In uses Nurse Ratched in his work

In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s written by Ken Kesey an extremely controlled psychiatric ward is met with McMurphy, a rambunctious middle-aged man who stirs up nothing but a big bowl of drama. Before his arrival, the ward had an aura that concretizes what society viewed as acceptable. Kesey uses characters Nurse Ratched, Randle McMurphy and Dale Harding to express his opinion of American society in the 1960s, as well as his themes and overall impression of the world he lived in. Kesey uses Nurse Ratched in his work to display his opinion that government abuses its power to control. Ratched’s loud, authoritative voice helps her keep order on her ward. However, once that ability is taken away from her, she reaches a point of weakness and can no longer defend herself. Kesey writes, “Harding read the paper, then tore it up and threw the pieces at her. She flinched and raised her hand to protect the bruised side of her face from the paper” (Kesey 320). The Nurse would not have been pleased if any one of the patients were to have come at her in the way Harding did before McMurphy had stripped her of her dominance. She most definitely would not have “flinched” to protect herself from something as delicate as torn pieces of paper. Ratched’s voice is the only thing that rattled fear through the bodies of the patients; not just the deliberateness of it but also the things she could say. Analogous to the power of the government in American society, she had the influence to establish any laws she saw fit and work her voice capabilities as a driving force of control. As can be seen, Kesey believes that the government does have a surplus amount of power, albeit it should not be feared. Their ability to enforce obedience can be taken away in an instant if the right act is rendered. The author’s character McMurphy expresses the individuality that can be found throughout American society. His addition to the story elicits a uniqueness from the others and takes away society’s complete control. When Harding tells McMurphy, “..they are sick men now. No more rabbits, Mack” (Kesey 307), he is admitting that the change McMurphy has brought to the ward is for the better. Rabbits are scared and timid animals that run away from just about anything bigger than them; the patients were the same in this way. Although McMurphy was depicted as careless, conceited, and “too forward”, his arrival to the ward is what causes the men to actually be men: confident, strong and courageous. McMurphy embraces the idea of individuality, which is the attribute that Kesey would define his “ideal human” as. Although Kesey makes it difficult for McMurphy to exhibit his peculiarity to the men, he also helps him use his aspirations and motivation to affect the patients in a way that could not be changed by society. To be clear, the writer’s use of McMurphy’s character expresses his opinion of American society in the 1960’s. Kesey’s use of Harding’s character strongly symbolizes the dangers of conformity in American society. Harding was “‘shall we be kind and say different? It’s a better, more general word than the other one'” (Kesey 307). Harding recognizes that all of the other patients in the ward are not necessarily sick, but more so “different.” He then goes on to say, “‘I indulged in certain practices that our society regards as shameful…it was the feeling that the great, deadly, pointing forefinger of society pointing at me–and the great voice of millions chanting ‘Shame. Shame. Shame.’ It’s society’s way of dealing with someone different'” (Kesey 307-308). The fact that they go against the expectations of society pushes them into the category of being classified as an outcast. The pressure and “pointing finger” of society is what causes the men to feel less human, belittled, and take cover in the comfort of the ward. During the 1950’s and 1960’s life in society was nothing but a large battle between fitting in and standing out. The 1950’s is the embodiment of self-satisfaction and superficiality. With this quote, Kesey expresses the cruelty of society and shows how the world forces outcasts into their boxes of shame, until they reach the point of truly believing that they inhabit disparate characteristics of a human.  On the whole, Kesey’s overall perspective of the 1950s and 60s and the world he lived in is illustrated through his use of Nurse Ratched, McMurphy, and Harding. These characters actively portray the government, embracing individuality, and conformity. American society idolizes the idea of being someone you are not. The government glamorizes superficiality, which of course leads people to believe being fake is the right path to take. People go to certain extremes, including dangerous ones, solely to fit in and keep up with the trends of the world. Thus, the way that society has trained people to think is not healthy. People need to embrace their differences and keep it real.