One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest English Literature Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is a story in the mental hospital showing the events that resulted in the narrator's escape out of the institution. A huge red Indian, Chief Bromden, is an inmate who served for a long time in the mental hospital and hence narrated the story through his experience. His insanity is as a result of the system 'The Combine' which control the behavior of the inmates. He was able to act as a deaf and dumb person so as to fight against that existing system of control. He recounted the oppression against him and other men in the ward. He was able to show clearly the conflict which arises between his inmate McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. The story mainly started on the arrival of the McMurphy in to the ward. McMurphy is a rebellious man who acted to crazy so as to get out of the prison farm and transferred to the mental hospital where he met with Chief Bromden.

How the Chief's image of the "combine" serve to explain and describe the way men are controlled on the ward

The nature of the current way of living shows that the people suffer from nervous ailments which shows themselves in minor forms while others in mild depression, paranoia or in psychopathic and psychotic ways. According to the modern literature, there are some instances where characters show some forms of mental ailments which shows that a feeling of oppression and paranoia are most common minor affections. The causes of these ailments are not the fault of the victim but mostly the society around them or the events which took place in their lives. Ken Kesey's in his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest tries to show some nervous ailments of some characters and the different ways in which the characters dealt with them. He also portrays unfair treatment of men in mental hospital for their different ailments.

Ken also tries to show how the head nurse, Nurse Ratched, treated these men unfairly claiming that it was even good for them not to have their signs of individuality so as to fit to their society well. He sympathized that the society's oppression was the cause of their problems instead of trying to solve them. Ken expressed how men in the mental hospital were treated badly by the staff, dehumanized and just kept in the ward, away from their society, but not really to treat them. He gathered this information in that institution while working there. He was not happy by the way the system tries to deny these men their freedom of speech, freedom of movement and even the freedom of thought.

Normally the men in the mental hospital's ward were assigned their duties. On the arrival of the Randall McMurphy, he tried to disrupt the regime. He mobilized the men to realize that they can even think for themselves and this led to the complete destruction in the way the system was operating.

The best example is clearly seen through the eyes of the Chief Bromdem, a big Red Indian man, who all the people believe him to be deaf and dumb. However, this was not the truth because he himself declared that he was not deaf and dumb originally but was forced to adopt that act by the people who treated him as deaf and dumb. This clearly shows that the way the individual depend mostly on how the society around him treated him. This is well illustrated by Chief Bromden's father who indicated that one should be careful so that they don't end up being forced to take part in what other people wants them to do (Scott 89).

For the case of Chief Bromden, he acted to be dumb and deaf since that was his role reassigned to him and also pretending to be what he is not actually who he is gives him upper hand. Due to his communication problem, he feels totally alienated. The indication of his mute-state in the society also caused him to feels that he is an outsider.

Other men on the ward having problems caused by other people like Billy Bibbitt whose mother's oppression treatment to him causes his stuttering problems and Harding whose excessive sexual jealousy was caused by his wife's attractiveness. The conditions of the ward were not helpful to these two men. Nurse Ratched who was called the mother of the ward continues the female oppression the two men are already suffering from. This is clearly shown when Billy, who was threatens by the nurse that she will tell her mother of his behavior, eventually committed suicide. The first three suicides show that the men were dehumanized. McMurphy tried to oppose the system but the men were unwilling to vote since they feared the system.

He also tried to lift the control panel which no other man can try to do so. McMurphy also guessed that nurse Ratched may relocate him and he falters in his struggling for personal identity and non-conformity. This makes Cheswick to lose hope and committed suicide. He increased losing hope when he tried to escape but overslept after the party. Being on the ward for long time also makes him dehumanized where he was later lobotomized and finally killed by Chief since Chief was also oppressed in the different way to that of the McMurphy. Other men were pressed to be submissive while McMurphy become rebellious bringing reforms to the ward even by sacrificing himself. The awareness to Chief made him escaped through the window. McMurphy influenced other men to realize they too can discharge themselves and that their conditions are not going to improve unless they decided to escape. This shows that their nervous ailments were caused by the society and recovery should come from within them.

How McMurphy resist the way men are controlled

Immediately McMurphy arrives into the mental hospital the people around him notice a lot of difference between him and the other patients. McMurphy who had managed to convince staff from prison that he needed mental help. These results in him transferred to the mental hospital that he finds more comfortable.

On arrival at the mental hospital McMurphy is seen to be different from other patients in very many ways, despite the notable difference the nurse Ratched sees him to be the same as the other patients. This in some way makes him to act differently from them and act in a way that opposed Ratched.

He came from a prison work farm, where he managed to convince them to transfer him to the mental hospital. He is big, confident, and ignores the aides, who would normally abuse a new patient. He quickly socializes with the others. His honest, real laughing is something the patients aren't used to. He threatens to drop his towel (though he wore short). Ratched screams to one of the boys to get McMurphy some new clothes. At the next group meeting, Dr. Spivey mentions casually that he talked to McMurphy about opening up the tub room as a game room and thinks that it is a great idea. The other inmates ratify the plan while Nurse Ratched's hands begin to shake-her first significant sign of weakness. -her first significant sign of weakness.

McMurphy next pushes for a schedule change so the patients can watch the World Series during the day and do their work at night. He attempts to motivate the patients to push for the schedule change, but he becomes angry at them when they act too "chicken-shit" and refuse to oppose Ratched. Billy Bibbit tells McMurphy that nothing he can do will be of any use in the long run, but McMurphy boasts that he will break out of the institution by lifting up the control panel in the tub room and throwing it through the window (Kesey 146).

The patients gradually grow more assertive in their opposition to the boys and to Ratched. At another group meeting, after Billy discusses his stutter and having proposed to a woman his mother disliked, McMurphy brings up the World Series again. Ratched finally allows a vote. All twenty acutely sick patients gradually grow more assertive in their opposition to the boys and to Ratched. At another group meeting, after Billy discusses his stutter and having proposed to a woman his mother disliked, McMurphy brings up the World Series again. Ratched finally allows a vote. All twenty acute patients vote for his idea, but Ratched declares it a defeat, for none of the Chronics have had the ability to vote. McMurphy finally motivates Chief Bromden to vote for him, but Ratched says it is too late and the vote is over. As a protest, McMurphy refuses to work and sits down in front of the television while the World Series is on. The other patients join him in this mutiny.

McMurphy continues to behave aggressively, but Ratched does not respond. The other patients revisit longstanding gripes against her, such as the rationing of cigarettes and the tight control over their schedules.

On the Ward's trip to the library, Harding introduces McMurphy to his visiting wife, Vera. Harding and Vera are rude to one another, and she implies that he is a closeted homosexual, and then suddenly leaves. Harding asks McMurphy his opinion, and McMurphy snaps that he will not say how awful Vera is, even if that is what Harding wants to hear. McMurphy says he has his own worries and should not have to deal with others' problems.