One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Feminist Analysis

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Gloria Steinem once said, “We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” In the 1960’s, a new movement by women who called themselves Feminists, aimed for American women to have the same opportunities as American men. This movement was sparked because American women begin to realize that there was so much more to life than getting married, becoming a mother, and tending to the every need of the husband. American women had no choice in pursuing a career because having a career was a man’s duty. The same cannot be said for the men in Ken Kesey’s novel who are overpowered by the women. In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey uses the power struggle between the women and male patients in the mental hospital to help us understand the reversing of roles as women in the 1960s are fighting for equality.
According to an article written on the Tavaana
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American men considered women incapable of speaking for themselves and only capable of taking care of the kids, the husband and keeping the household clean and presentable. In the novel the men get a taste of their own medicine. While Billy Bibbit was talking to his mother about his hopes and dreams after getting out of the mental hospital, his mother stops him in his tracks. She begins to make him feel incompetent and not capable of achieving those dreams. In an attempt to defend himself, Billy Bibbit responds by saying, “‘Mother, I’m th-th-thirty-one years old!’ She laughed… “‘Sweet-heart, do I look like the mother of a middle-aged man?’” (Kesey 295). His response is ineffective because of his lack of confidence and the extreme dominance his mom has over him. This shows how the men in the mental hospital are emasculated by the women who feel entitled because they are not in the hospital and they hold a higher position than the