15 February 2012
Light versus Darkness
“Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error… We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.” This quote by Louis Aragon explains that truth holds meaning only in contrast to deceit or fraudulence. In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Randle McMurphy and Nurse Ratched act as the ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ in the ward, respectively. Although the nurse constantly accuses McMurphy of being a destructive force in the ward, the devastation is actually caused by the patients’ realization that Nurse Ratched is abusing her authority. In all actuality, everything the nurse hates about McMurphy could all describe her as well. In this novel, Kesey uses tone, diction, and irony to convey the idea that Nurse Ratched’s destructive behavior is far worse than that which she describes McMurphy of doing. From the very beginning, there is a strong difference between Nurse Ratched and Randle McMurphy and the feelings they provoke in the hospital. As she is walking into the ward, Nurse Ratched “slides through the door with a gust of cold and locks the door behind her…” (Kesey, 4) Her entrance triggers a fear from both Bromden and the orderlies as signaled by the imagery of the line: “gust of cold”. By locking the door behind her, she seems to create a sense of entrapment on the ward, as there is no way to escape her “hideous real self” (Kesey, 5). Both of these descriptions enhance the sense of unease and terror surrounding the patients and staff. Meanwhile, as Randle McMurphy enters the hospital everyone can tell that he is no “ordinary Admission” because he doesn’t “slide scared along the wall” (Kesey, 11) as every other admission does. Bromden describes McMurphy as someone who speaks “a little the way Papa used to, voice loud and full of hell…” (Kesey, 11). McMurphy comes into the ward with a very powerful and...
Cited: Kesey, Ken. One Flew over the Cuckoo 's Nest, a Novel. New York: Viking, 1962. Print.
"McMurphy, Rebel with a Cause in Ken Kesey 's One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest One Flew Over Cuckoos Nest." Free Essays, Term Papers, Research Paper, and Book Report. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .
"McMurphy vs. Ms. Ratched." Rob 's Blog. 28 Sept. 2009. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .
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