One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey, tells the story of a group of male inmates admitted and living in a psychiatric hospital in Oregon. The story is narrated by the omniscient Chief Bromden, who focuses mainly on the quest for power between head nurse Ms. Ratched and the newest member of the group, R.P McMurphy. Although both try to get the best of one another, their efforts were a waste for the real victor to emerge from all of the chaos was Bromden, for he was the only one who completely benefitted from the situation.
From day one, McMurphy had one, and only one goal : he was going to "get Ms. Ratched's goat." Throughout the entire novel, his objective was to strip the head nurse of the power she had mysteriously harnessed from the residents. Over the duration of his admittance, McMurphy was able to do just that. He was able to persuade many into doing exactly what he wanted, whether it was arranging a fishing trip with the ...view middle of the document...
Her "nerves of steel" and seemingly endless supply of patience worked to her advantage. The other members of the ward truly feared her, which made McMurphy's job very difficult for the residents were afraid to rebel. Throughout the entire novel, even when it seemed as though McMurphy had finally "got her goat," she remained in control of her ward and shocked everybody. Despite her extreme composure, she too was not the victor either. She did, in fact, make the last move in this large scale game of chess by arranging for her foe's fatal lobotomy, but he had successfully left his mark on the ward. The men had stopped completing their chores and had become more assertive. Billy Bibbit, the son of Ms. Ratched's best friend, had committed suicide after being caught with the female that McMurphy had snuck into the ward for him. Many of the inmates, such as Harding, finally built up the courage to sign themselves out of the ward. Everything had been permanently altered by McMurphy.
Chief Bromden, although indirectly involved in this entire dispute, proved to emerge as the true victor of these circumstances. Before the arrival of McMurphy, many of the residents assumed Bromden was deaf and uneducated, which he led them to believe for ten years. He played along and fulfilled this persona quite well for he believed that no one truly valued what he had to say, which led to his decision to cease speaking all together. As the story progressed, McMurphy began to rub off on Bromden, making him wish he was as much of a man as this new member was. However, as the weeks passed Bromden did in fact begin to change. By the end of the novel, he had began to speak again, demonstrating his more assertive side. He eventually made it out of the ward and was focused on leaving that prison and restarting his life. Unlike the other two, he had nothing to lose in the first place, making his earnings all the more significant.
It is obvious that out of these tree main characters, Bromden was the true victor of this competition. While he did not obtain as much to lose as Ms. Ratched and McMurphy, he emerged with a new self-confidence and enough strength to walk away from the ward and try fit in with the rest of society.