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After a prolonged period of oppression and unjust aggression, fighting for change and freedom becomes inevitable and people graciously rebel against retrogressive oppressive conformity. These rebellions eventually results to a radical change in the old system of leadership be it in a government, an institution, an organization or even an enterprise. These changes though proceeded by conflict of interests from both sides, they eventually mark the end to ‘dictatorial’ prejudice where the juniors are forced to conform to unjust orders without questioning. In addition, the changes also bring order and restore sanity in places of work, government, institutions or any other area where a change is inevitable. However, for these changes to be realized there are always people or activists who are always ready to sacrifice for the noble mission. These people are motivated to fight against injustice by their past unjust experiences or treatment they suffered under corrupts supervisors’ or superiors. In the movie ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest’ the starring character is determined to rise against and change the status quo and free his comrades from oppression.
In the movie ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest’ based on a novel by Ken Kessy, Chief Bromden clearly narrates a situation where to start with, mental patients are subjected to grievous ill treatment by nurse Ratched who rules with an iron fist. The nurse’s cruelty becomes more evident with the type of punishment she instills on the patients including subjecting rebel patients into electric shock while others are subjected to lobotomy and all these are against the hospital’s recommended procedures. Furthermore, nurse Ratched employs divide and rule method of leadership whereby she is encouraging the Acute to attack the other vulnerabilities during meeting (2004, p. 615)
According to Fish (1984), the nurse continues with her harsh leadership until a man called Randle Mcmurphy who is also a mental patient comes to the hospital on transfer from Pendleton Work Farm. Mcmurphy immediately after arrival starts to disagree with the nurse despite the fact that the patients having been subjected to prolonged period of fear do not believe that Mcmurphy would successfully rise against the nurse. His colleague patients keeps aside at first and enjoys Mcmurphy’s confrontations with the nurse but they later gradually gathers their courage and they eventually becomes rebellious. Mcmurphy’s rebellion intensifies gradually and it is seen to start bearing fruits when he leads the other patients to protest against the barn by the nurse of watching a television series program during working hours. This is not taken kindly by nurse Ratched who opposes the move with all her might. However the chief for fear of the changing trends sides with Mcmurphy who eventually wins the day by making the nurse loose control of her temper (p. 6).
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However, Mcmurphy’s rebellions suddenly decline and he starts conforming to nurse Ratched orders after he realizes the fact that he will never be able to leave the hospital unless nurse Ratched officially release him (Fish). This conformity does not augur well with the other patients who had built enough confidence in him and had hope that their messiah will see them through the nurse’s harsh leadership. This suddenly results to despair among the patients and as a result Cheswick becomes depressed and commits suicide. The death of Cheswick and the reality of electroshock re-ignited Mcmurphy’s zeal to fight for his rights and the rights of his colleague patients. He is now determined to remove the fear that has been instilled in the other patients by the nurse Ratched and to prove it he smashes the nurse’s station window (p. 7).
In addition, Mcmurphy’s victory accelerates when is convinced that the chief who has been pretending not to hear or speak can actually do both, he speaks to the chief who in return breaks years of silence. The chief shares with him his reasons for his withdrawn behavior and in the end the conversation left the chief re-energized, invigorated and filled with hope (Fish). More so, Mcmurphy organizes for a fishing trip with other patients in their ward. While out in the sea Mcmurphy succeeds to help the patients masculine confidence as they manage to cash big fishes with bear hands without his assistance (2004, p. 615). Mcmurphy while out in the sea on the fishing trip organizes for a date between Billy Bibbit and Candy a prostitute. On return from the fishing trip he gets that the nurse has been spreading a rumor using his gambling skills that Mcmurphy’s mission in the hospital is to steal from other patients. To counter these allegations Mcmurphy is left with no choice than to prove himself to the other patients. To assert himself to other patients, he is engaged in a fight with the aides in support of George Sorenson and Bromden joins him and they are both taken for electroshock therapy. While on the electroshock bed Mcmurphy pretends not to feel the pain and courageously withstands the shock and this sends nurse Ratched shivering with fear and attempted to escape from the room. This impacted positively on boosting his reputation his fellow patients had with him as their hero.
Nurse Ratched still determined to fight for her weakening control decides to showcase Mcmurphy’s weakened state after subjecting him to electroshock by bringing him back to the ward for the other patients to witness his weakened state. This she does to embarrass him and at the same time asserts her might and power. His fellow patients urge Mcmurphy to escape but he refuses and pretends to be strong and to prove this fact he arranges for Billy’s date with Candy. This he does by bribing Mr.Turkle, a night security officer to sneak the prostitute in the hospital and as the two enjoyed themselves, the patients on the other side enjoyed themselves through drinking and smoking marijuana (Sparknotes 101 literature, 2004).
Billy since childhood had been prevented by his domineering mother from growing up and this night was important because he would loose his virginity which according to them is perceived as sign to be a real man and freedom from his mother’s York. On arrival the next morning, nurse Ratched happened to meet Billy with Candy and threatened to inform Billy’s mother. Billy through continued boos of shame by the nurse looses the achieved freedom and self confidence and through fear he becomes hysterical and commits suicide.
Mcmurphy on learning this became very angry and had a grievous confrontation with nurse Ratched and as a result in an attempt to strangle the nurse, he ripped off the front part of her dress and revealed her breasts in a bid to deflower off her power. This humiliation greatly affected the nurse and for the first time she felt fear and wondered whether she will ever be able to take control over the patients. This action in return amplified the last bit of the patients’ courage to fight for their rights. Mcmurphy is caught and lobotomized and this weakened him. The chief could not withstand to see his courageous friend in this state and let the nurse feel like she has worn and so he strangled Mcmurphy with a pillow. Bromden on the other hand gained courage and escaped through the window (Sparknotes 101 literature, 2004).
Before the arrival of Mcmurphy who is confident and determined to fight for change, the patients are hopeless and full of fear, they had lost their dignity and had could not face the future boldly. For this reason, they give in to harsh oppressive leadership of nurse Ratched. However, the arrival of Mcmurphy gradually restored courage, hope and determination to stand for justice and they can now face life more courageously. It’s as if they were like given wings to fly and this is evident in Bromden’s escape.
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