Cuckoo's Nest Essay

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Characters in the novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey have their own way of controlling the ward. Each person tries to have a say in what goes on in the ward and the process of things to benefit themselves. Nurse Ratched controls the ward through fear, Mc Murphy controls the ward through rebellion, and the Orderlies control the ward through terror. They either worked together to do this, like the Orderlies and Nurse Ratchet, or they were completely against each other, like McMurphy and Nurse Ratchet. They each use these different methods to accomplish the same goal.

Nurse Ratched or the Big Nurse tries to gain control using fear. Nurse Ratched is portrayed as one of the biggest bullies in this novel. She is described to behave like a smooth machine in order to keep control of the ward. She has also instilled such a fear into the patients that many of them do what she wants without her even talking. Nurse Ratched wants to be in charge of every little detail of the ward. Things had to run exactly the way she wanted it too. In order to do this, she kept the men in line. Also, to keep control she tortures the patients. She basically tries to avoid them getting better so that she can have total control of their lives.

Randall McMurphy is another character in this novel that attempts to control the ward. But, McMurphy achieves this through rebellion. Ever since he came to the hospital, he has had a strong hatred for Nurse Ratched and her power. He feels so strongly about it that he makes it like a competition to take down Nurse Ratched. “And maybe the reason the black boys don’t rush into that latrine and put a stop to his singing is because they know he’s out of control… it’s going to take all three of them and the Big Nurse waiting on the sidelines with a needle.” (Kesey, 92) In order to gain control of the ward, he would be stubborn. For example, he tried to get the ward rules changed so that they could watch the World Series. Also, a symbolic...
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