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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Ken Kesey

Part I

Summary Part I

Immediately upon his arrival, McMurphy challenges the ward with his exuberant vitality and sexuality, which are directly opposed to the sterile, mechanical nature of the hospital and modern society. He is set up as an obvious foil to Nurse Ratched, as well as to the silent and repressed Bromden. McMurphy’s discussion with Harding reveals the misogynistic undertones of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The patients associate matriarchy with castration, explaining the lifelessness and oppressiveness of modern society as a product of female dominance.