Until modern times, society validated that a man’s role was at work, while a woman was required to stay home and play the role of the main caregiver. Men were given power and authority, and women, contradictory to men, were expected to be humble and subservient. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey reverses the stereotypical gender roles to show that the chaotic and sometimes tragically comic world of a mental institution. In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, the women are the power figures and are able to significantly manipulate the patients on the ward, as shown by the characters of Nurse Ratched, Mrs. Bibbit, and Vera Harding.
Nurse Ratched, whose power is expressed in bluntly sexual terms despite her attempts to deny her sexuality, maintains her authority on the ward by suppressing the patients’ laughter. The men under her jurisdiction use sexual references when they talk about her, and after the first group therapy session the new patient, Randal Patrick McMurphy calls her a “ball-cutter.” In a way Ken Kesey shows that McMurphy is powerless because he is incapable of sexual violence against women. McMurphy her ability to dominate the patients is a result of her controlling their laughter. The schizophrenic Chief Bromden, the narrator of the novel, brings attention by saying, “A mistake was made somehow in manufacturing, putting those big, womanly breasts on what otherwise would have been a perfect work, and you can see how bitter she is about it.” (One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest 11) Nurse Ratched’s authority on the ward points out the fact that she controls people who would normally be her superiors, such as, Dr. Spivey. Throughout the book, the nurse attempts to hide her sexuality. Nurse Ratched weakens her patients through a careful, manipulative program designed to destroy their self-esteem.
As everyone knows by now, there is a difference between a man and a womans outer appearance. What some people do not realize is that a man and a woman are also different in communication techniques. Generally speaking, men and women fall into two categories when dealing with communication techniques. When men talk, it is for giving information. Deborah Tannen says this informative speaking is ...
Mrs. Bibbit gains her power by preventing Billy, her son, from becoming a functioning adult, and because of this relationship that Billy eventually commits suicide. At first Mrs. Bibbit does not seem to understand that Billy is a mature adult and able to function in society, but it soon becomes clear that this is merely a excuse for her own self- admiration. When his mother tells him he has plenty of time to accomplish things such as going to college, and Billy reminds his mother that he is thirty-one years old, she replies, “Sweetheart, do I look like the mother of a middle-aged man?” (Pg. 247) When Mrs. Bibbit cannot be present to keep her son mentally young and innocent, Nurse Ratched accomplishes the task for her. Nurse Ratched uses outside influences to help her control her patients, as is the case with Billy Bibbit, whose mother is friends with the nurse; together they work to manipulate Billy. Mrs. Bibbit’s absolute power over Billy is shown when Nurse Ratched, catches Billy having sex with a prostitute, and threatens to tell his mother. The threat of his mother’s displeasure and disappointment leads him to commit suicide. Billy was not afraid of anything but he was not able to stand the thought of his mother getting enraged with him for binding such a crime. Billy’s mother and Nurse Ratched were so dominating that he wasn’t able to function as well; he had trouble speaking without stammering because he was so afraid constantly.
Another family member who manipulates her “loved one” is Vera Harding, whose control over her husband is similar to that of Mrs. Bibbit and her son. Dale describes Vera as a voluptuous and beautiful female. That makes Dale feel inadequate with both her figure and her audacious remarks on his effeminacy, which is symbolized by his, unmanageable hands. He is very embarrassed of his hands because they are so pretty and men are not supposed to have pretty hands. According to Bromden, “He’s got hands so long and white and dainty I think they carved each other out of soap, and sometimes they get loose and glide around in front of him free as two white birds until he notices them and traps them between his knees; it bothers him that he’s got pretty hands.” (Pg. 23) Combined with the terror of his wife and her accusations of homosexuality and weakness, Dale is motivated to remain in the mental hospital voluntarily, and any confidence he may have in his ability to face the world openly with his homosexuality is eliminated. Vera Harding uses her husband’s insecurities about his homosexuality as well as her own assets in order to manipulate and belittle him.
The Research paper on Nurse Accountability – Consent For Catheterisation, Professional Law And Ethics
An elderly lady, 78 year old Mrs Jones was admitted to the unit from a local nursing home following an acute myocardial infarction. In order to gain in my clinical skills experience I was asked to accompany and observe the staff nurse who was to carry out the catheterisation. The nurse told Mrs Jones that she was just going to pop a catheter in. There were no explanatory details towards Mrs Jones ...
The characters of Nurse Ratched, Mrs. Bibbit, and Vera Harding represent the hierarchy in the mental ward. On a larger scale, these women exemplify the idea that women are to blame for the flaws of society. Some parts of the novel show hints of gender equality that the rest of the book appears to ignore. Nonetheless, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest clearly illustrates a reversal in stereotypical gender roles, and serves as a constant reminder of the attitude biases still present in modern society.