One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Group Mentality vs. Individualism Meaning . . .

Below, I've provided the Group Mentality vs. Individualism section of the Major Themes and I'm having trouble understanding what it is about. So if you could please tell me what this section is talking about thank you so much for answering and I hope I didn't take up too much of your time! I am out of school early this week and I need some help. Please. Thank you so much.

Group Mentality vs. Individualism

Perhaps Nurse Ratched's most sinister tool is preying on the group mentality of the inmates to instill fear and self-loathing. She makes it very clear that the inmates are not allowed to be on their own; they must form groups of eight in order to request access to even the most mundane activity. There is method to this seeming draconian order. The Nurse knows that as long as the men can reflect, mirror, and expose each other's pain, they will have enough to occupy themselves with rather than rebelling against her. Only in the solitude of one’s own room can one of them look inside and develop the strength of will and character to begin questioning her authority. Such questioning of the hospital, its leadership, the role of the hospital in their convalescence, or broadly questioning authority or society is a mark of individualism that Nurse Ratched will not allow. In a group of disturbed people, the group identity is going nowhere, and that is the way she wants it. She controls the inmates by controlling the questions asked, and as long as she prevents them from being alone for very long, she knows that she will have the upper hand.

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Nurse Ratched tries to destroy any individual thought under her "care." She attempts to instil a collective group mentality in order to control and often emasculate the men. By moulding these men into her creation she can easily manipulate them into conforming them to what she regards as her "patients." She eventually has perpetual power over them. McMurphy, with his very loud and individual personality, thwarts her at every turn.