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

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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 patients still suffer the consequences of being unique and not fitting perfectly into society. Ken Kesey uses black humor in order to expose the horrendous treatment that citizens endure within mental institutions when they do not conform to the deranged idealistic beliefs of an inhumane society.

It is sensible that in order to be admitted into a mental institution, the patient must have a prominent mental illness, however, that is not the case in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Upon first entering the ward, the majority of the patients are ordinary people but as time progresses, the omnipotent Big Nurse slowly destroys their masculinity through forceful accusations and painful treatment. “He’s a new man. Gad, modern American science…,”…