Control Leads to Destruction in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, is about patients
and doctors in a mental institution. The author talks a lot about what
goes on in this institute. The main points in this book deal with control,
be it the character of McMurphy who is unable to handle control, or Nurse
Ratched the head nurse on the ward whose job requires her to be in control.
The world of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is dark; it is a place where
control leads to destruction, but the novel shows through the character of
The Chief that there is still hope if the people who are being controlled
have the power to resist.
Nurse Ratched is a mean woman whose job revolves around control.
She depends on people who are less fortunate than her to make a living.
Her need to control others is an unfortunate trait that she has because it
makes people unable to think for themselves and it also leads to
destruction. One example of this is when Nurse Ratched caught one of the
patients (Billy Bibbit) with a woman. The nurse feeling the need to
control Billy threatened to tell his mother. Billy begged Nurse Ratched
not to tell her but when his requests were refused Billy slashed his neck
with a broken bottle and killed himself. Billy's life was destroyed
because of Nurse Ratched's need to control others.
Another place that we see the dark world is when we examine the
relationship between Nurse Ratched and R.P. McMurphy. McMurphy is a happy
and rebellious man. He is not used to being controlled, so when he gets
into the institution he refuses to be controlled by Nurse Ratched, "I can
get the best of that woman- before the week is up-without her getting the
best of me". Nurse Ratched constantly feels the need to control McMurphy.
Ever since the moment that McMurphy walks into the institute Nurse Ratched
tells him what to do, when to sit in the circle, when to eat, when to take
his medicine, and so on. At first McMurphy tries not to listen to Nurse
Ratched because he doesn't want anyone to feel stronger than him, "A man go
around lettin' a woman whup him down till he can't laugh no more and he
loses the biggest edge he's got on his side. First thing you know he'll