The struggle for power in Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is evident from the moment McMurphy entered the ward. His eccentric personality and flamboyant laughter were the most prominent of traits when he first arrived. These traits stun the people on the ward for they have become so accustomed to repressed emotions due to Nurse Ratched’s power. She is not, however, strong enough to match McMurphy and he is able to lead the Acutes to salvation and away from her falsely therapeutic tactics.
It is much easier to convince others to follow you when the path you lead them to appears void of confrontation. However, this concealing of information shows the presenter’s lack of influence, or power, to persuade others honestly. The Nurse shows examples of this ineptitude when she tries to convince the Acutes that going on the fishing trip with McMurphy isn’t a promising idea. Nurse Ratched “drew out a clipping that she had taken from the paper that morning, and read out loud that although fishing off the coast of Oregon was having a peak year, the salmon were running quite late in the season and the sea was rough and dangerous. And she would suggest the men give that some though.”(Kesey 178) This is an example of her trying to manipulate the Acutes by making their trip seem as though it would be life threatening or harmful. Even when she uses these underhanded tactics it she still isn’t strong enough to ruin their admiration for McMurphy. McMurphy however is capable of persuading by his actions. The way he carries himself with confidence appeals to the “cagey” Acutes and leaves them eager to follow him. He breaks the grasp that Nurse Ratched has in a few months that took her years to build.
The ability to control the outcome of any given situation is a power known to few. McMurphy has the ability to not only control the outcome but seduce Nurse Ratched’s emotions as he pleases. He makes a bet with the Acutes that he can “bag the ball cutter”. The Nurse walks...
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