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Female Leadership of Female Characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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From the novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the connection between leaders effectiveness to their subjects concerning their gender has been assessed throughout the plot of this novel. In this case, authority is in the hands of a lady, a gender that is considered weak for power throughout the plot of the book. The lady in authority is a nurse and with the use of male patients seeking her medical attention, how authoritative she is to her subjects is challenged by her subjects in many occasions who identified her to have less power than she thought she had.

Subject’s gender determines how ready they are to follow without question that they are required to. The same applies if the authority is in the hands of a gender that is perceived to be weak and inappropriate for leadership, whereby subjects tend to defy those with authority. McMurphy introduced the idea of challenging Nurse Ratched, with an intent of proving to her that to them, her authority never counted. McMurphy was determined to reduce the effectiveness of authority that Nurse Ratched had on the basis that she was a lady in charge of authority over male patients in the ward.

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It is credible enough to say when ladies are in charge of authority; they face more rejection from their subjects than when men hold the same authority. Despite the fact that McMurphy is an asylum patient, he stills does recognize his wrongs and failures and wants to challenge Nurse Ratched because of her gender. He is confident enough to undermine Ratched’s system of control intentionally. He wanted to prove to his colleagues inward that authority in the hands of ladies does not count because they don’t have the audacity to dictate and manipulate the course of action of their subjects, in this case, patients in the ward.

With no dispute, men will always challenge the authority of a female leader to undermine their capacity as leaders. Despite a clear understanding of the level of control that the female leaders ha men will tend to defy all this to weaken their power of control. This is evidenced by McMurphy action of introducing prostitutes in the ward. He knew that Nurse Ratched had the total authority of having him locked in an asylum as long as she can wish, but he still challenges this fact. He goes to the extent of having all patients in the ward drunk with an intent of undermining Ratched authority completely.

In their attempt to prove their power of control, female leaders get themselves causing more trouble than when they tackle resistance strategically. To prove her power of control, she threatened Billy Bibbit for his action and challenged to bring his defiance to her authority in his parent’s attention. This hits Bibbit so hard that instead of conforming to Ratched’s authority, he commits suicide to avoid resultant shame from his actions.

McMurphy consistently defied female leadership when he tears Nurse Ratched’s shirt to expose her breasts. By his actions, he intended it as a reminder that despite having authority over them, she had what it takes to be a woman. He undermined her as just like a normal woman with authority which does not count to patents. This is retrievable from the novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey.


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