In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, how are Ratched and Mrs. Harding similar and how has Mack changed? What are two examples of foreshadowing?

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litlady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dale Harding calls the patients "victims of the matriarchy," or victims of feminine power.  Both Nurse Ratched and Vera Harding rob men of their power.  Vera indicates that Dale isn't enough of a man for her and calls into question his sexuality, making reference to his companions who flick their wrists.  She also undercuts his masculinity by flirting with McMurphy and one of the black boy's in Dale's presence.  Nurse Ratched is referred to as a "ball-cutter." This is a metaphor for her castration of the patients as she controls every hour of their day, and forces them to be submissive lest they fall victim to electroshock therapy or lobotomy.

Mack has changed in that he is no longer challenging Big Nurse.  He now knows that she determines the length of his stay at the ward, and he doesn't want to jeopardize himself by giving her a hard time.

We are also clued into the question of Harding's sexual preference.  It also reveals the men's need for McMurphy (specifically Harding's and Martini's).

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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