One Flew Over the Cuckoffs Nest Society as a whole determines what behaviours are considered sane and insane. Attitudes and behaviours that conflict with the majoritys school of thought are often described as Insane and obscure. Sanity Is dependent on a number of factors, for example, actions that are regarded as normal or are accepted within a community may affect whether individuals see themselves as normal or insane. For example, in a highly religious community it may be considered insane or even abnormal if someone Is homosexual because It goes against beliefs that have been deeply ntegrated in the general population.

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Moreover, sanity is also associated with the ability to recognize whether an individual suffers from a mental illness or is psychological healthy. In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the inmates were unable to evaluate themselves for mental Illnesses and thus were classified by the rest of society as mentally unstable. In addltlon, factors that help people maintain their sanity include their surroundings, friends, family and social institutions.

In the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a number of Individuals have been dministered Into a mental institution, although no clear evidence exists that they suffer from psychological illnesses. Many of the inmates, for example Billy, Dale, and the Chief have voluntarily committed to the hospital because they feel that they are In need of mental rehabilitation. Their actions and behaviour however suggests that they are psychological stable, but are unable to meet society’s expectations and cope under the circumstances outlined by society.

The hospital to which they are administered is a mirror image of the society most of the inmates are haunted by, as he inmates are constantly pressured into acting a certain way and conforming to nurse Ratched’s expectations and rules. Moreover, the audience Is able to see the power struggle that exists between nurse Ratched and McMurphy, as well as the techniques used by authoritative figures in the mental ward to suppress the patients and stimulate a controlled and harsh environment.

We see that the inmates are Intimidated by nurse Ratched and continue to

Page 2 Reflection for One flew over the cuckoo’s nest Essay

feel as though they suffer from a psychological illness because their actions, thoughts and behaviours are screened and picked apart by her. As a result, Ratched’s actions make them feel inferior in terms of their mental state and power. Nurse Ratched Is a central character In the film one Flew over the cuckoo’s Nest, the audience sees her as an antagonist because of her strict appearance and attitude. After observing the way in which nurse Ratched conducts herself, it becomes evident that she Is simply fulfilling her duties.

However, nurse Ratched can be described as a power-seeking and spiteful individual. She exercises her control In several different ways and maintains her position at the top of the hierarchy in the hospital by howing no emotions towards the patients and being inflexible as well as rigid when over Billy after he decides to speak out about his behaviour by stating that she will discuss his actions with his mother. Therefore, nurse Ratched cannot be described as psychologically ill, as her actions can be explained by her need for power.

Ratched’s behaviour is largely due to the fact that she feels threatened by the group and the power shift that takes place in McMurphys presence. McMurphy helps the inmates on the mental ward by giving them a voice. Before McMurphys arrival the patients on the ward followed a strict routine and had little to ay about rules and regulations. McMurphy influenced the patients by introducing the concept of change and challenging nurse Ratched’s ideas regarding the schedule. He attempted to enforce change by suggesting that the patients be allowed to watch television, and the music be changed.

McMurphy has a lasting influence on the Chief, Cheswick and Billy in particular. By expressing his thoughts and standing up to nurse Ratched, McMurphy set an example for the patients. As a result, Cheswick felt it was okay to address the fact that nurse Ratched was rationing their cigarettes. He planted the idea of escape in the Chiefs head and gave Billy the confidence to share what he was really feeling to nurse Ratched. Furthermore, McMurphy positively influenced the patients on the ward by showing them that they do not have to live in a state of gloom.

McMurphy teaches the men how to play basketball, gamble in addition to showing them that it is okay to laugh and be amused. Several treatment methods are used in an attempt to make McMurphy conform to the behavioral expectations of the hospital. In the film, great emphasis is placed on talk therapy. Although this treatment option is designed to allow the atients to discuss their inner thoughts and feelings, Ratched uses this as a tool to exercise the power she has over the inmates. She addresses sensitive issues and makes the inmates feel as though they are in the wrong.

McMurphy is easily able to see the flaws associated with talk therapy and the state of terror it places the inmates in. Therefore, McMurphys actions contradicted nurse Ratched’s expectations regarding talk therapy and often turned it into a debate. As a result of the talk therapys ineffectiveness, nurse Ratched resorted to more severe behaviour modification techniques, for example electric shock therapy and lobotomy. In addition, these treatment options can be used to explain why the hospital was a system failure.

The ineffectiveness and incorrect use of these behaviour modification techniques made the hospital appear more like a punishment facility rather a medical institution set out to rehabilitate and help stabilize patients. Furthermore, the hospital failed to help the patients because Ratched’s goal was not to work with the patients and help them integrate back into to society, it was to use the resources (talk therapy, electric shock therapy) to maintain order and gain control of the patients.

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