In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey makes certain the difference is noticeable between the patients from Nurse Ratched’s ward and the ‘normal people’ in the outside world. This illustrates how, in order to not seem to be a psychopath, the families living in these communities conform to society’s expectation of them. Whereas the patients who reside in the ward are very individualistic and are, for the most part, not afraid of showing who they truly are to the other patients they feel comfortable with. Patrick McMurphy’s character shows us how being your self is not that bad of a thing.
Patrick McMurphy is an ornery, loud, idiosyncratic individual. He believes he should
act whichever way he feels like. This turns around to have a negative impact on his life however, because of his rash, exaggerated actions he ﬁnds him self being scrutinized. He still sticks to his own ways though, which Bromden points out when he says, “Maybe that’s it he never gave the Combine a chance [..] because a moving target is hard to hit”(92). McMurphy doesn’t let ’the Combine’ of people outside the ward get him down or change who he really is. Bromden notices how unafraid McMurphy is of being himself, no matter what scrutiny accompanies it. He does not follow the rules of the ward, causing uneasiness for Nurse Ratched. The patients do eventually realize, through McMurphy’s example that not everyone needs to completely lose their sense of self, by giving into some sort of guidelines. This becomes evident when they say,
“He who - what was it? - Walks out of step hears another drum”(286). They learn that even if you are walking to another drum together all of our drums together can make beautiful music.
Ken Kesey depicts in his book that there is a thin line separating the socially acceptable
deﬁnition of being unique, and the uniqueness that leads to penalization and judgmental looks. The patients in the ward are slightly on the penalization end of this...