Read more about Nurse Ratched at: Wikipedia
Official Site: United Artists
A cold, sadistic and passive-aggressive tyrant, Nurse Ratched has become the stereotype of the nurse as a battle axe. She has also become a popular metaphor for the corrupting influence of power and authority in bureaucracies such as the mental institution in which the novel is set.
Nurse Mildred Ratched is the head administrative nurse at the Salem, Oregon State (Mental) Hospital, where she exercises near-absolute power over the patients' access to medication, privileges, and basic necessities such as food and toiletries. She capriciously revokes these privileges whenever a patient displeases her. Her superiors turn blind eyes because she maintains order, keeping the patients from acting out, either through antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs or her own brand of "therapy", which consists mostly of humiliating patients into doing her bidding. Her greatest success is the stuttering, suicidal Billy Bibbit, who is so terrified of her that he does whatever she says.
When Randle McMurphy arrives at the hospital, however, her dictator rule is nearly toppled: he flouts her precious rules with impunity, and inspires other patients to follow. Her attempts to cow him into submission — at first with threats and mild punishments, then with shock therapy — are unsuccessful, serving only to fuel his defiance.
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