In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the novel’s anti-hero R.P. McMurphy unexpectedly parallels Moby Dick. In the infamous Melville classic, Moby Dick bites off the leg of Captain Ahab. Ahab thusly convinces his crew to join him in a revenge-filled quest to kill the white whale. The life of R. P. McMurphy presents a similar journey. While McMurphy attempts to restore the masculinity of the men on the ward so the men can live freely as they once had before the women’s liberation movement, women such as Nurse Ratched endeavor to hunt down these men and emasculate them. Consequently, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, an anti-feminist novel written in opposition to the rising women’s rights movement, presents a case for the hunted man. The women in the novel strive to control the men in the ward and remove any form of masculinity from their lives. The film adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest furthers this hunter-versus-hunted dynamic between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy. Ratched and McMurphy exemplify to readers and viewers that an oppressed group in power will only lead to the subsequent abuse of said power, according to Kesey’s narrative.
English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition
Kauerauf, Abigail '19, "Captain Ahab and Her Crew" (2016). Outstanding Gateway Papers. 11.