Nurse Ratchet’s Manipulation
Nurse Ratchet’s Manipulation
In Ken Kesey's novel One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Nurse Ratched took away the freedom of the patients mentally, physically, and spiritually. One of the major themes in the novel is the Big Nurse, Nurse Ratchet’s subjugation of the patients. Subjugation means to take away freedom, to make submissive by gaining control of someone or something by use of manipulation or force (Subjugate). In the OFOCN, Nurse Ratchet emasculates the patients repeatedly, by her various control issues. Before McMurphy is committed to mental hospital, Nurse Ratchet ran a submissive ward and did not have much trouble from anyone. The patients had viewed her as an angel. This is demonstrated when Harding is conversing with McMurphy about his angle of mercy.
“Our dear Miss Ratched? Our sweet, smiling, tender angel of mercy, Mother Ratched, a ball cutter? Why, friend, that’s most unlikely.” (Kesey, p.54) It is this type of thinking throughout the novel that the patients are misguided with what they are lacking in their lives by Miss Ratched’s manipulation and when McMurphy comes in to the ward with his bolstering personality and laugh, it instantly breaks up the monotony of the ward. As the Novel progresses, McMurphy challenges the Big Nurse to break her down and get under her skin, give the patients their manhood back and the guts they need to go into the world since they are only volunteer and not committed as he is. The Big Nurse’s infatuation with control completely explains her as being the face of the Combine. Although she is the face of the Combine, because she is very good at getting people to do what she wants using force and coercing people with her fake mother like mentality and fake charm; she has her own agenda. Nurse Ratched not only emasculates the patients but also is able to manipulate the doctors and the staff into doing and following her bidding to help carry out her hate she harbors inside. Mentally
Breaking down someone mentally is one of the most detrimental things a one human can do to another human being. A person needs his/her mind in order to feel like a whole individual that can function in the world. As stated earlier, the Big Nurse uses manipulation, the Combine, and her own hateful agenda to emasculate the patients the best way she knows how. The worst of her subjugation is through mental manipulation. The men have no laughter, no joy in their current situation, which is apparent throughout the novel until the fishing trip, and the men find their release and laugh. Nurse Ratched takes away the freedom of the patients mentally in Ken Kesey’s novel is by installing fear in them. On page 17, it is demonstrated when Chief Bromden is explaining about how the Acutes and the Chronics are to stay on their side of the Day room. The nurse uses the Chronics as an intimidation to the Acutes, to not misbehave. This fear is set into the Acutes to behave and made to believe it is for their cure and if they do not cooperate, they will end up not being able to function, possibly mumbling and stumbling and/or with a catheter running down thier leg. The nurse has instilled a fear into the current patients to not cause disruptions; the patients know the Big Nurse gets very irritated if the smallest thing gets out of order on her ward (p.25). The nurse is able to manipulate and take away Billy Bibbits freedom mentally by a few different ways. First, she knows his mother and uses that to keep Billy in line in fear of disappointing the nurse or his mother. Nurse Ratched brings up how she spoke to Billy’s mother several times in the book, to show her power over him and use his fear to defeat him. The biggest example, of this is when Billy is in the Seclusion room with Candy. Billy, a thirty something year old boy, controlled by his fear and need to people please. Miss Ratched discloses how she is very disappointed in Billy....
References: Kesey, K. (2003). One flew over the cuckoo 's nest. New York: Penguin Books.
Subjugate. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster Retrieved August 30, 2014.
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