMurphy start to become more passive, which puts a screeching halt in the progress of Cheswick “quest” to become a real leader. Once McMurphy decides that he needs to be a symbol for the ward and resumes his journey, Cheswick’s restarts as well.
When McMurphy finds out that he is one of two patients that are involuntarily committed to the hospital, it makes him realize that he alone is fighting for his freedom, and the others have been repressed by Ratched to the point of being afraid to rebel against her or simply leave. McMurphy fights until the end to free these men of their emasculation even if it
Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is a creation of the socio-cultural context of his time. Social and cultural values, attitudes and beliefs informed his invited reading of his text.
McMurphy is a gambling Irishman and convict, who grows tired of laboring at the Pendleton prison farm. To escape prison life, he feigns insanity and gets himself involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in Oregon. He tries to bring about a change at the hospital, for he does not like the fact that grown men act like "rabbits" and are scared of the Big Nurse. He tries as hard as he can to "get her goat", by not doing the duties he is given. He also ironically ends up serving as a