Culture Vs. Counterculture – This theme is about Nurse Ratched vs. McMurphy. Nurse Ratched is culture and is trying to get everyone to listen to her. McMurphy is the counter culture. He tries to show everyone that the nurses aren’t always right and they can think for themselves. That life isn’t just about the nurse’s orders. McMurphy is kind of the idol for the men in the ward. He tries to prove that the men are individuals and and don’t have to listen to the nurses. He shows this through many examples. There are so many examples of culture v. counterculture in today’s society. Feminism would be an example of this.
So many women feel mistreated and abused by men so they feel the need to display it and that is an example of counter culture. They push for change so that men will treat them differently. Some people see them as a joke. Aide Williams tells me, Mr. McMurry, that you’ve been somewhat difficult about your admission shower. Is this true?  Please understand, I appreciate the way you’ve taken it upon yourself to orient with the other patients on the ward, but everything in its own good time, Mr. McMurry. I’m sorry to interrupt you and Mr. Bromden, ut you do understand: everyone .. must follow the rules. (P. 8)
This is showing culture (the ward rules) vs counter culture (McMurphy not following the rules) because McMurphy was being complicated and the ward doesn’t care about how he feels but he needs to follow the rules. The Combine – This theme is how the ward doesn’t do much good for the men. If anything the ward hurts men more than helps them. People will go in normal and end up dead inside and outside. McMurphy was obviously quite an alive person before he went into the ward. He ended becoming nothing more than a vegetable. It develops really harshly in this story. At first, as I said, McMurphy was lively.
Everyday, the men could see how nurse Ratched was getting to him, and she would try to tear down their spirits. He was even put into disturbed at a time to be kept down. Even though he tried to show he was unaffected by this, it was becoming obvious. In the end, he tried to escape due to all of what he had dealt with and failed and ended up losing permanently to nurse Ratched. A situation like this in real life is jail. The point of jail is to change the person into doing right, but sometimes it just bliterates their personality. It chews them up and spits them out a whole new person.
This is due to all of the events that actually take place in jail. The Fog – This theme is one that constantly keeps reappearing in the story. The fog is basically a place that you can go to and feel safe in. This place is not always good, though. This place keeps you from the outside world and pulls you into your own mind. Most of the people in the ward are stuck in the fog. This theme is shown through every single person in the ward. All of them hide their true feelings from Nurse Ratched due to ear so they just sit and hide in their own fog. Chief is even in his own fog.
Everybody thinks that he is deaf and dumb, but he truly is not, and he in the fog so people won’t really know him. This fog is what McMurphy tries to pull everyone out of so they may develop their own personalities. Today, many people hide in the fog. Someone who really doesn’t agree with everyone else sort of hides in the fog because they don’t want to be the cause of any trouble. They just want everything to go smoothly so they usually act like they aren’t there to avoid conflict. People who are different from others physically, mentally, and even sexually hide their true selves in a fog so people won’t judge them.
When the fog clears to where I can see, I’m sitting in the day room. They didn’t take me to the Shock Shop this time. I remember they took me out of the shaving room and locked me in Seclusion. I don’t remember if I got breakfast or not. Probably not. I can call to mind some mornings locked in Seclusion the black boys keep bringing seconds of everything-supposed to be for me, but they eat it instead-till all three of them get breakfast while I lie here on that pee- stinking mattress, watching them wipe up egg with toast.
I can smell the grease and hear them chew the toast. Other mornings they bring me cold mush and force me to eat it without it even being salted. (p. 10) This quote really shows how hard the ward trys to keep all of the men in the fog. They put you in solitary to bring the fog back. They don’t want you to have a clear mind and see what is really going on. Identity – This theme is an identity one. One’s identity while going through the ward could be obscured. This is heavily displayed throughout the whole story.
The identity that each person holds on themselves is very important to piece apart the whole thing. I found that everyone leeched off of McMurphy’s identity. In the story, many of the men’s identities were fractured. An example is Cheswick. In the beginning, he was rather quiet and hid in the fog, but when McMurphy came around, his identity started to perk up and he began to crawl his way out of the fog. In the end, he began to act out against Nurse Ratched which actually didn’t turn out to well for him because he got sent to the disturbed.
I hide in the mop closet and listen, my heart eating in the dark, and I try to keep from getting scared, try to get my thoughts off someplace else-try to think back and remember things about the village and the big Columbia River, think about ah one time Papa and me were hunting birds in a stand of cedar trees near The Dalles. … But like always when I try to place my thoughts in the past and hide there, the fear close at hand seeps in through the memory. I can feel that least black boy out there coming up the hall, smelling out for my fear.
He opens out his nostrils like black funnels, his outsized head obbing this way and that as he sniffs, and he sucks in fear from all over the ward. He’s smelling me now, I can hear him snort. He don’t know where I’m hid, but he’s smelling and he’s hunting around. I try to keep still… (P. 8) This quote shows how chief is hiding his true identity. He acts deaf and dumb so he can slide by and not be tested. He is taking an easy but hard way. It’s easy because no one talks to him and it’s hard because he has to stay quiet. This quote could also be put under the fog because he is hiding in a fake identity or state of mind.