The Movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Is Analyzed Using Psychoanalytic, Reader Response, Feminist, And Marxist Criticism

3806 words - 16 pages

Falling into Theory - One Flew Over the CuckOo's Nest (Question #2)Psychoanalytic ApproachTextual PassageNurse Pilbo: Take your medicine, Mr. McMurphyMcMurphy: What's in the horse pill?Nurse Pilbo: It's good for you. Don't get angry, Mr. McMurphyMcMurphy: I'm not getting angry, Nurse Pilbo. I just don't like taking anything when I don't know what it is. I don't want anyone slippin' me saltpeter, if you know what I mean.Nurse Ratched: That's okay, Nurse Pilbo. If Mr. McMurphy does not want to take his medicine, we will just have to arrange for him to have it some other way, although I don't think he'd like it very much.In the movie, although most of the patients are not "chronics" (committed ...view middle of the document...

Two incidents that support psychoanalytic readingBilly Bibbitt is a stuttering, virginal, thirty-year old boy child. His inability to establish solidarity with anyone, especially of the opposite sex, and his profound difficulty articulating himself, show an inability to successfully enter the Symbolic realm and establish a name for himself. He is strikingly similar, in many ways, to the monster in Frankenstein. However, towards the end of the movie, he is wheeled in a wheelchair into an isolated room, where he has sex with a strumpet. As he sits in the wheelchair, he is ill, malignant to society, a cancer who has been successfully removed. However, after coitus, he becomes confident, holding his head high, laughing, and most importantly, he does not stutter. Nurse Ratched asks him if he is ashamed of what he did. He says, "No, I'm not" as articulately as an ambassador. Unfortunately, Ratched threatens to tell his mother, which once again removes him from the Symbolic realm, forcing him to stutter again, losing the linguistic facility he required. It is too much for him to bear. He kills himself.Charlie Cheswick, an insecure neurotic, becomes enraged, overtly challenging Nurse Ratched when she hides his cigarettes. Inspired by McMurphy and his democratic, paternalistic ideals, he begins to see the cigarettes as a phallic symbol, his absent father, desperately attempting to return to the imaginary stage so that he can accept his father's dominance, disabuse himself of an overwhelming need for his mother, and enter the Symbolic realm, thereby gaining his autonomy. Unfortunately, Ratched and the sadistic orderlies put an end to his fustian ranting, and he is led away, crying, to receive electro-shock therapy. LInterpretation of one character using psychoanalysisMartini, played by Danny Devito, not only has a childlike physicality, but has a puerile affect as well. He does not speak throughout the entire film, except for non-sequiturs and sibilant and monosyllabic utterances in response to McMurphy's remarks and always has an innocent smile on his face, oblivious to the meaning of language (he cannot understand McMurphy's explanations of how to play cards). This shows an inability to escape the imaginary realm, as he is not able to successfully construct meaning with others. However, towards the end of the movie, after all of the patients reveled in bacchanalian bliss, Nurse Ratched asks him to pick up her soiled cap, which lay on the floor. He understands her and, smiling, carries out her order. He may not be able to understand the Law of the Father, but he can understand Ratched's language (the signifier) and the thing that it signifies (oppression that relegates him to eternal childhood).Themes and Issues** McMurphy (Law of the Father) versus Ratched (the maternal thing and object a which the patients are seeking, but can never recover. However, the façade of possibly grasping it - Ratched strings them along- keeps them hostage).**...

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