One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Albert Camus once said: “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” Normality is not innate. It is acquired. Most people just happen to be closer to what is conceived as normal while others struggle to reach it or just do not care. Some are even branded insane. But who defines normality? Society does. And why is it an allegedly desired state? Because society said so. “Yes” is the answer this machine wants. A “but” is frowned upon. A “no” is suicidal. In Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, society clearly exerts this kind of power by seemingly “choosing” the inhabitants of the mental ward. It even delegates the delightful Nurse Ratched to govern their pitiful existence. The major themes present in the pp. 144-215 section are the castrating authority of women, the arbitrary power of society and its means as well as the fickle nature of insanity. They will be examined through the evolution of Nurse Ratched, McMurphy and Chief Bromden throughout the part. Welcome to that wretched world! The first notable evolution is that of Nurse Ratched and her tyranny. Her strict rules, whose sole purpose is to assert her authority, continue to operate here. The men want to sleep late on weekends but the doctor said that: “every minute spent in the company of others, with some exceptions, is therapeutic, while every minute spent alone only increases your separation.” Her rules have unquestionable scientific justifications. Society’s reasons are also often scientific. Loneliness is dangerous, is the generally agreed idea. Time spent alone is also time where she cannot control the patients, where there could think and maybe come to question her system. She clearly does not want that! McMurphy is delighted to ridicule her. Then came the cigarettes issue. Fueled by McMurphy’s resistance, Cheswick has a very strong opinion on the subject.
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