One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Change Essay

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Change Essay - AP U.S...

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AP U.S. History 5/30/16 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: A Representation of Change During the 1970s Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest follows outgoing criminal Randall Patrick McMurphy into a mental institution, where he is to be evaluated for any signs of mental illness. Though McMurphy is mentally well, he prolongs his time in the institution to rally the group of patients on his ward against Nurse Ratched, the strict head nurse that utilizes humiliation and cruelty to keep patients submissive. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest uses symbolism to articulate American distrust of the government during the Vietnam War largely due to the release of the Pentagon Papers, explore the growing acceptance of mental illness during the early 1970s, and identify the Indian liberation movement as a strong and increasingly successful development throughout the 1960s and 1970s. At the beginning of the film, McMurphy enters the mental institution and is appalled by the ward’s cruel and manipulative remedial techniques. In his film review as part of the textbook Teaching Sociology, Daniel Quinn remarks that in the film, “treatment is more “custodial” than “rehabilitative” [and] there is a heavy reliance on medication." 1 Nurse Ratched initially simulates a caring and helpful front, but minutes into the film reveals the cruelty with which she rules the ward. Her “therapy sessions” involve forcing the men of the ward into a large group and asking each invasive questions to embarrass one particular patient, allowing the room’s tension to build until a fight breaks out. McMurphy immediately takes action, interrupting the therapy session geared towards the suicidal Billy Bibbit to a campaign for the patients to watch the World Series. His anti- ward actions only grow more extreme, as he creates a gambling ring using cigarettes as currency, executes a miraculous escape and takes the entire ward fishing, and initiates a massive brawl 1 Quinn, Daniel K. Rev. of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . Teaching Sociology 17.1 (1989): 122. Web.
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between ward patients and institution employees. McMurphy’s resistance against the authoritative ward acts as commentary on American defiance against the U.S. government towards the end of the Vietnam War. Much like the ward, the American government held up a ruse of power and success, but in actuality were struggling to control its people. For example, the government for years had claimed that the conflict in Vietnam was under control and winnable, but in reality were only hoping to not embarrass the U.S. The publication of the Pentagon Papers, a written history of United States involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, in 1971 revealed that though the government had trumpeted the war in Vietnam as winnable, they were not optimistic about its outcome and had
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