Don’t stand back, fight back; symbols of power, oppression, and resistance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey is a novel about a man by the name of Randle McMurphy, who, when sent to a mental ward, challenge all the authority within it and forces the other patients to take a deeper look at the way they are being treated at the ward. This novel is one which brings to light the unfair authority which not only exists within the hospital, but within society at the time. It satires the way gay are shunned and looked down on, how people who are a bit different get out casted and mistreated, it even dares to comment on the overwhelming power that one can gain through his or her sex. Most importantly, however, it shows to the reader how no one really notices the moral crimes which exist, and that those who do rarely care enough or find the willpower to stand up and attempt to fight the powers which are unfair. The mental hospital and those in it serve to symbolize the concepts of power and oppression in the world, illustrating that people tend to be ignorant to the moral injustices of a harsh tyrant, but learn to speak out when one person finds the courage to challenge the status quo.
Harding reveals the cowardice that often gets forced upon those oppressed in a controlled society. When McMurphy first enters the ward, Harding holds a false position of power, “head of the patient council”. However, this proves to be nothing but a title when McMurphy is at first not allowed to see him without an appointment because he is too busy, but then chats with him later, despite his “busyness”. Along with this false position of power, Harding even goes as far as to argue that nurse Ratched is not only not a horrible tyrant, but even “unselfish as the wind” (58). Later on in the conversation, though, Harding comes to admit that she is indeed all the things McMurphy has called her and...