In the fresh One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. the characters of Nurse Ratched and Bromden Chief both serve as societal commentary of the authorities of the fiftiess. Nurse Ratched represents the control and laterality of the authorities in the 50s. and Bromden Chief represents the subjugation of colored people by the authorities and McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a tool that was used by the authorities at that clip in order to frighten and pull strings citizens. Similarly. Nurse Ratched symbolizes McCarthyism because she instills fright and exerts control over the patients in the mental ward.
Nurse Ratched’s character represents the celebrated senator. Joseph McCarthy. Specifically. Nurse Ratched’s pattern of honoring patients who spy on one another is merely like the pattern of McCarthyism. McCarthyism was the pattern of randomly impeaching a individual with any ties to the Soviet Union of being a Communist. In the U. S. . Communists and some other popular progressives were marginalized in the fiftiess.
The authorities suspected that there were undercover agents in the U. S. who sold the secret to the Soviet. ensuing in the Red Scare. Furthermore. people began to believe that others around them might be Soviet undercover agents. and there could be no trust among one another.
Since the Soviet Union was communist party. the U. S. authorities suspected that people who supported communist belief or talked about communism would be considered spy. and they would be ostracized or even persecuted. This persecution was fueled chiefly by Senator McCarthy and the pattern of McCarthyism. McCarthyism rewarded those who were “loyal” to America. and those who spied on possible Communist. In the same manner. Nurse Ratched’s rewarding of patients who spy on another analogues this facet of McCarthyism. In the narrative. Nurse Ratched is a coercive and manipulative character. She controls the people in the ward including the patients. her assistant’s nurse. adjunct physician. and the three black orderlies. She manipulates the people with elusive mode without them recognizing that she is pull stringsing them. Chief Bromden. who is besides a patient in the psychiatric infirmary. is the storyteller of the narrative. Through out the text. Chief refers to Nurse Ratched as “The Combine. ” What he means is that Nurse Ratched is the oppressive force of society and authorization. He says that Nurse Ratched awards the patients that “spy on each other” by composing anything on the logbook that Nurse Ratched will desire to cognize approximately. In return. this patient can kip tardily the following forenoon.
This shows that she manipulates the patients in a manner that give her control ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 23 ) . Another illustration of Nurse Ratched’s behaviour is demonstrated when she references. “Good eventide. male childs. Behave yourselves” ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 78 ) every clip she leaves the mental ward. This illustrates that she treats the patients like kids. which in a sense shows that she has control over them. Subsequently in the narrative. when the physicians discuss about whether they should direct McMurphy back to the work farm. Nurse Ratched becomes the determination shaper of the whole meeting. She suggests that they should maintain him in the ward for a piece because she is “certain his flashiness will lessen. his self-made rebellion will dwindle to nil. and ( Cuckoo’s nest P. 149 ) ” . It seems that her suggestion is merely a demand. and that the physicians have to forcefully obey her even though they do non hold with her suggestion. What is of import to understand about this construct is the fact that Nurse Ratched’s determinations override the determinations of her higher-ups.
Nurse Ratched’s control over the physicians in many ways analogues Senator McCarthy’s control over higher authorities functionaries. despite the fact that he was a subsidiary. He defeated his opposition. Maryland’s three-term conservative Senator Millard Tydings. After his triumph. “the Republican Party took control of the executive and legislative subdivisions for the first clip in 24 years” ( McCarthyism P. 74 ) . This led to the triumph of president Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower. Because of this party connexion. McCarthy was able to set up his ain fact-finding committee—Investigative Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations. Because his commission gained the most media coverage. McCarthy became a “hero” in the public’s oculus. Aware of this. president Eisenhower gave important support to McCarthy’s commission. McCarthy was allowed to run his ain docket. and at clip override the jurisprudence due to his popularity and his support from the President. In the same manner. Nurse Ratched was allowed to overrule the determinations of her higher-ups because of her relationship with the doctor’s supervisor.
The log book besides typify a important portion of the history. In the novel. Nurse Ratched reads out assorted rumors of the log book that has been written by a patient who has been a “spy” on other patients. She says. “according to the notes listed by assorted patients in the log. Mr. Harding has been heard to state that she ‘damn good gives the assholes ground to gaze. ’ He has besides been heard to state that he may give her ground to seek farther sexual attending. ’” Despite whether the fact that the information is true or non. Nurse Ratched uses the assorted rumors from the other patients to non merely mortify Mr. Harding. but besides in a sense manipulate him. Obviously. Mr. Harding does non desire people to discourse what he says in the populace. but this is merely what Nurse Ratched wants because she would hold control over him. Nurse Ratched’s logbook maps in a really similar manner as Senator McCarthy’s “list” from his Wheeling Speech. In February 1950. McCarthy gave his Wheeling address. At that clip. “the intelligence of Soviet atomic bomb and the test and strong belief of Alger Hiss were fresh in the populaces mind” ( McCarthyism P. 72 ) . so his address about anti-communist was really effectual.
In his address. McCarthy claimed non merely that he had a list of the names of 205 State Department Communists. but besides that the disposal in the State Department knew who they were and approved what they did. He used this fanciful list to knock his oppositions that they were complicit in lese majesty or possibly treasonists themselves. This list maps in a really similar manner as the log book. Nurse Ratched uses the log book as a tool to roll up the rumors from the patients. Then. she sets up meeting. which she claims is a “group therapy” ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 134 ) . with the patients to discourse about the rumors and mortify single patient who has bad rumor. Therefore. the log book maps in a manner that gives her control over the patients. The character that is ab initio able to contend against Nurse Ratched is McMurphy. His reaching and uprising bit by bit influences the other patients to dispute Nurse Ratched’s authorization. She tries to retain her authorization by utilizing a figure of ways. First. she confiscates the patient’s coffin nail ( used as money in the ward ) and the tub-room privilege. But so her tactic fails because McMurphy and the remainder of the patients are unsated and prehend to acquire back their coffin nails every bit good as the privilege of the tub-room.
Because of the failure of this tactic. Nurse Ratched decides to use electro daze therapy as her following manipulating arm. In the fresh Nurse Ratched references. “it might be good that he have some daze therapy—unless he realizes his mistakes” ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 253 ) . bespeaking that electro daze therapy is used as a penalty. Similarly. leukotomy is besides a penalty tool. but it functions more intensely. as this surgery turns the patient into “vegetable. ” The relationship between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy straight relates to the relationship between Joseph McCarthy and Alger Hiss. Alger Hiss was a authorities functionary of the U. S. State Department and functionary in United Nations. and was accused of holding been a undercover agent for the Soviet Union while working in the U. S. State Department. Although Alger Hiss claimed that he was guiltless. it demonstrated that Communist party prosecuting in high place in the U. S. authorities was possible. Peoples thought that if authorities functionary like Alger was leery. so anyone could be a Communist. Hiss was besides accused of bearing false witness under curse earlier. During the find procedure. Chambers provided more grounds bespeaking that he and Hiss were members of the Communist party. Finally. Hiss was judged guilty of bearing false witness. and he was put into gaol for three and a half old ages ( Alger Hiss ) .
But he claimed that he was guiltless until his decease. Even though there was no definite grounds to turn out that Hiss was a Soviet undercover agent. people were afraid of another eruption of Soviet undercover agent. and therefore finally led to the anti-Communist—McCarthyism. Likewise. Nurse Ratched indicates McMurphy as an insane individual. but in fact he is one of the most normal individual in the mental ward. Nurse Ratched’s usage of electro daze therapy and leukotomy to McMurphy analogues with McCarthy’s usage of accusal and imprison to Hiss. McMurphy believes that he is non insane analogues to Alger Hiss’s claim of artlessness in test. As Nurse Ratched serves as coercion in the novel. Chief serves as a victim who is coerced under Nurse Ratched’s authorization. He suffers from paranoia and torment from the black workers and Nurse Ratched. The fact that he is often put into a room full of hallucinated fog demonstrates his failing and purpose of get awaying world. as he says. “They start the fog machine once more and it’s snowing down cold and white all over me like skim milk. so thick I might even be able to conceal in it if they didn’t have a clasp on me. ”
From the quotation mark. one understands that Chief is weak in the interior because he ever wants to conceal. The fog room in many ways can typify the resettlement of Native American peoples during the 1950’s. as Chief is put into this infinite without his consent. In fact. Chief’s speechlessness in many ways represents the loss of the Native American voice in American history. and specifically in the procedure of resettlement in the 1950. Both Nurse Ratched and Chief service as an of import function historically ; Nurse Ratched becomes the symbol of the oppressive authorities and McCarthyism. and Chief represents the Native American in the fiftiess. During the Cold War. many colored citizens were more easy abused and oppressed by authorities policies. An illustration would be the Native American. Policy-makers in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. in an effort to emancipate Native Americans from the restraints of federal trust limitations. passed an act called the Termination Policy of the 1950s.
This was a resettlement plan that relocated Native American. runing from 18 to 45 old ages old. to urban countries with federal aid. Basically. many Native Americans were forced from their land and their places into metropoliss without their consent. In add-on. the policy would “nullify the particular minority position that Native American held because of their 389 pacts and understandings made with the United States between 1778 and 1871” ( Termination and Relocation ) . Furthermore. the three black orderlies treat Chief really severely. Even though Chief appears to be a strong adult male. they bully him every bit much as they can. For illustration. they “stick a swab in my manus and gesture to the topographic point they aim for me to clean today” ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 11 ) . Besides. they make merriment of him by naming him “Chief Broom” ( Cuckoo’s Nest P. 11 ) . Furthermore. they eat the breakfast that is supposed to be for Chief and lock him in privacy. It is interesting to observe about the relationship between Chief and the black workers.
This relationship is interesting in the context of history because it represents in many ways the relationships between Native Americans and African Americans. Despite both groups being to a great extent oppressed by the authorities. Native American voices and histories had been silenced much more than African Americans. However. African Americans still faced serious subjugation and silencing. but it was non the same as Native Americans. Nurse Ratched’s relationship with the black workers and their relationship with Chief all parallel these relationships in history. Nurse Ratched has control over the workers and Chief. but Chief as a character does non talk at all. and the workers to some grade have control over what he does. The fact that they call Chief “Chief Broom. ” force him to pass over the floor. and steal his breakfast demonstrates that they have more power than Chief. Similarly. in history. bondage ended with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 ( Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ) . So in 1950s. the African American had more freedom than they had before. But comparing the intervention to African American and to Native American. Native American was treated worse. This is demonstrated in the novel where Chief is bullied by the black orderlies.
Another of import facet of Chief’s character in relationship to the authorities in the 1950’s is his childhood. His father’s name is Chief Tee Ah Millatoona. intending “The Pine That Stands Tallest on the Mountain” ( The assorted heritage of the Chief ) . His female parent. Mary Louise Bromden. is a white adult female who plays a dominant function in the matrimony. We can see that because Chief’s last name follows his female parent alternatively of his male parent. Chief tells the narrative about his childhood. which he emphasizes that it is one of the elements that weaken him. He says that when the authorities functionaries come to talk to his male parent about purchasing the tribe’s land. he is the lone individual at place. They ignore him when he tries to speak to them. Subsequently on. his female parent besides helps some members in the folk to coerce Chief’s male parent to sell the land. His father’s impotence implicitly consequence Chief in his childhood. doing Chief to go even weaker in the mental ward. The fact that the white authorities functionaries ignore him demonstrates that the white’s systemically had more power than other races.
In add-on. Chief’s female parent plays a dominant function in her matrimony besides explains that in world. white Americans wield more power than the Native American. Basically. most authorities functionaries in the 1950s were white. therefore had the most power in the U. S. They were able to relocate the Native Americans to their metropoliss with merely the expiration policy. Besides. they forced the Native Americans to sell their folk lands for authorities use. This illustrates that they dominated Native American freedom. Chief represents non merely the populace. who are controlled by the Government and McCarthy. but besides the Native American people.
From the historical background. one can see that the authorities forced the Native American into a life that was non their ain without taking into consideration their ideas and feelings. Resettlement of the Native Americans has systematically been go oning throughout American history. but Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest specifically deals with Native Americans in the 1950’s. This can be seen in Chief’s childhood and the clip when he is in the mental establishment. Overall. Kasey’s fresh One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest serves as a strong commentary on the government’s control over the people during the fiftiess. As we can see through the character of Nurse Ratched. Kesey straight talks about the domination of authorities in the fiftiess. Likewise. we can see through the character of Chief that Kesey speaks about the subjugation of Native American peoples in the fiftiess. What I truly wish I could hold explored further in my paper is the character of McMurphy and his relationship to Chief. I am really interested to cognize what it is that Kesey is seeking to do commentary on with this relationship.
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Fried. Albert. Mccarthyism: The Great American Red Scare: A Documentary History. New York: Oxford UP. 1997. Print.
Shelton. Christina. Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason. New York: Threshold Editions. 2012. Print.
Fixico. Donald Lee. “Termination and Relocation. ” Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy in the fiftiess. N. p. : Suzanne J. Crawford. 2005. Print.
Guelzo. Allen C. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. New York: Simon & A ; Schuster. 2004. Print.
Waxler. Robert P. “Abstracts. ” The Mixed Heritage of the Chief: Revisiting the Problem of Manhood in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. ’ Male Bodybuilding: The Social Construction of a Masculine Identity. Robert P. Waxler. n. d. Web. 13 Dec. 2012.
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