One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest': Power Discourse

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Analytical essay

Through Ken Kesey’s exploration of a power discourse within ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, he visibly highlights that every text has a purpose. The author comes up with a discourse of power, where it is shown throughout the characters, and through how society used to treat the ‘mental illnesses’ at the time. In this book, society ideologies are challenged by the revolutionary mind of Ken Kesey, where within the influence of the beats, had ‘different’ beliefs from everyone else at the socio-cultural context of the time.

The characterisation in this plot is carefully made by the author, where each character is built to represent a different thing for the audience and to challenge society’s beliefs in the early 60’s. For example, The characters of the Chief and McMurphy were placed to reinforce the beat beliefs and to show that ‘illness’ for society at the time, wasn’t really to be crazy, it was just to be a bit different from everyone else, challenging society’s view of the insane. However, the character of nurse Ratched, represents society where it is the figure of power and control of the patients. Where, again it shows the power discourse within this book throughout nurse’s attitudes and beliefs.

Chief Bromden is one of the main characters and also the narrator of this book; he is a Native American that has been in the ward for many years, he’s always been marginalized and disempowered and due this, he ‘lost’ his voice and pretended to be deaf for the others. However, when McMurphy joined the ward, they became really close friends and slowly, the chief was getting his confidence and power back, he was being able to speak again, he was getting his strength back on and being himself again after years, “He’d done what he said, my arms were big again, big as they were in high school” said chief about McMurphy. This reinforces Ken keysey’s beliefs that if everyone was treated equally, there wouldn’t be any mental illness,...
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