One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

what role do women play in the novel and what political statement is the book making

What role do women play and what political statement is being made

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Women represent sexuality and repressed sexuality. The "Big Nurse" represents a frigid, controlled sexuality, an attempt to button up natural instincts and resist impulse through conscious order. She cannot, however, disguise her huge breasts, which show through her uniform no matter how much she covers up. McMurphy, the symbol of total sexual abandon, ultimately tears the Nurse's clothes from her body to "unleash" her breasts in a final climax of the battle. McMurphy himself is almost animalistic in his sexuality, which is a main reason he has been institutionalized by a repressive society. Similarly Vera, the wife of Dale Harding, Vera visits her husband at the institution and promptly gets into an argument with him. She is a physically imposing woman who uses her sexuality to intimidate her husband and who plays on his sexual insecurities. Sandy Gilfilliam, a prostitute, represents sexual freedom, which the men so desperately crave.



What political statement is the book making? Is it associated with the women?

One might consider femenism with issues around sex and control.