One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest


The "system" is something that people are always out to change. You see people trying to change it all the time, but few are actually successful at changing the system. The system can be a variety of things. In some cases it is the government, it can be the a boss or basically anything or anyone that has some type of control or authority. For some people fighting the system is their livelihood, their mission in life. They try to change the system because of the corruption, because of unjust actions, because they were a victim of it or to seek the truth. In the novels One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the main characters are out to change the system. Based on the novel by Ken Kesey, it seems that his perspective on this issue is that the system is in dire need of change. Even if you are not successful in changing the system, it is still very effective that you tried and you set an example for others to follow. Kesey also seems to believe that persistence is key when fighting the system. Kesey believes that even if you change a small aspect of the system it was well worth the fight. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the main character, Randle Patrick McMurphy, fights to change the system in a mental hospital. McMurphy is outgoing, a leader and a rebel. There was a constant power struggle in the novel between the patient's new found savior McMurphy, and the evil Nurse Ratched who rules their wing of the hospital with an iron fist. McMurphy fights to change the system to try to win back the patients' rights and in the process gain more privileges for the patients and himself. McMurphy also seems to get pleasure out of fighting the system. His motives are simple, he wants to help out his fellow patients, his friends, to make their lives better. McMurphy was successful in changing many of the rules and regulations that were imposed upon them by Nurse Ratched. McMurphy was a very inspirational speaker and during the regularly occurring meetings between the patients and the doctors he would rally the patients to fight against Nurse Ratched. Thus he was able to win back some of their rights. McMurphy also uses his cunning wit and his skills as a con man to persuade the doctors into giving the patients more rights and activities. McMurphy is able to con Dr. Spivey to get a room where he and a bunch of other patients can go to play cards without the loud music coming over the intercom. During one of the meetings between the patients and the doctors, you can see how McMurphy has played Dr. Spivey like a fiddle. "You see, McMurphy and I were talking about that age-old problem we have on this ward: the mixed population, the young and the old together. It's not the most ideal surroundings for our Therapeutic Community, but Administration says there's no helping it with the Geriatric Building overloaded the way it is...In our talk, however, McMurphy and I did happen to come up with an idea which might make things more pleasant for both age groups. McMurphy mentioned that he had noticed some of the old fellows seemed to have difficulty hearing the radio. He suggested the speaker be turned up louder so the Chronics with auditory weaknesses could hear it...But I told him I had received previous complaints from some of the younger men that the radio is already do loud it hinders conversations and reading...I agreed with him that it did seem a shame and was ready to drop the matter when I happened to think of the old tub room...We don't use the room at all...So how would a group like to have that room as a sort of second day room, a game room, shall we say?" (p.99) This is one of many battles between McMurphy and the system. This one he happened to win, but in real life many fights against the system are lost. Even though McMurphy loses some of his fights, he keeps on fighting, trying to change the system. In this novel McMurphy uses many tools to try to change the system, among them are