One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

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In Kesey’s 1950s novel ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ Nurse Ratched’s relationship with male patients is based upon differences they hold about gender and identity. Nurse Ratched is portrayed as a masculine misandrist figure that gains power from emasculation. She carries “no compact or lipstick or woman stuff, she’s got that bag full of a thousand parts she aims to use in her duties” . This implies nothing womanly about her as she prioritises her “duties”, suggesting that she aims to control her male patients by ridding her feminine qualities. In addition, she is shown in robotic with a chilling aura. This is evident when she slid “through the door with a gust of cold and locks the door behind her” . This indicates that as a power figure her only concern is controlling her male patients, making sure they are obedient and abiding by her rules. “Gust of cold” implies that by doing so she wholly ruins her relationship with the males due to her “cold” and callous methods. Daniel J. Vitkus states she is “the Big Nurse, an evil mother who wishes to keep and control her little boys (the men on the ward) under her system of mechanical surveillance and mind control.” Yet, can be argued that she is fulfilling her role of working as a Nurse within a mental institution. However Vitkus’s critique is similar to when McMurphy says “Mother Ratched, a ball-cutter?” McMurphy is a hyper masculine force against Ratched’s emasculating norms. Their relationship is essentially a power
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