One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Topics: Nurse Ratched, Oppression, Rebellion Pages: 3 (1008 words) Published: January 24, 2013
Rebecca Tesfai
English 1C
In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey tells the story of Randle McMurphy, a rebellious, boisterous and overtly sexual man who utilizes his extroverted qualities to win over his fellow patients in the mental institution. McMurphy’s confident nature and non-conforming attitude brings hope to everyone living in the ward. Ultimately, he sparks dissent and inspires them to go against the oppressive head nurse, Nurse Ratchet. McMurphy’s confidence does not waver until he realizes that Nurse Ratchet will always have the upper hand over the patients. Nevertheless, this does not stop him from concocting plans to provoke and get rid of her. McMurphy receives many harsh punishments for his actions and eventually loses the battle against the head nurse. Not only does he lose against Nurse Ratchet, but he eventually loses himself through the process. Additionally, in the film The Experiment, the protagonist Travis, undergoes an adversity which is comparable to what McMurphy faces in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The development of both characters can parallel each other through the similarities of their actions.

Kesey first introduces McMurphy to readers when he is brought to the mental institution. At first glance, McMurphy can be viewed as a con man. He committed the crime of statutory rape but instead of accepting a jail sentence he convinces the judge that he is not straight in the head and is thus sent to a mental institution. Most patients at the ward are unresponsive, yet when he first arrives at the institution, he introduces himself to everyone. The patients and nurses are taken aback by McMurphy’s feisty attitude. Unlike the other patients, McMurphy is loud, arrogant, and capable and it is evident to everyone that he does not belong in a place like that. After the wards group meeting, McMurphy sees firsthand how Nurse Ratchet abuses her power as head nurse. He makes a bet with all the patients in the ward that he...
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