Critique of the Movie One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

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Introduction: One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
In the film, “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”, which was released on November, 1975, was based on the human psychology of perceiving things as per their thinking. The film is based on the novel which has the same name. It was based on the social beliefs of the people, who were patients of a psychiatric hospital. The story started from a prison statement of Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), the lead protagonist in the story. He planned to be a mental patient rather than spend his time in jail. He thought that it would be more suitable and easy for him to live without the requirement of working hard in the mental hospital as compared to his life in the jail. With a psychology of spending his life in peace, McMurphy had decided and planned to live in the mental hospital irrespective of his normal condition. He believed it to be a much easier option than facing the Hardwork and ruthlessness in the jail. But, this was not the case (Kesey, 2002)
He saw the firm and fierce reigning of the Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). She almost ruled the psychiatric ward and controlled the patients at the tip of his fingers. She abused, threatened and provided severe shock sessions to the patients for keeping them under control. This started a very rigorous battle for survival and triumph in the hospital between the two, McMurphy and Nurse Ratched respectively. During this conflict, the other patients were largely affected, too, as they get carried away by the talks of McMurphy and on the same time, they had a huge hatred against the nurse due to large number of reasons. This led to development of critical situations in the ward, where there were many continuous efforts by both the main lead characters of the story. Following the twists and turns that the story takes, there is a death of two members of the two members of the ward, namely, McMurphy and Billy. The story takes a complete turn with the death of McMurphy and an advantage of this situation was taken by Bromden who managed to escape the ward that night.
There are various famous theories and researches by various sociologists all over the world regarding the topic of human psychology and social behavior. Two of the most prominent researchers, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber have provided many concepts regarding the human interactions, psychology and behavior as well as attitude of the people. This would be discussed in the essay, where the interrelationships among the two researches with respect to the concepts shown in the movie have been developed.
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and Durkheim’s concept:
There are many concepts regarding the human psychology and social behaviors which have been developed by the famous French sociologist, Emile Durkheim. He has developed a critical rationale for the base of the human psychological study across the globe. He has provided the term, “Collective Conscience”, which is related to the moral behaviors and approach of the people regarding the acts and traditions that are performed in the society. Collective Conscience, refers to the psychology which is responsible for taking decisions and acting during different situations by an individual. It differs from one person to another depending on their capabilities to think and develop social behavior regarding the people in their surroundings. This term was developed by Durkheim in “Division of Labor in Society” in 1893 (Pope, Cohen, & Hazelrigg, 1975).
These elements mentioned and developed by him also includes he norms, values, ideal structure and framework for maintaining relations, socialization as well as internalization, the cultural aspects and the solidarity in actions through predetermined consequences and its analysis. There are many concepts that link to the theme and concept of the movie, “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”. The basic common principle is the human behavior and approach that has been described in both the works, where in the movie it has been played through different roles assigned to the people.
Linking the elements of Durkheim with the movie:
The human psychology and approach while developing important decisions during critical situations has been described in both the work. Durkheim provided a critical evaluation and analysis of the human behavior for sustenance and survival in the society. This has been described through the characterization of the different approaches to human social behavior as shown in the movie, through different characters. In both the works, there is a huge emphasis on group thinking and influencing each other through shared social and mental beliefs.
The character of McMurphy is a form of the rebellious approach of the collective conscience. He had to face the ruling approach of the Nurse this manner, the two main characters are interlinked with the concepts in the book by Durkheim (Pope, Cohen, & Hazelrigg, 1975).
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and Weber’s concept:
Max Weber, is one of the most renowned German sociologist, who has developed many theories and concepts regarding the human behavior and actions in the society. At the same time, the influence of the different types of rationalities on the decision making abilities of an individual has been developed. This psychology and genera latitude of the people involves four different types of rationalities and they are:
Purposive rationality, belief oriented rationality, Meaning oriented rationality and conventional rationality. These are the four forms of rationalities that include the human behavior and psychology throughout the society. He has very well included the terms like bureaucracy, class, groups, status and different forms of authority that are prevalent.
This converges with the concept of social behavior shown in the movie, where there are two different rationalities displayed by the lead characters. The characters have displayed behavior as per their thinking and their approach towards life and their perception of the situation.
Linking the elements of Weber with the movie:
There are different rationalities which are described by Weber and are prevalent in the movie. The different characters have developed psychology and understanding of the issues as per the different rationalities observed in them. It can also be seen that the elements and different characters in the movie have developed different psychology in their practices and it has resulted to the development of conflicts between the characters. The intensive differences in the behavior and attitude of the people through huge differences in the rationalities are due to the understanding and ability of thinking of the members in the society (Pope, Cohen, & Hazelrigg, 1975).
Understanding the issues addressed
There are many issues addressed through the movie. It involves understanding and critically analyzing the dictator and rebel type of characterization of the two main persons that play a significant role in the movie. Both the researcher, Durkheim and Weber, have developed an approach towards developing of a behavior on the basis of the beliefs, thinking, moral and attitude in the society. These elements have been displayed among the characters of the movie. The main issue is of the difference in the style of thinking. This is the root cause of almost all the conflicts that are existing among the individuals in the society. Thinking leads to developing of attitude, which leads to the carrying of actions.
It considers the other issue of consequences faced due to the different approaches and style of living. This has been portrayed very well in the movie, where there is a death of the lead character and his friend in the mental ward.
Critique Durkheim and Weber’s
Durkheim has proposed the concept of collective conscience, which refers ot the beliefs and social structure followed by the individuals. It does not however, provide a firm base or strategies which would help in obtaining an ideal behavior among the people in the society. The perception and awareness that has been spread in the society as per Durkheim, needs to be channelized and evaluated for developing a critical understanding of the actions and their consequences observed across the society.
The rational approach provided by weber, has been successful in developing a critical evaluation of the reasons that are responsible for different actions of the people in the society. He, was however, not completely successful in establishing the effects of the rationalities on the overall welfare of the society. These rationalities have to be evaluated, studied, practices and the evaluated by the individuals. Different rationalities does not necessarily lead to conflicts, but different level of understanding and inability to justify other’s behavior is the root cause of the conflicts and incidents that are developed by different rationalities.
Kesey, K. (2002). One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. . Penguin.
Pope, W., Cohen, J., & Hazelrigg, L. E. (1975). On the divergence of Weber and Durkheim: a critique of Parsons’ convergence thesis. . American Sociological Review,, 417-427.


Posted on

March 9, 2018

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