One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest- Ken Kesey's Characterization of Women

Topics: Gender, BDSM, Female Pages: 2 (491 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Kesey's characterization of women is by no means fair. He perceives one type to be the bossy domineering woman, and the other type to be submissive whores. He is subjective to the inmates being futile, perceiving us to think that their wives and especially Big "Powerful" Nurse took away their manliness. Kesey tries to imply that whores such as Candy Starr, contradict that, and offer them courage and pleasure. In this book, there are no regular women, just these two extremes.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest does not seem to intentionally degrade women. Although Kesey may not have, there is a shadow of doubt in how he illustrates it. The Nurse's name itself symbolizes this. A Ratched is perceived to sound like a wretched conniving drill sergeant, with no feelings or personality. Although described as an attractive arousing lady, she is a power hungry monster, trying to hide her sexuality under her uniform. She drives to control the ward, even overpowering Dr. Spivey, finding his morphine weakness. She is opposed to male sexuality in its entirety, and thinks upon it as evil. Her only weakness is her own sexuality, and falls prey to it when McMurphy strips her clothes off, and she becomes powerless.

Another figure of female dominance is Billy Bibbit's mother. She visualizes Billy, at 31 years old; still to be an adolescent probably because of his stuttering. She has controlled him all his life, and because of that, does not trust him as an adult. He is then committed to this asylum so his mom doesn't have to take care of him, but is then treated the same way by Nurse Ratched. As he defies Big Nurse, by losing his virginity and becoming a man, she finds his weakness. Disgracing him with the risk of telling his mom, he kills himself from the humiliation of not being a man.

Dale Harding is another victim fallen prey to supremacy. His wife has controlled him and he has become self indulged in an unmanly state. He is weak and feeble and unable to control...
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