The Conflict of Capitalism and Communism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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History has shown us to be a conflict of ideologies, as soon in the Cold War where communism faced off against capitalism. The Lime has passed and it deeply engrained the American conscious with a distrust of communism, Yet, even back then the fear of communism was alive, perhaps even more alive than today. This is seen even in the arts with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest showcasing the conflict between capitalism and communism through the struggle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. Their conflict is reflective of criticisms of both systems reflections around the world of communism vs capitalism, not just during the Cold Wart Capitalism, the American practice of it, manifests itself in both the negative and positive through Randall McMurphy.

Capitalism is characterized by self—profit, individualism, and capriciousness in OFOTCN and most seen through McMurphy‘s actions as capitalism is associated with progress and moving forward in America it is even seen when McMurphy first joins the ward saying “quote” on page 12 reflecting consumerism, people want what is new, what makes life easy: perhaps buying a new dishwasher or new laundry machine It is about making life easier. McMurphy is special though, he reflects notjust the average American consumer: he reflects the corporate magnate, the 1 percent, a real capitalist. He seeks to use the rules of the system to his advantage, making it work in his favor. In the quote he sees the inmate’s poor Blackjack play and plans to capitalize on that to make a profit McMurphy’s actions of capitalism gives way to the main criticisms of it.

The criticism of consumerism is just that, it’s all about consuming, it degrades the character of a person as they only seek to stimulate their senses. McMurphy’s bet on page 60 shows his restlessness, and his want for some excitement while also showcasing its insecurity. Wavering capitalist markets leading to extreme highs and extreme lowst Extreme highs like when McMurphy is leading the men at the fishing trip to extreme lows at his vegetation. Communism, Soviet communism, manifests itself through Nurse Ratched, McMurphy even explicitly states that the “Chinese commies” could learn from her, which makes sense as Chinese communism was initially influenced by the Soviet Union, Ultimately though, while Ratched reflects.

Soviet communism, the “Combine“ represents America and the book is set in the American world Nurse Ratched is communism in America, and its influence on America (and the ward) is seen through the quote “quote”. Chief trying to explain how the ward is democratic and focused on making the patients part of the “Outside” ultimately shows the communist regime of Nurse Ratched. It is very reflective of McCarthyism which, in Salem style, tried to root out communism from the United States The Therapeutic Community reflects McCarthyism because, as Harry Truman put it,”lt is the use of the big lie and the unfounded accusation against any citizen in the name of Americanism or security It is the rise to power of the demagogue who lives on untruth; it is the spreading of fear and the destruction of faith in every level of society.”

That is to say, as Harry Truman put it again, it punishes people for the opinions they have, for acting individually. This witch-hunt which spread silent, ever-so-increasing fear, that threatened to reach the brink and spill over gripped Americans just as Nurse Ratched spread fear in the same way; making the inmates fear that their fellow inmates were different and also that they might be accused of the same But ultimately, McCarthyism became the perceived Soviet society it feared in which voices against the state, Stalin’s state, are silenced, and made to forcefully follow righteousness just as Nurse Ratched has.


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The Conflict of Capitalism and Communism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (2023, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-conflict-of-capitalism-and-communism-in-one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest/

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