Critical Analysis: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Final Exam Paper – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

In the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Jack Nicholson as R.P. McMurphy gives one of the most compelling performances in film history. As an inmate sentenced to a psychiatric ward for his outrageous behavior, McMurphy thinks he has the ticket to freedom in his hands. One of the main obstacles to achieving this freedom is through the convincing of the board of directors that he is certifiably crazy. At the opening of the film, the audience is introduced to McMurphy as a smooth, charismatic hotshot who thinks he's got an answer for everything. In response to why he thinks he has been sent to the mental institution, McMurphy responds to Dr. Spivey that it's because he ‘fights and fucks too much.' When he meets up with Nurse Ratched, the conflict comes into play. Ratched is not swayed by McMurphy's crass behavior and slick tongue. McMurphy, in the development of the second act, confronts Ratched on a series of occasions, including the famed World Series scene. When he is refused to watch the game, McMurphy responds by commentating on the game, though he isn't there. This riles up the other patients, and Nurse Ratched calls for order, to no avail. This is an excellent illustration of the clash of personalities in everyday life, the charismatic, brash character who often play the role of an instigator, and the cold, institutional superiority of an individual in authority. This helps a lot of viewers identify with the struggle McMurphy puts up, and the severe consequences at stake through his actions. When McMurphy steals the institution's transport bus and takes the rest of the patients on a fishing trip, it raises his status in the ward from troublemaker to heroic icon. The rest of the patients know the consequences of their actions, but none try to stop him, except Harding at the beginning, but he quickly falls into line when the rest of the ward begins catching fish. The fact that Nurse Ratched had, in...
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