What Is The Novel "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest" By Ken Kesey Saying About The Role Of Women?

1392 words - 6 pages

What is the novel saying about the role of women?The novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, is saying that women are like castrators. Women are portrayed in the novel as powerful, dominating, emasculating and disabling. The novel looks at the power women have over men. These viewpoints are illustrated through the character Nurse Ratched and the control she has over the male characters and through some patients and their personal experiences with the women in their lives.Nurse Ratched is the head nurse of the mental institution in which the story is set. The story is set around the suffering of the male patients under the hands of Nurse Ratched. She is sometimes referred to as 'Big Nurse' referring to both her physical and mental size and power, for example, the more power she is using the larger she gets "she blows up bigger and bigger, big as a tractor".Nurse Ratched is described as oppressive, powerful and all knowing. The members of the staff and the patients fear her. An example of how she is feared is described by the cold feeling she gives people, "She slides through the door with a gust of cold". Nurse Ratched is not described as a warm or lovable character, or in any sense feminine, the men describe as "handsome" and she is described in a mechanical manner like "automatic...smooth, calculated and precision-made". She has no warm or natural feminine aspects, except for her "rather extraordinary breasts" which she attempts to conceal.Nurse Ratched exercises complete control over the ward by hand picking her staff. She chooses people she can manipulate to do exactly what she wants and in the same precision, efficient manner she herself does things. Even the head doctor of the ward fears her and is dominated by her, "Doctor Spivey... is exactly like the rest of us, completely conscious of his inadequacy...And, worse, she knows he knows it and reminds him every chance she gets."Harding describes to McMurphy that the patients "are victims of a matriarchy here, my friends, and the doctor is just as helpless against it as we are", showing that the patients are aware that they are being overpowered but they feel helpless against it. Another example of the patient's helplessness is that they are made to feel like animals and not men, they feel like they have been castrated and lost their sexuality and manhood. For example, Harding refers to himself as a 'rabbit' to signify that he is weak, small and button tailed, while Nurse Ratched is described as a "good strong wolf" and that they need some one like her to put them in their place.She emasculates her patients with shame and guilt. She acts as thought she is helping the patients and doing things for therapeutic reasons, while at the same time shamming them into submission. For example, at the group therapy meetings, she draws the patients into exposing dark secrets. "It was better than she dreamed. They were all shouting to outdo one another, going further and further...telling...

Find Another Essay On What is the novel "One flew over the cuckoos nest" by Ken Kesey saying about the role of women?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

2803 words - 11 pages drives the point in too hard that the hospital life was rough in the 60’s. This depiction of mental health hospitals by Ken Kesey can be comparable to life in an insane asylum for criminals. One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest accurately depicts life in the hospitals in some smaller aspects, but overall the book is a dramatization of that which life was like in the 70’s and what it is like now. There has been a prominent change for the patients

"One flew over the Cuckoo's nest" by Ken Kesey.

664 words - 3 pages in the delivery of such themes but quite obvious about making them known later in the story. Although this novel contains several themes, the major themes are sanity vs. insanity, women in the role of castrators, oppression, sexual expression, humor, individual vs. society, and the concept of freedom vs. captivity. In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the themes are delivered both deliberately and articulately.Obviously, one of the themes that is

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey

1172 words - 5 pages With its confronting issues, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was an extremely important novel of the 1960's. The author, Ken Kesey, played a key role in the usage of the counterculture of the 60's; this included all groups who did not adapt to society’s standards, experimented with drugs, and rightfully lived their lives in an unorthodox style. Ken Kesey had momentous experiences that enabled him to create One Flew Over the

Themes - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By Ken Kesey

905 words - 4 pages One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, examines humanity and control. In this novel, characters within a mental institution struggle with achieving rights and freedoms. The mental institution and its staffs resemble totalitarian state of government which imposes laws and control. However, as demonstrated by one of the characters R.P. McMurphy, it takes a strong individual to stand up against a totalitarian system and speak for the rights

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

4124 words - 16 pages One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest The author of the novel stages this story in a mental institution located in the Northwest Pacific. The manuscript was written in the early on 1960s when the issues involving social norms were being put on the spotlight. In “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Ken Kesey examines how the appearance of a controversial mental patient affects everybody around him in the asylum. This character that Ken Kesey creates

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by: Ken Kesey

2187 words - 9 pages beyond what he would undergo and sacrificed his own morality for the good of his disciples.2) Discuss Ken Kesey's choice for the title of the novel.I believe that Kesey chose to entitle the book "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" because of its symbolism. One can interpret "cuckoo" to be a person or thing absurd, strange, and not completely sane. The book's setting is in a mental institution in Oregon. The 'one' that Kesey is referring to is McMurphy

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Other Ken Kesey Writing

1725 words - 7 pages United States and you can see Ken Kesey’s perspective on it all through his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ken Kesey, “The Intrepid Traveler” The late author Ken Kesey was born on September 17, 1935 and passed away on November 10, 2001. He was the author of many works including Zoo, Caverns and the most popular One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He is a well known author known internationally and across generations. He began writing

The Importance of Sexuality in Ken Kesey´s Novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo´s Nest

1459 words - 6 pages The importance of sexuality is one of the most odd and misconceived elements of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Instead of a war between races and genders, this novel is about the complication of living in a prevailing democracy where one party has ultimate control over the other. The novel includes a democracy where one must be willing to live as a slave or a defender, one must be willing to have it all or have absolutely

The Stereotypes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

878 words - 4 pages The Stereotypes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is not only filled with symbols and references, but with standardized mental pictures that are held in common by members of a group and that represent an oversimplified opinion, stereotypes . Some characters aren't even stereotypes, but they

Movie/Book Comparison of one Flew Over the Cukoos Nest Written by Ken Kesey

641 words - 3 pages Through various transitions from novel to film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" has provided viewers with a whole new perspective. Director, Milos Forman, has changed the story, adding more excitement and new twists, while taking away several detailings. Ken Kesey, the author of the famous novel, expresses his views and general story through the eyes of a half native non-committed mental patient, found in the institiution where most of the

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Author: Ken Kesey

1255 words - 5 pages The major character in "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" is R.P. Mc Murphy. The story is set in a mental hospital and there are a number of minor characters who are the acute patients in the ward. It is the interaction of Mc Murphy with minor characters which cause to change and gives the reader an understanding of Mc Murphy's character. At the beginning of the novel Mc Murphy arrives in the ward, he has been convicted of violence and sentenced

Similar Essays

Humor And Laughter Do Not Play A Role In "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest", By Ken Kesey.

1029 words - 4 pages Humor and Laughter do not play a significant role in the lives of the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, the patients of the ward live miserable existences, drifting day by day in the homely-looking, sterile, depressing world of a mental asylum. They have forgotten how and when to laugh, or otherwise express humor, because they are under such strict and authoritative rule at

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Literary Analysis Paper One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Ken Kesey

1035 words - 4 pages One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Literary Analysis PaperRandle McMurphy fits the profile of a tragic hero based on the analysis of certain literary elements. McMurphy's major flaw was hubris which leads to his downfall in life as well as the lives of others in the novel. After closely reading Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, it is apparent that McMurphy is a tragic hero.Kesey uses narration in the first person in One Flew Over the

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By Ken Kesey

2035 words - 8 pages One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey The novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was written by Ken Kesey. The novel takes place in a mental institute. McMurphy is a man who tries to escape a work farm (prison) by saying he is not "straight in the head". McMurphy is sent to this mental institute to be examined. Here, McMurphy is the hero who sacrifice himself in order to teach others, the patients, to take control of there own

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, By Ken Kesey

1144 words - 5 pages without fighting for it. But in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, personal freedom, a sense of self, and individuality are withheld from the patients in an Oregon insane asylum. The asylum itself is symbolic of society and how it pressures people to act a certain way, and portrays how deviating even slightly from the label “normal” is cause for being confined. In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, characters such as Chief Bromden and