A Total Institution as portrayed in the film represents that the people in the institution are only as nuts as people make them think they are. In this film the people of the hospital were secluded from life, happiness, and reality. They feed off their surroundings. The environment that they had to live in was in no way a method of treatment. They can only learn to be more crazy, not being treated like humans and not being listened to.
The "Looking Glass Self Theory" was a big theme in this film. These people of this institution had no sense of self until McMurphy arrived. Mc Murphy helped them realize who they are. Head nurse Ratched made them feel like they were nothing. She would tell them they are wrong for feeling the way they feel. For example, when Harding was telling the nurse about how he speculated his wife was cheating on him, the nurse would ask him if he ever speculated that it was his mental problem that made him feel that way. The only sense of self they had until McMurphy arrived, was that they were nothing but mental cases, portrayed to them by the nurse.
McMurphy helped them realize a different sense in self. He represented freedom, sexuality, and self determintion. McMurphy made the men of the institution realize that that they should stand up for themselves, because they're not dumb. He built the confidence that they needed. McMurphy taught them a new sense of life. He took them fishing, got them to beat the nurses in basketball, and showed them that they didn't need this place.
The nurse and the staff would resocialize the residents by cutting out all their enjoyments. They would take the residents cigarettes, not allow them to watch t.v. If someone got loud or out of control, they would electricut them, and put them to sleep. The staff closed the tub room so the residents couldn't play cards. They also wouldn't lower the music. That's why …