One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Vasista Avvaru 10/9/11 AP Literature Ol’ Mother Ratched’s Therapeutic Nursery The fog is slowly rising. The record player is churning like an Amish butter barrel. The keyboard is tapping staccato rhythms befit for a Tito Puente solo. The eyes are drooping like vanilla ice cream on the outside of the cone, as a warm and fuzzy feeling envelops your body, hinting that the LSD is starting to kick in. It is with this mentality that we reflect on Ken Kesey’s wonderful novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. A grim satire set amongst the patients and workers in a mental institution, Kesey’s narrative recounts the story of an unpredictable con man that pursues institutionalization as a method of breaking out from the sternness of a prison work farm. Before long, in order to lessen the sexual and emotional feebleness of the men at the institution, he begins to taunt the autocratic Nurse Ratched, irrevocably changing the future of those in the ward. “As he [Jesus] landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a Shepherd.”(Mark 6:34) McMurphy’s entrance onto the ward is much like that of Jesus. Much like Son of God himself, McMurphy saw the people on the psychiatric ward as metaphorical sheep, leaderless and subject to the cunning fox, in the form of Nurse Ratched. Told from the point of view of a deaf and dumb mute, Kesey illustrates the plight of the ward members such as Billy Bibbit, who quivers at the mere mention of his mother; Harding, who is petrified of people noticing his femininity; and Chief Bromden, the narrator who has retreated into a deaf and dumb shell to avoid people. McMurphy acts as a Jesus figure to these people by sticking up for their rights, disobeying the head nurse, and challenging senseless rules; and in doing so, empowers them. He offers the hope that the deplorable conditions and the harsh
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