he Cuckoo’s NestThe Power of Speech and Silence in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest There are many powers associated with both speech and silence. One can use either speech or silence to their advantage in a power struggle. Both can be very effective if used properly.
In the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched and McMurphy use the power of speech and Chief Bromden uses the power of silence.The power of speech can be used in a number of ways. McMurphy uses his power of speech to rally his fellow patients against the evil Nurse Ratched who is constantly taking their privileges away. He also uses it to get just about anything that he wants, by conning the other patients.
Speech gains its power when the volume is raised, and when it is used to humiliate people. It can also be used to intimidate, to flirt and to threaten, all of which are key strategies to winning a power struggle. Speech is a vital utility in a power struggle if it is used properly. Silence can also be used in a power struggle.
Chief Bromden used silence very effectively to his advantage. Everyone thought that he was deaf and dumb, but he has been faking it the whole time that he has been in the mental hospital. With Chief Bromden silence was extremely powerful. He was able to hear everything that went on in the meetings where the doctors and nurses discussed the future of the patients.
Silence can also be used to gain power if you stop talking to someone (give them the silent treatment), because you gain more power in the situation. In a power struggle, silence can be used if someone is talking to you and you just don’t respond, it causes great annoyance and frustration, and this is a key to victory in a power struggle.