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One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

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In the social protest novel One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Kesey uses madness to provide a foundation for the overall work. The madness not only in reference to a psychological, but also to madness as a flaw in the character Nurse Ratched's personality, Nurse Ratched personifies and symbolizes this madness throughout the entirety of the novel.

Nurse Ratched represents an ironic situation; she works at a psychic ward but contains sociopathic qualities within herself. Kesey exploits with Nurse Ratched's love for manipulation, "What she dreams of there in the center of those wires is a world of precision efficiency.... Like a pocket watch with a glass back" Kesey portrays Nurse Ratched as machine like in her activities. Kesey's portrayal of Nurse Ratched as a machine further defines her extreme madness. The human to machine extended metaphor illustrates Ratched's acts as cold and calculated, always planning out her next manipulative move. Nurse Ratched plans to manipulate every other character in the work, constantly attempting to criminalize the protagonist McMurphy. Kesey shows the manipulation during a conversation between Nurse Ratched and Miss Flinn, in the conversation Ratched and Miss Flinn, in the conversation Ratched intimates " That is exactly what the new patient: to take over. He is what we call a 'manipulator'" Here Nurse Ratched plans to initiate a rebellion against McMurphy.

Kesey does provide reasonable explanation to pardon Nurse Ratcheds actions. Kesey employs an allegorical tone using the hospital to symbolize the 1950's society. Nurse Ratched symbolizes a strong female figure in a time where females were not given much power. Kesey expresses this sexist ideology through Ratched's masking of her breasts to suppress her womanly features. The sexist issue also rises when McMurphy and other patients tease Ratched about her breasts. Nurse Ratched expresses the social outcry for equal treatment of woman in the workplace.

Kesey displays the madness of Nurse Ratched as an outcry for woman in the workplace. Kesey shows positive outlooks of a woman in power with Nurse Ratched's maturity, and negative aspects of a powerful woman with Nurse Ratched's manipulation.



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