Control in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Essay

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Control in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey?s masterpiece novel One Flew over the Cuckoo?s Nest uses many themes, symbols, and imagery to illustrate the reality of the lives of a group of mental patients. The element of control is a central, arguably the largest, and the most important theme in the novel. The element of control revolves around the two main characters of the novel, Randle P. McMurphy, and Nurse Ratched. These two characters are the exact antithesis of each other, and they both seek to get their own way. They both realize that in order to get their own way, they must gain control over their rival and the ward. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched have different methods of attaining and using what control they
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One machine that The Chief mentions frequently is the ?Fog Machine?, which creates fog that confuses and controls his perception of reality. The Chief does not mind this fog all the time, because it provides him with an escape from interaction with other people, particularly those who would make life worse for him. Sometimes, the Chief actually welcomes the thick fog. ?And I?m glad when it gets thick enough you?re lost in it and can let go, and be safe again.? (Kesey, 101) By welcoming the fog, The Chief is allowing The Combine to control his conception of safety and security. Randle Patrick McMurphy Characters with the ability to influence others through control in Cuckoo?s Nest do not always abuse their control for undignified reasons like Nurse Ratched. There are characters that use their ability to control for noble purposes, which sometimes provide a great deal of benefit to other characters. Randle Patrick McMurphy, the rebellious main character of Cuckoo?s Nest, provides the best example of a character using his control for noble purposes. R.P. McMurphy is one of the most memorable and heroic characters in modern fiction. The most basic description of him is a rebellious and noble con man. His goals during his stay at the mental ward are to serve out his time while making a little money on the side. His quest for control begins on his first day in the ward. His initial motive for his desire of control is quite selfish. He recognizes Nurse Ratched?s control by

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