Ken Kesey is the author of thisbook and he got inspired to writethis book because he even felt as if the patients he would talk to were notactually insane, but it was the outside world that drove them to theirinsanity.
What better way to get rid of someone by locking them up where peopleare scared to visit and would never believe a word they are saying? The author usesthe character Randle P. McMurphy as the only sane person while the asylum isslowly driving the other patients insane. His sanity allows him to be characterizedas a hero that saves the patients. McMurphy slowly takes these sick patientsinto a slow, recovery journey by causing laughter around him. He is portrayedas a symbol of freedom by not following any of the rules and getting the otherpatients to rebel with him. But soon he is defeated and turned to a vegetableby the hospital staff. The lack of humor, sexual expression and freedom in thepatients keep them stuck in the hospital not being able to leave, and that iswhy McMurphy shaped their sanity, because of the different traits he broughtupon each and every patient, and they needed this in order to begin recuperating. The way the author portrays Nurse Ratched is how he feltabout the government.
It is very controlling, doesn’t care what the peoplethink, and it is always right. She has a narcissistic personality—she expectsother people to give her their undivided attention and admiration. “The BigNurse tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running likea smooth, accurate, precision-made machine.” (28) She likes to belittle thepatients and frighten them, by threatening them. She tries to belittle Billy bytelling him that she is ashamed of him for what he is caught doing with Candy.
Shelacks empathy for the patients because no matter what she does, she makes themget worse and worse. She knew that the pill would make the guys get a seizureand if they didn’t drink the pill, they would get shock therapy. So either waythey end up losing, and like always she wins. “Damned if you do and damned ifyou don’t. Puts a man in one confounded bind, I’d say.
” (179) I believe thereason why the nurse has no empathy for any of the patients, is so she canprove a point and for the patients to fear her. Nurse Ratched is the mainperson who has all the control over the patients. She is able to do whatevershe wants, whenever she wants. She symbolizes society’s demand for conformity. “Whatshe dreams of there in the center of those wires, is a world of precisionefficiency and tidiness like a pocket watch with a glass back, a place wherethe schedule is unbreakable and all the patients who aren’t outside, obedientunder her beam, are wheelchair Chronics with catheter tubes run direct fromevery pantleg to the sewer under the floor.” (29) Society is viewed as a machine that obligates all of usto follow its specific rules. If we don’t, we are punished. We don’t actuallyhave a say in society.
In the society we are living today, no one is free to doanything anymore. Even though we have the freedom of speech and expression, wearen’t really allowed to do so. Individuals get shut down and hurt mentally andsometimes physically because they speak against something they do not agreewith. People who spoke out about thepresident and why they don’t agree with him, get sent to jail. Individuals whoaren’t for the president, are getting harassed and humiliated by the president’sfollowers. This book showed us all that. Nurse Ratched showing a high authoritywho wants everything going her way and disciplining those around her so theycan obey her. McMurphy was the little bit of hope the patients had and sincethe nurse did not agree with it and knew he had more followers than she had,she decided to take it into her hands and shut him down.