One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: Character Analysis

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Many of the minor characters serve a significant role in the novel. By establishing that the characters are viewed as “different”, they are often labeled with a negative connotation, such as Dale Harding’s sexuality. Main characters’ behaviors are often influenced by minor characters like Dr. Spivey. In Billy Bibbit’s actions, major themes can also be seen. Minor characters Dale Harding, Dr. Spivey, and Billy Bibbit contribute a key role in creating thematic events that dictated outcomes and conclusions of main characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. Even though Dale Harding is a minor character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he serves a particular role in the theme of the novel. Many of the patients are seen as …show more content…
Spivey is the main doctor in the ward. He has a theory that the Big Nurse’s ward is “a little world inside that is a made-to-scale prototype if the big world outside” (48-49). His theory is one of the reasons Nurse Ratched thinks she is helping the patients. In her twisted mind, she is doing the patients a “favor” by showing them what society is really like. Nurse Ratched justifies her actions explaining, "A good many of you are in here because you could not adjust to the rules of society in the Outside world" (171). She tries to justify her behaviors by using Dr. Spivey’s theory. Dr. Spivey maintains that his system is a model of the larger society, a “democratic ward run completely by the patients and their votes...much like your own democratic, free neighborhoods" (40). In reality, the real world is nothing like Dr. Spivey or the Big Nurse makes it to be. Nurse Ratched in a sense is grooming them to always be fearful and protective of their masculinity, making the patients feel they need to be aggressive sexually to protect themselves. This theme is seen numerous times throughout the novel. Dr. Spivey plays a key role in initiating the foundations of Nurse Ratched’s methods, theories and …show more content…
Pressuring Billy to lose his virginity, McMurphy refuses to hear Billy's stuttering objection, saying, "Don't you mamamamurphy me, Billy Boy" (249) Furthermore, the male bonding in this context has a foundation of shared aggression toward women: "strong men" assert their "heroic" male sexuality against women like the Big Nurse, Harding's wife, or Billy Bibbit's mother. Aggressive, controlling women are represented from the masculinist perspective as castrators, that is how they are seen and treated. When Big Nurse arrives in the morning to find Billy and his "date" still sleeping together in the Seclusion Room, she uses this opportunity to reassert her maternal control. She threatens to tell Billy's mother and then leads him "into the office, stroking his bowed head and saying, “Poor boy, poor little boy"' (265). Bibbit is scared of his mother and the outside world, when The Big Nurse finds out about Bibbit losing his virginity, he kills himself out of fear of his mother's disapproval. Billy Bibbit’s experience with his mother and his attitude towards aggressive females has permanently scarred him and ultimately led him to his death, showing McMurphy the amount of influence he

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