• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'The system works, the system calls' - the social issues in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'The system works, the system calls' By Alex Stevanovic In Ken Kesey's 'One Flew over the Cuckoo Nest' many mental conditions, emotions, and social issues are explored; the most complicated issue of these, and the strongest complaint against society is the treatment of the individual. In 'One Flew over the Cuckoo Nest' the individual is powerless against the system or combine and certain influential forces on the ward; Kesey uses many varied techniques to portray this and does so very effectively, at the conclusion we are left with his impression of the turmoil's of society and the harm it an cause Kesey uses popular culture symbolism of the 1960's to show some of the characters attempts at decapitulation and their powerless plight. McMurphy dislikes the music in the dayroom because it reminds him of the strict uniformity of the ward and how it doesn't change. After shocking Nurse Ratched with his whale shorts, he accompanies her retreat to the Nurse's station with the song 'The Roving Gambler' to establish his style, define his character, and show his indifference to ward policy. ...read more.

Middle

Additionally Kesey generalizes that those in positions of power are evil and abuse their position of power, while this is correct in his novel, it is a generalization that should not be applied to reality after all Communism started great under Lenin but he being an idealist was quickly surpassed by pseudo-dictator Stalin who abused his power and brought the general chaos to the masses. Those in power who abuse their position are victims of their own power and beliefs; they want to structure the world as they see fit but in doing so crush all that had opposed them. Kesey tried to pursue the theme of sexuality and how it can be used against influential forces. McMurphy uses his raw sexuality and holds no indisgressions, this is seen as humanizing and natural to the ward's patients and opens their minds to ideas of friend and decapitulation, and that they aren't social rejects. Nurse Ratched is the strongest example of sexuality and as such she represses it completely as she may feel vulnerable as a woman and doesn't want her power contradicted because of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the hospital the men are expected to act within strict guidelines, but they must also suppress the urge to express themselves. They are limited to doing menial, repetitive and are never given the chance to choose their own pathways for physical, intellectual or emotional development. If they attempt to act other than how they are expected to they are punished by a barrage of physical abuse (EST and Lobotomies) but also like psychological torture. In much the same way this oppression is present in society. We are forcefully encouraged to develop our potential along certain accepted routes. If people deviate too far from selected routes they can expect some form of retribution and punishment in return. Kesey presents many different psychological, sociological and mental issues in his novel and explores them and their cross currents with little effort and ease. The conclusion of the novel brings us to one of the main points he was trying to make: People that don't conform either are forced to conform, or end up emotionally and physically scarred trying to avoid it; McMurphy is the prime example of the effect of this trait of society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ken Kesey section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ken Kesey essays

  1. Discuss the presentation of McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and Offred ...

    Heroism imagery? Atwood demonstrates through the narrative of how Gilead a repressive and authoritarian society debilates the human inner being and illustrated the challenge for women to maintain a sense of perspective on their place in a male dominated society. Atwood is focusing on how one's self consciousness is constructed.

  2. Textual analysis of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

    Gibbs (2002) describes two different ways of addressing coherence in film. He writes about ?coherence across the work?. This can be achieved by the use of visual motifs. In One Flew Over The Cuckoo?s Nest, one of the most effective visual motifs is the cigarettes, a notepad and a pencil that McMurphy has in his shirt.

  1. compare 2 2oth century stories about enclosed rooms

    We are not told much about what the student spend his daytimes doing unlike in The Yellow Wallpaper where she writes updates on how she is feeling. She has to be careful that her husband, John, doesn't see that she is writing a journal as he would tell her to stop it and that she should just relax.

  2. How do directors of 'Rain Man' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' shows ...

    The viewers can see trees, mountains, far on the horizon. All this symbolises freedom, happiness, hope for the future as the wide angle shows everything so far away and it makes viewers think ahead to the future. Alike in 'Rain Man', short camera shots show facial expressions, drawing attention to important objects.

  1. Compare the ways in which psychiatric institutions and mental illness are presented in Barker's ...

    got no look back, and went down the line of Acutes looking for help. Each time a man looked away and refused to back him up, his panic doubled' This is an example of the way the nurse can exert her control over the patients once their ring leader, McMurphy, abandons them in their struggle against her.

  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,

    Through Kesey's use of literary features, his novel helped base an understanding on what society decided to believe is normal.

  1. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest Essay 2

    His character is also reflected by hiding the fact that he is able to talk and understand, he has allowed society to make him think he is dumb and a mute.

  2. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest Essay 1

    What starts as a rollicking rebellion against authority becomes a tragedy. McMurphy is repeatedly subjected to electric shock therapy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work