Utopian Society In the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey there is a power struggle between two characters; McMurphy and Big Nurse. McMurphy wants equal power for everyone in the ward, while Big Nurse wants herself to have all the power. In Terms of power Ken Kesey portrays McMurphy as communist. He also portrays big nurse as a capitalist. A communist is one who wants one single class. A Capitalist is one who wants many classes and ultimately one class that is most powerful. Through out the book one sees the power struggle and eventually learn that neither capitalism nor communism will work in the ward. Ken Kesey conveys in his book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, that a socialist society is the ideal way to govern people.
Big Nurse is a power hungry woman who had all of the power in the ward and wanted it this way.
A perfect example of this is when she messes with Billy Bibbit. Billy bibbit is a stutterer who is in the ward. One day McMurphy decides he will have a party in the ward and invites his friends who are whores. Billy was a grown man and found one of the whores to be interesting. After a while they go off and have sex. Later in the mourning big nurse finds billy with the whore. He seems to be temporarily cured of his stuttering problem when he first talks. Then big nurse says, "What worries me Billy... is how your poor mother is going to take this."p. 189 After she says this he horribly regrets what he has done and starts stuttering even worse than before. Eventually he slits his own throat. Big Nurse is to blame for Billy's death. He was an adult and fine with what happened until big nurse decided that she had to have control. She didn't like that they had a party and she needed to do something about. she had to exemplify that she had control. She killed Billy and blamed it on McMurphy. The Murder represents power. Billy took her power and gave it to himself. The Big Nurse did not like this so she used her power to kill him so he could not defy.This is a great example of capitalistic Big Nurse and Capitalism in the ward.
McMurphy is a Communist who gives the people in the ward a little taste of a more equal power for all and they like it. A great illustration of that is when McMurphy has set up his fishing trip for patients in the ward to have some fun for once and be free again for a day. He sees that Chief Bromden. Knowing that this might blow the chief's cover he offers to sign him up. When Chief Bromden actually figures out that Mcmurphy signed him up he says, "I was actually going out of this hospital with two whores on a fishing boat; I had to keep saying it over and over to myself to believe it."p.155 One can see Bromden's excitement. He gave bromden a feeling that he was equal in class and power to everyone else and this made him happy. McMurphy tries to give equal power to everyone in the ward.
Capitalism nor communism worked in the ward. Communism didn't work because McMurphy had too much self interest therefore he died. Capitalism didn't work because Big Nurse wanted too much power. Ken Kesey was saying that we needed a sort of compromise. Socialism is what they needed. To Quote Mark Engels, "Modern Socialism is, in its essence, the direct product of the recognition, on the one hand, of the class antagonisms existing in the society of today between proprietors and non-proprietors, between capitalists and wage-workers; on the other hand, of the anarchy existing in production." This basically means that here must be class division just the classes must be very similar in power. There should not be one class with all of the power. This would have worked perfectly in the ward. Where there would be a differentiation of power yet the patients would have a lot more power than they did. I think that this system would not have only made people happier in the ward. It would also have saved lives.
This book was about power and the effect that it can have on people. Ken Kesey wanted depict in his book, that if one person has all control the it will lead to difficult times. Big Nurse tried to dominate the ward and it didn't work. McMurphy tried to equal out power in the ward and it didn't work out the way he wanted it to. Self interest comes into existence when we deal with power. The ward needed a society where there were class distinctions. The distinctions just had to be very small. Therefore, Ken Kesey conveys in his book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, that a socialist society is the ideal way to govern people.