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Ken Kesey and Social Pressure

Ken Kesey uses the asylum as a small world and the patient’s inability to get well under Big Nurse’s rule and sheltering society, and what truly holds them back from being able to stand up for them. The patients never once stood up to Big Nurse until McMurphy came around because he showed them the outside world. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest focuses on three main themes throughout the book by showing women as a dominating figure, what is sanity, and the importance of expressing yourself.

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Women take control over the men in this novel. The female characters overshadow the male characters because they are powerful and threatening figures. Nurse Ratched, Candy Star, Nurse Pilbow, and Vera Harding’s wife dominate the male figures. Nurse Ratched dominated throughout the novel showing all of the patient’s this is her ward and what she says goes; even to the point she controls her own co-workers. McMurphy gives her a run for her money over her proving she will not let him call this his ward.

“Tell Me, McMurphy, how does one go about showing who’s boss, I mean other than laughing at her?” (Kesey 70).After showing her ascendency and going against McMurphy, the male characters start to agree with Harding. “We are victims of a matriarchy here” (Kesey 58). As soon as Candy (the whore) comes to the asylum patient’s fall for her appearance because she pertains the pleasure they are dedicated to. “everybody found out that the girls were whores instead of aunts, and were expecting all sorts of things” (Kesey 230). Billy Bibbit, the first to come out of his comfort zone when Candy arrived because he gave her a whistle like she was the most beautiful thing. Nurse Pilbow acted totally different from Big Nurse by showing care and trust when they stayed in disturbed. Harding’s wife had big power over him because she drove him into the ward over other men talking about her butt. Kesey dominated McMurphy in the end with Big…


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