Control vs. Freedom

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One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest demonstrated a classic power struggle between acts of extreme authority and untamed free will. Randle McMurphy represented freedom, liveliness, amusement and the power of an individual against a confining institution. However, Nurse Ratched symbolized conformity, repression, death, and enforced a strong display of authority. This film also emphasized the loss of personal freedom with recurring patterns of fences, barriers, locks and shackles. Two completely different people with different aspects on life strived to get their own methods influenced on the rest of the patients. Both leaders were using dissimilar mentalities trying to bring each other down. However, Ratched’s efforts of authoritarian rule diminished the carefree attitude of McMurphy.

McMurphy wanted to bring life and enjoyable memories to the other patients in the ward. He wanted to help them escape this “prison” mentally and even physically. He was a lighthearted character who desired freedom and enjoyed inspiring others around him to do the same. After Randle saw how his new peers sat around, and did nothing, he knew they had to experience more than the wind-swept, white walls of a mental institution. McMurphy made it his goal to bring spirit and enthusiasm to the lost and confused individuals. During one of the group meetings with Nurse Ratched and the other patients, McMurphy confidently tried to convince Ratched to change the schedule and also allow the patients to watch the World Series. Fighting with a struggle, he finally gathered the majority of votes he needed including Chief Bromdens. His well put out efforts were shot down by the Nurse.

Nurse Ratched selfishly served her own egotistical needs rather than the therapeutic needs of the patients. She was always calm, cold and never feared a thing. She would make sure if something was out of line, there would have to be a solution. When McMurphy and the patients began to gamble with each other’s...
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