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One flew over the cuckoo's nest - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date Addressing the Needs of the Cuckoo's Nest Life doesn't always work out the way we've planned and sometimes even master manipulators get caught in their own trap. This would seem to be the case for Randy McMurphy in Ken Kesey's story One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest…
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One flew over the cuckoos nest
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Download file to see previous pages Originally entering the ward in a bid to escape having to serve jail time, McMurphy quickly sizes up the other patients and determines what each can do to help make his stay in the ward more comfortable and exciting. However, as he comes into direct conflict with the high level of manipulation and oppression directed through the heavy hand of Big Nurse Ratched, the Irishman's energy and focus becomes a driving need to thwart her efforts. Since it appears that Nurse Ratched's primary goal is to keep the patients on the ward completely subdued and under her control, McMurphy concentrates on helping them recover their own sense of power and independence. As he constantly challenges Nurse Ratched's authority and demonstrates to the men on the ward that they have their own inner power to defy her wishes, McMurphy reveals to the men various ways in which they can help themselves break out of the mental traps in which they'd allowed themselves to be trapped. Although he didn't set out to empower the patients or to play any role positive or negative in their rehabilitation, it can be argued that Randy McMurphy was more successful than Nurse Ratched in rehabilitating the patients. By comparing Nurse Ratched's approach to the patients with McMurphy's approach, it is easy to see that even though both characters lost something important to them, McMurphy was more successful in helping these patients rehabilitate. It is clear from the beginning of the book that Nurse Ratched's primary goal is to ensure all the people within her domain are completely subjugated to her command so that she can 'fix' them the way she sees fit. Her purpose in working with the patients is to break them down until they are completely submissive to her instructions and desires. These desires are that the patients be fixed to work like the well-oiled machine they were intended to be, which the narrator makes clear right away in his description of the tools of her trade that she carries in her handbag: "there's no compact or lipstick or woman stuff, she's got that bag full of a thousand parts she aims to use in her duties today - wheels and gears, cogs polished to a hard glitter, tiny pills that gleam like porcelain, needles, forceps, watchmakers pliers, rolls of copper wire ... " (10). The tools of her trade are the tools of a mechanic intent on putting broken machines back together. There is no sense that she values the human spirit that ignites each soul as she works to break down the patients' resistance so that she can organize their universe for them. "The Big Nurse tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine ... what she dreams of there in those wires is a world of precision efficiency and tidiness like a pocket watch with a glass back" (30). This concept of the patient as a broken clock continues to be mentioned by the narrator, Chief Bromden, who illustrates the fear and mistrust the other men have of her motives. She appears in her description like a giant mechanical spider sitting “in the center of this web of wires like a watchful robot, tend[s] her network with mechanical insect skill, know[s] every second which wire runs where and just what current to send up to get the results she wants” (30). Whether or not she is truly intent on helping these men heal within the limits ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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