Theme Of Machinery In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

1016 Words 5 Pages
The metaphor of machinery in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, shows the mechanization of society which suppresses individuality and free will. Kesey’s clever use of machinery as a metaphor that controls the patients on the ward identifies the problems of American society in the 1950s and 60s. The patients on the ward are victims of a society which demands conformity. The metaphor of machinery points out the rigidity of the system in which everyone should be a “functioning, adjusted component” (Kesey 36) and where there is no room for individuality. Bromden explains that the ward is a factory “for fixing up mistakes made in the neighborhoods and the schools and in the churches” (Kesey 36). The ward is a place where people …show more content…
Ratched’s greatest weakness is something that she tries to limit. The Combine and Nurse Ratched try to emasculate the men on the ward in hopes to make them the homogenous and subordinate. A machine is a genderless piece of equipment that efficiently does what it is programed to do. Nurse Ratched is compared to a robot because she tries to distance herself as much as possible from femininity. Nurse Ratched believes that if she can effectively emasculate the patients she can mold the men into machines. The ward’s goal is to gather the misfits and in turn, produce homogenous and productive members of society. Gender is a human trait that makes people different. Since gender is not a trait that can be applied to a machine, Ms. Ratched tries to emasculate the …show more content…
It might seem that the metaphor of the machine in the novel is Kesey’s way of explaining how American society works. Admittedly, it is possible to think that Kesey is not criticizing the American system, with his comparison of it to a machine, but instead simply saying that it is an efficient capitalistic country. However, it is difficult to maintain this argument especially since Kesey demonstrates that the patients on the ward would rather not be a part of the Combine. The Combine is not efficient if some of the parts don’t work e.g. (the patients). Therefore, Kesey is not being complimentary but instead being critical of the of the

Related Documents