Essay over One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 16 September 2016

Essay over One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Through Ken Kesey’s exploration of a power discourse within ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, he visibly highlights that every text has a purpose. The author comes up with a discourse of power, where it is shown throughout the characters, and through how society used to treat the ‘mental illnesses’ at the time. In this book, society ideologies are challenged by the revolutionary mind of Ken Kesey, where within the influence of the beats, had ‘different’ beliefs from everyone else at the socio-cultural context of the time.

The characterisation in this plot is carefully made by the author, where each character is built to represent a different thing for the audience and to challenge society’s beliefs in the early 60’s. For example, The characters of the Chief and McMurphy were placed to reinforce the beat beliefs and to show that ‘illness’ for society at the time, wasn’t really to be crazy, it was just to be a bit different from everyone else, challenging society’s view of the insane. However, the character of nurse Ratched, represents society where it is the figure of power and control of the patients. Where, again it shows the power discourse within this book throughout nurse’s attitudes and beliefs.

Chief Bromden is one of the main characters and also the narrator of this book; he is a Native American that has been in the ward for many years, he’s always been marginalized and disempowered and due this, he ‘lost’ his voice and pretended to be deaf for the others. However, when McMurphy joined the ward, they became really close friends and slowly, the chief was getting his confidence and power back, he was being able to speak again, he was getting his strength back on and being himself again after years, “He’d done what he said, my arms were big again, big as they were in high school” said chief about McMurphy. This reinforces Ken keysey’s beliefs that if everyone was treated equally, there wouldn’t be any mental illness, there would only be different people in certain ways.

McMurphy is also one of the main characters in the plot, he is represented as an alpha male “a bull goose lony”, he is an antihero. As soon as he joins the ward, he gets the sympathize of most of the people, he helped people to get confidence back, he took place of a leader, and empowered people again (mainly the chief). He is seen as a Christ figure, he suffers for his friends and at the end he is sacrificed to ‘open the gates’ for his friends. Ken kesey through this man explored the figure of power giver, where all men in the microcosm ward were disempowered due the nurse, and this man came in and changed it to the other way around, where reinforces the idea of power being the controller of people.

“One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” represented society very well at the socio cultural context at the time, where it successfully shows the game of empowerment and disempowerment of a macrocosm ambient (society) in a microcosm environment (the ward). Ken kesey through this book was able to show that society can be wrong and you have to stick up for your beliefs, because at the end of the day, the insane stopped being marginalized and changed society’s view on the insane, which was the author’s main objective.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 16 September 2016

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