One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Essay by wmerrillcb4University, Bachelor's May 2003

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Who Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest...?

In the 1975 film adoption to Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the character Randall McMurphy brings the hospital to life with his ability to undermine the rules and regulations of his ward. After being sent to jail for alleged statutory rape, McMurphy fakes insanity to relieve himself of backbreaking prison labor. After the prison hears his plea, McMurphy is sent to an insane asylum, presumably in Central Oregon, for a 90-day evaluation of mental illness.

Once inside the confines of the asylum, two hospital attendants dressed in white move Randall McMurphy through the double doors. Among the white walls and white floors, we see McMurphy, wearing blue jeans, a tight-blue skullcap, and a black leather jacket. Symbolically, McMurphy is to represent the outside world entering this cold, lifeless, "pale" institution. Upon his entrance to the ward, which will inevitably become his final resting place, McMurphy jokes with the current patients, while holding a pornographic deck of cards rolled-up in his sleeve.

Aside from McMurphy's immediate impulse to question the policy of the institution, which required all the patients to take the same medicinal pills, regardless of their "illness", McMurphy's first challenge is to "overthrow" the head nurse, Nurse Ratched.

Nurse Ratched is not concerned about the welfare of her patients, but only with the intense power that she possesses over them. When McMurphy sees that the patients are weak and afraid of defying Nurse Ratched, specifically within the group sessions, he appoints himself as leader to a revolt against the hospital. McMurphy continually questions the rules of the institution, and in the process, sets an example for the other patients. But it is not until the first therapy sessions with McMurphy that patients like Chesswick and Martini...