Examples Of Heroism In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Anti Hero

655 Words3 Pages

Kassidy Stumbo
Mr. Behler
Academy English 2
March 17, 2016
The Perfect Anti-Hero
King Arthur. Luke Skywalker. Harry Potter. Atticus Finch. Throughout history, Americans have always loved a good hero. However, late in the 20th century, a different kind of hero began to emerge in popular literature – an anti-hero. The difference is simple. While a traditional hero is morally upright and steadfast, the anti-hero is usually morally flawed and often has dark personality traits such as disagreeableness, deceitfulness, and aggressive tendencies. This definition almost perfectly fits the protagonist in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, McMurphy. Through Kesey’s use of McMurphy as the perfect anti-hero, he teaches us that Americans will champion even the worst of people if they are charismatic and charming.

Even from the minute McMurphy stepped on the ward, he causes trouble. As the readers learn through the nurse’s attempt to shut McMurphy up during the first group meeting, he had a history of “street brawls and barroom fights and a series of arrests for drunkenness, assault and battery, disturbing the peace, repeated gambling, and one arrest – for …show more content…

Throughout the text, he demonstrates uncontrollable fits of anger and aggressiveness. The most blatant perhaps was his brutal attack on the nurse at the closing of the book. Although a strong argument could be made that she deserved it, the attack undoubtedly shows his aggressive tendencies. However even after he tries to literally choke her, the readers (myself included) pitied him. Not the nurse who had been brutally attacked, but rather, her attacker. Why? Since the nurse has a cold, bland personality, we automatically characterize her as the villain as opposed to McMurphy with his wit and charisma. In the end, they were both villains. Although they might’ve truly been trying to help the patients, they both manipulated the men on the

Open Document