New Perspective in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

McMurphy, the protagonist of the novel One Flew Over the  Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, is a person who doest not belong to the system represented in the novel by Nurse Ratched and other workers of the hospital.  The story in the book is narrated by Chief Bromden, a Native Indian. He starts his story because he feels necessity to tell the truth: “I been silent so long now it’s gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth!“(Kesey, 12). New perspective presented in the novel comes from McMurphy.  Looking for an easy escape from term in prison McMurphy simulates mental illness in order to spend the rest of the term in asylum. In reality the situation he finds in the hospital is even worse than he saw in prison. Patients are deprived of free will and totally suppressed by medical staff. In the novel McMurphy represents the type of free person who does not want to stand humiliations and senseless commands of Nurse Ratched. The main external conflict of the novel – the conflict between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched – represents the conflict of two opposing systems of beliefs.  McMurphy knows no fear in contrast to all others patients of the asylum. He is shocked by the methods used by the Nurse Ratched during group meetings.  He very brightly illustrates hospital policy to choose the weakest person and make him a victim: “The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin’ at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers” (Kesey, 113). He knows that he has rights and that despite his body is locked in the hospital his free mind and spirit does not belong to anybody. This is the main lesson he wants to give to all other patients of the hospital. He broads their perspective, their vision of life in such minor things as playing games, watching TV, causing small resistance to unconditional demands of the medical workers. People who spend their lives in the asylum think and act accordingly to the situation they are placed in. McMurphy does not posses this standard thinking and he manages to show this new way of thinking to other people. Chief Bromden, the narrator of the story, is a perfect example of changed vision and new perspectives. His personality is changed by the end of the novel and he finds inner courage to “liberate” McMurphy by killing him and to escape the prison of asylum.

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