One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Review

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a) Charismatic Leader: McMurphy shows characteristics of a charismatic leader in various ways. McMurphy is transferred to a mental institution for evaluation after he had been convicted of statutory rape. When McMurphy gets to the institution, he feels as the institution is very supressed and has a strict regimen that everyone is expected to follow. Unpleasant medical treatments are used to supress the patients. When McMurphy sees this, he realizes that the environment needs to be lightened up and the patients should be treated like real people. He becomes a leader to several patients at the institution teaching them how to have fun and enjoy themselves in an environment that doesn’t allow them to do so. McMurphy convinces his friends to enjoy themselves by playing cards, breaking out of their shell, and watch baseball games. The patients follow his footsteps and hope to be like him as he displays such charisma that people want to conform and have the confidence he has. This example is evident when the patients are sent up for shock therapy which many patients are afraid of. McMurphy goes up for the treatment and comes back down assuring the patients that the therapy has only charged him up for the next women he will be with. McMurphy also challenges Mildred to change the ward policy which furiates her as no other patient has ever had the courage to.

b) Alienation/Outsiders: The patients within the mental institution are alienated from the outside world. They are considered the people who are looking from the outside in. The Institutions head Nurse Mildred treats the patients in a harsh manner, not as If they were people. These people haven’t experienced life to their fullest due to where they are but they still want to enjoy their life. When they look outside they realize the world has much to offer but they are alienated by being contained within the facility. They are also not allowed many visitors which is essentially alienating them from the outside world.

c) Rebellion against social norms: When McMurphy realizes what he has gotten himself into as well as seeing his fellow patients he decides to rebel the social norms within the facility. The patients begin to drink, play cards and bet cigarettes which Nurse Mildred gets furious, evident when she confiscates the cigarettes and rations them out. McMurphy also steals the hospital bus and gathers his friends to pick up a party girl. The group also parties one night sneaking in two female visitors with alcohol and enjoy the night away even though McMurphy has a plan of escaping which fails as he is drunk and fatigued. One of the patients even loses his virginity within the facility which is frowned upon. The rebellious attitude gets the patients into a lot of trouble especially McMurphy as the patients were “well-behaved” but now are not.

d) Changing Group Dynamics: Before McMurphy arrived, the group of patients who were previously present were very “well-behaved” as Nurse Mildred would say. They followed rules and strict regimen that was provided without questioning anything. They took any punishment and also agreed to unusual medical treatments that were said to help the patients even though they were just a method to suppress them. The patients were very unhappy but just followed the orders that were given as no one had the courage to stand-up. When McMurphy came along, with his Charismatic and daring personality, the patients wanted to conform and be more like him so that they could live their life to the fullest while being contained within a facility. The patients forgot what life was like outside the facility but when McMurphy came along he proved that life could be lived the way you wanted to no matter where you are.

e) Authority’s response to rebellion: Nurse Mildred tried to contain the rebellious behaviour by increasing the unusual treatment like shock and hydro therapy. She confiscates cigarettes...
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