One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
McMurphy v. Ratched: Not So Different After All
Aragorn Louis most probably perfectly captured the relationship between McMurphy and Ratched in saying, "Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash." In relation, if McMurphy is the light, and Ratched the dark, then we see that we can understand both only in relation to one another. In a sense, what makes these two characters so great, so appealing to the readers is the fact that they are taken in context with one another. Neither McMurphy nor Ratched on their own portray the message that Kesey wants to send-but together they do so perfectly.
McMurphy's philosophy of life is contingent upon sexuality, freedom, and determining his own fate. In a sense-he serves as the foil and true antithesis of Nurse Ratched and her personality. One of the major clashes that occurs with Nurse Ratched happens in their confrontation after his shower and when he has his bath robe on. In first arriving at the hospital, he never received a uniform, and so when Ratched tells him to take off his robe-we see a moment of tenseness as...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1028 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7911 literature essays, 2225 sample college application essays, 341 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in