Psychological Connotations in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
We feel that One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest is filled with many psychological connotations. This movie is set in a mental hospital where McMurphy was admitted to be psychologically evaluated because of violent behavior. Upon his arrival McMurphy noticed that the patients were very robot-like in their actions. The hospital is extremely structured where the patient’s daily life was monotonous. We will discuss the various connotations by answering the following questions that have been asked.
A variety of treatment techniques were present in the mental facility. We will examine those of McMurphy, Nurse Ratchett, and the head doctor. Nurse Ratchett and the head doctor had similar treatment techniques. Regardless of the condition of the patient both Nurse Ratchett and the head doctor treated the patients as inferiors. The patients were seen as “robots,” and were treated the same way regardless of the patient’s state of mental health. Nurse Ratchett continuously ordered around the patients instructing them on their daily activities. She showed no emotion towards the patients and had them do what she saw fit, forgetting what was right for each patient’s individual needs. The head doctor felt that each patient was in need of a psychiatric intervention. He felt that each patient was a “lab rat,” by treating them with unnecessary procedures. These procedures often led to circumstances that left the patients unable to make rational decisions.
Contrary to Nurse Ratchett and the head doctor, McMurphy treated everyone as equals, but with a respectful manner to boost their self confidence. Even though his condition appeared healthier than most, his actions refuted this fact. McMurphy advocated group participation in activities making sure that each individual was involved in a way that would better their condition. For example, Chiefs beginning to play basketball is a major accomplishment on the part of McMurphy. His constant encouragement finally drove Chief to play. Another example is the group discussions. McMurphy tried to incorporate everyone into these discussions simultaneously. This can be seen when he rallied everyone’s support to try to convince Nurse Ratchett to let them watch the World Series on television.
The two psychological interventions that were administered to McMurphy while in the mental institution were a lobotomy and shock therapy. A lobotomy is the removal of the portion from the frontal lobe of the brain. This procedure’s main goal is to eliminate aggressive or violent behavior. This invention took place in 1935 by Dr. Antonio Egas Moniz. However, by the late 1940s the realization those individuals undergoing lobotomy procedures took place without initiative became apparent. Although the methods of a lobotomy have changed the basic underlying idea of neurosurgery exists today in the form of “psychosurgery” (Encarta 2000). Shock...