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The Wrath of the Big Nurse in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Decent Essays
Throughout the mid-twentieth century, America withstood a period of revolutions as younger generations started to challenge society’s standards and beliefs. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest takes place during the end of the 1950s and in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, a time when many citizens began to challenge conformity. This novel was set among patients and workers of a mental institution. The mental institution is designed to cure patients who are deemed “insane” as a result of lack of submission within society. However, the institution is controlled by society and operates in the same manner as the Outside world. Although the facade of the mental institution makes it appear to be successful through major advancements, the…show more content…
Just as the rest of society, the Public Relations man has a tunnel-vision perspective of the hospital; they shine the limelight on the few positives of the hospital and block out the corrupt aspects. Inside the hospital, conformity is not an option unless patients want to face the wrath of the Big Nurse and her machines. Big Nurse operates the ward on a strict schedule and ultimately sets out to achieve submissiveness by any means necessary. “Ellis is Chronic came in an Acute and got fouled up bad when they overloaded him in that filthy brain-murdering room that the black boys call the ‘Shock Shop,” (16). “A cheery atmosphere” is the exact opposite of what citizens would juxtapose with a “brain-murdering” machine. Yet, strangely enough, the inhumane treatment such as what Ellis endured goes entirely disregarded by the Public Relations man in order to maintain a strong reputation. The corrupt values of society lead the Big Nurse and all of her patients to believe that the only way to succeed is to become a robotic copy rather than being an individual. “The Big Nurse tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine,” (28). Through the concrete
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