Power and manipulation are common characteristics villains’ possess in literature. In Ken Kesey’s allegorical novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the depraved Nurse Ratched is destructive in her villainous schemes by controlling others to acquire more power. Through her despicable ways of hurting others, she gains power and manipulates her patients to get what she desires.
Big Nurse is known as a strong dictator who uses fear to control her patients. Power corrupts an individual, which is created by control in order to rule a society of their choosing. With all of her authority, she is able to strike fear into people’s minds and seize the powerless. At the mental institution, the narrator, Chief Bromden describes it as, “Like a cartoon world, where the figures are flat and outlined in black, jerking through some kind of goofy story that might be really funny if it weren’t for the cartoon figures being really cool guys…” (30). The hospital is characterized as a pretend world that the nurse created. She is the villain inside of the cartoon and her patients are her victims, where they cannot escape her totalitarianism rule at the institution. This demonstrates how Big Nurse is corrupt with her power and uses it to control other people’s lives.
Therefore, Nurse Ratched uses cruel punishments on her patients that rebel against her authority. “What worries me, Billy,” she said – I could hear the change in her voice – “is how your mother is going to take this”… “Billy, I have to tell. I hate to believe you would behave like this, but, really, what else can I think? I find you alone, on a mattress, with this sort of woman.” (264). When Big Nurse finds Billy Bibbit with a prostitute after McMurphy held a party from the night before, she then uses her manipulation on him to get what she wants, additional preponderance. Since she knows and is best friends with Billy’s mother, the nurse has special authority over him. Consequently, when the nurse mentions “is how your mother is going to take this,” this led to Billy committing suicide as a punishment because the nurse knows that his greatest weakness is fearing his mother since he is considered a mama’s boy. Nurse Ratched predominantly does this as a way to retaliate McMurphy in order to stop him from reaching his aspiration of liberating the patients from her isolation and corruption.
Hence the nature of evil, it is characterized as “whenever someone grows in strength by weakening someone else…” (Fosters 19). Nurse Ratched is selfish in her own matter of mortifying others in order to benefit herself for having more authority by using her foremost utensil of manipulation. One way is that she endears relinquishing people’s amour-propre such as forcing her patients to give up their confidential information and secrets they have during her mandatory group therapy sessions. The narrator describes her therapy sessions as “when twenty minutes had passed, she [Nurse Ratched] looked at her watch and said, “Am I to take it that there’s not a man among you that has committed some act that he has never admitted?” She reached in the basket for the log book. “Must we go over past history?” (77). Eventually, with her evil intentional ways, “Her eyes clicked to the next man; each one jumped like a shooting gallery target. “I—one time—wanted to take my brother to bed.” (78) as she forced the men to give up their personal secrets and linger until the patients snitch on one another. But not all of the commoners, since McMurphy is a foil persona to Nurse Ratched and is aware of her evil intentions.
For her vicious schemes, Nurse Ratched gains intimacy of gratification by hurting living souls. She is egotistical only in the matter of hurting individuals so that she can acquire additional jurisdiction over the institution. Through her despicable ways, she gains power and manipulates her patients to get what she desires.
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