One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest
Should We Laugh or Cry? An Outlook on Therapy and which Types are Actually Therapeutic Thesis: In Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched exposes the patients to electro-shock therapy and lobotomies, drug therapy, and group therapy; while McMurphy teaches the men to stick up for themselves using laughter, resistance to the Big Nurse, and a fishing trip. I. Nurse Ratched’s Therapy A. Electroshock Therapy and Lobotomies 1. The Shock Shop is the one place where the Big Nurse completely dominates how the patients are treated therapeutically. . Chief Bromden describes McMurphy’s and his visit to the Shock Shop after fighting with the Black Boys; he explains how unafraid McMurphy is of the procedure. 3. After McMurphy undergoes several rounds of electricity, he is given a lobotomy which ends his reign of terror on the ward. B. Drug Therapy 1. All patients are required to take therapeutic medication. 2. McMurphy resists the drugs; this is when McMurphy takes charge of the ward and begins his own therapy for the patients. C.
Group Therapy 1. Harding discusses his wife. 2. Billy tells about the girlfriend he wanted to marry. 3. Big Nurse blames Billy Bibbit’s suicide. II. McMurphy’s Therapy A. Laughter 1. McMurphy’s laughter is the first true laughter the men on the ward have heard in a long time. 2. McMurphy believes that laughter is the most powerful resistance against the Big Nurse. B. Resistance to the Big Nurse 1. McMurphy speaks his mind when it comes to the things the Big Nurse deems therapeutic. 2.
McMurphy teaches the men on the ward to stick up for themselves when the Big Nurse begins her “chicken peckin’ parties. ” C. Fishing Trip 1. McMurphy doesn’t help the men when they ask for help. 2. By then end of the fishing trip, the men are able to laugh aloud instead of hiding behind smiles and snickers. In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, laughter along with other resistance to the Big Nurse represents liberty and an escape from Nurse Ratched’s authoritative boundaries.
Nurse Ratched exposes the patients to electro-shock therapy and lobotomies, drug therapy, and group therapy; while McMurphy teaches the men to stick up for themselves using laughter, resistance to the Big Nurse, and a fishing trip. McMurphy’s forms of therapy prove to be a key role in helping the patients deal with their problems which Nurse Ratched uses against them. Not only does it help the patients deal with problems, but it also gave them a much-needed push toward getting out of the institution. Nurse Ratched is an extremely detested and feared woman on the ward.
Chief Bromden mentions that even her name sounds mechanical (page number needed). She runs the ward like it is a machine; there is a certain schedule to be followed, certain medications to be taken by patients, and certain rules to be upheld on the ward. Any deviation of this routine is reprimanded by the Big Nurse who holds complete authority of the ward even though she is not the doctor. Chief says that she hand selects the people with the most hate to assist her on the ward and has the doctor too scared to object to her power (page #).
Because of this, she has the power to determine which patients are so out of control that lobotomy and electroshock therapy are their only options, or more like her only options. This form of therapy, known as Brain Burning named by Harding, a patient on the ward, is dominated entirely by Nurse Ratched (178). She controls who enters, who comes out seizing, and who comes out as a vegetable.
Works Cited Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Text and Criticism. Ed. John Clark Pratt. New York: Penguin Group, 1996.
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