One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Literary Essay

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With great power comes great responsibility. Many people have great power, but tend to abuse it. A common example of this abuse is using people below ones authority to do most of the work, or black mail them. Then there are the people who utilize power carefully whilst not abusing them. In the novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, McMurphy ultimately wins the power struggle with Nurse Ratched which leads to the patients recovery, her loss of control over the ward, and Nurse Ratched’s struggle for power.

Before McMurphy arrived at the ward, Nurse Ratched had complete dominance over the patients. They did exactly what she said, no questions asked. She kept them there by making them feel insecure and unfit for society. Nurse Ratched had a logbook setup that appeared to be beneficial to the patients. In reality, the logbook was a method for Nurse Ratched to gather information which would be used against the patients for sending them to the main building. “They spy on each other. Sometimes one man says something about himself that he didn’t aim to let slip, to get enough evidence to have some guy reconditioned” (Kesey, 15). Nurse Ratched is exploiting the patients by making them turn against one another, they do not realize this as they are blinded by the fact that they get rewarded. "The guy that wrote the piece of information in the log book, he gets a star by his name…and gets to sleep late the next day.” (Kesey,15). They desperately need the reward, to feel the slightest bit of comfort, due to the lock of freedom they get in the ward.

After McMurphy arrived at the ward, he noticed that most of the patients were not mentally ill, and had no reason to be there. “I can understand it with some of those old guys on the ward. They’re nuts. But you, you’re not exactly the everyday man on the street, but you’re not nuts.” (Kesey, 195). Most of the men had lost their personalities, confidence, guts which caused them to deem themselves unfit to go back...
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