Example Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Essay
The book” One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was written by Ken Kesey and is based primarily on his experiences with mentally ill persons when he worked at a mental institution. In this book, Kesey looks at the themes of individuality as well as rebellion against the norm. Published in 1962, the novel received huge success and critical acclaim. The book is a narrative, with the narrator being Chief Bromden, a half-Indian patient in the Oregon Psychiatric hospital where the book is set. Chief Bromden goes around pretending to be deaf and dumb so as not to get noticed. This is in spite of the fact that he is Six foot Seven inches tall. Bromden suffers from hallucinations of ‘The Combine’ which he is terrified of. The hospital is run by a tyrannical ex-army nurse, called Nurse Ratched. All the patients are terrified of her until Randle McMurphy arrives and sets out to change this. This paper looks at the ways in which McMurphy influences Chief Bromden to change, and how each way liberates the Chief.
In the beginning segment of this story, Chief Bromden is a big man who, however, feels small. Despite his imposing physical size, the Chief acts as if he is invisible. In fact, he is so docile that he is regarded as a “sweeping machine’ even acquiring the moniker Chief Broom. However, when the brash and arrogant McMurphy comes along, the Chief loses this docility and begins to come out of his shell. Thus, the first way that McMurphy changes Bromden is teaching the Chief how to be strong again. This is evident in the control panel scene. Here, McMurphy bets the other inmates that he has the ability to lift the control panel even though it is obviously too heavy for him. Although he fails, McMurphy is adamant that this does not make him a loser since at least he tried. The lesson here to the Chief and others is to stop being afraid to try. Just because others like Maxwell Taber has tried to fight Nurse Ratched in the past and failed is no excuse not to try. The Chief learns to believe in his abilities once more and eventually, he succeeds in using his immense strength to break through a window and escape.
The second way in which McMurphy influences Chief Bromden to change is teaching the Chief to be independent. McMurphy is a man who is robust in his beliefs and does not believe in being cowed. This is evident from the way he stands up to Nurse Ratched despite knowledge of the power she wields. Even though he knows of the risks inherent in challenging this authority, he still goes ahead and does it. For example, when the other patients tell him about how strictly Nurse Ratched rules the hospital, McMurphy sets out to make her lose her temper inside a week. This shows he is independent in mind and is emancipated from the mental slavery of fear that the other inmate have of Nurse Ratched. Again, this has a positive influence on Chief Bromden since it allows him to see the fog for the illusion it is. Once he lifts this fog from his mind and refuses to slip into it again, he becomes liberated.
The third way in which McMurphy influences the Chief is that he teaches him to face the outside world with all its problems. This lesson is learnt in the scene where McMurphy takes the other patients on a fishing trip. McMurphy stands aside and watches as the others struggle to catch any fish. He sits back on the boat and laughs his head off as they try. Eventually, they succeed in catching fish. The Chief is among this group, and when they land the large fish, they learn that no obstacle is insurmountable. Bromden also learns that he can face the challenges of the outside world just as he faced the challenge of catching a large fish. This helps him to break free from the institution and go out with his head held high. The Chief now knows that on the outside, he can be his own man again.
The fourth way in which McMurphy influences the Chief is teaching him to stand up for what is right. This is on show in the scene where the black boys coerce George into cleaning against his will. McMurphy backs George up, and even begins fighting with Washington. Bromden jumps in to side with George and McMurphy. He made the decision as his own man since he felt the blacks were being unfair. Another instance is the scene of the second World Series vote. Chief Bromden, among others, puts up his hand to stand for what he believes is right. This helps him in his eventual liberation as he is able to break free of the yoke of the Institution.
The fifth way that McMurphy influences Chief Bromden is through teaching him to make decisions and take responsibility for his actions and accept the consequences. This is the case where after the fight with the blacks, they are sent to the Disturbed. Chief Bromden does not attempt to pin the blame for his actions on McMurphy. Instead, he admits that it was him that bore the greatest responsibility for his actions. Another decision he makes is to refuse to take his sleeping pill. This again is made out of his volition, and he does not shirk responsibility for it. This shows that Bromden has grown up and is his own man. This decision-making is a strong factor in his liberation since it is what leads him to break through a window and escape.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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