One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Moving Towards Misogyny in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" 11th Grade

"Hell yes, we have a quota...We do keep women out, when we can. We don't want them here — and they don't want them elsewhere, either, whether or not they'll admit it." This statement, issued by an unnamed dean of a medical school in 1960, generated an uproar within the feminist community. Two years later, author Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, a novel that sparked second wave feminism, a political movement focused on women’s right to work and break out of the domestic sphere. These ideals, however, were not without backlash. Many men felt that women would push them out of the workplace and firmly believed in the role of a housewife. The same year The Feminine Mystique was written, Ken Kesey published One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a novel which shows the author’s misogyny through his portrayal of women. The antagonist, Nurse Ratched, is a women in a powerful position who uses her power to belittle and control the patients in the psychiatric ward, thus earning her the nickname “ball cutter.” The rest of the novel is scattered with female characters that overpower the men in the psychiatric ward.  Kesey uses the sexuality and movement of female characters within the novel...

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