Cellissa Hernandez Mr. Ansaldo CSU ERWC Period 2 30 November 2012 Wrongful Doing One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey is a book in which the patients of an insane asylum rebel and try to “break” their leader, Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched is basically the form of government in the institution and the patients do not like how she is controlling them so they find ways to make her crack. Kesey shows similarities between the Declaration of Independence and what is going on in the book, McMurphy and the other patients are trying to replace the authority in the ward just as the people have America have the right to do with the government.
McMurphy tries to get Nurse Ratched to crack and show her weakness. He tries anything and everything to make her explode so people see she isn’t as strong as she looks. Big Nurse finds ways to gain control over the patients in the ward but doesn’t always succeed as Ken Kesey explains when he says, “The Big Nurse’s eyes swelled out white as he got close…This was supposed to establish her rule once and for all” (201). The Big Nurse “Nurse Ratched” isn’t able to control McMurphy which means she isn’t in complete control of all the men on the ward and this angers her.
If she can’t control this one man she doesn’t have complete control which helps McMurphy and the other men get one step closer to replacing her. There are times when Nurse Ratched under estimates what she is dealing with, such as other colleagues being on the side of the men in the ward. Not all of the workers are afraid of Big Nurse nor do they obey her every command. The doctor for example, disregards what she says and does what he feels is necessary. When Nurse Ratched says they can’t go on the fishing trip, the doctor replies by saying, “Good deal of paperwork I can get done on the boat” (234).
The doctor disregards the Nurse’s authority and doesn’t give her a chance to respond to what he had told her, therefore stripping away more of her power. The doctor not listening to the Nurse’s wishes makes her powerless and a powerless leader is not a leader at all. The Nurse now has to find other means of gaining control of the ward. When trying to gain control, Big Nurse is continually stopped by McMurphy so she begins to find ways around him in order to gain the control she desires.
No matter how many tactics she tries it seems as though she will not succeed at gaining control. Nurse Ratched feels as though attending a meeting and voicing her opinion will give her an advantage, the situation is described as, “Big Nurse tried to make her play in the group meeting… McMurphy was there at the meeting and he beat before she got good and started” (263). By not being able to give her input, Nurse Ratched slowly loses more power over the men on the ward. McMurphy is slowly but surely stripping the Nurse of the power she has over the ward.
It seems as though McMurphy has succeeded in taking power away from Big Nurse but this might not be as true as it seems. The Nurse begins to gain back some of her control over the ward by defeating her only opponent, McMurphy. To defeat someone there isn’t always a call for hostility, at times it might help to “kill them with kindness” in other words, be nice to them until they crack. Kesey shows an example of this when he writes, “The Big Nurse talks to McMurphy soft and patient about the irresponsible thing he did…” (280).
Nurse Ratched is trying to convince McMurphy that he has indeed done something bad. By making him look bad she gains more control over the ward especially over those who look up to him for “defeating” her. The people have the choice to replace there “government” or control system if it is not leading them the way they believe the leader should. In order to replace the leader there has to be enough people to help with getting rid of them and the person have to have done something that is completely wrong. They can try to replace the leader but might not always succeed.