Ken Kesey's Character Analysis

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“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don 't know.” -W. H. Auden Auden’s sentiment is one I’ve pondered on many occasions as a husband, parent, and teacher. If I came across this quote in my youth, it didn’t register and I know why: as a child growing to adolescence, my focus was on my own needs. In psyche theory, Abraham Maslow identified and defined this process in his “Hierarchy of Needs”. Children and adolescents are focused on the 4 tiers below the apex of his pyramid. However, once a person has achieved relative satisfaction in Maslow’s hierarchy, looking outward, instead of inward is a normal progression of maturation. Heroes, both real and fictional, often make this transition and sacrifice part, or all, of themselves to benefit others. My hero, Ken Kesey’s best-known protagonist, R.P. McMurphy, from Kesey’s masterpiece One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, makes this metamorphosis. By doing so, his journey is an internal conflict: he accepts the challenge of putting others’ needs before his own. (TH) Despite the many critics attacks (TSIS pivot) on Ken Kesey and his protagonist, the journey he sets for “Mack” sees the “hero” overcome his self interest in the service of others. BP 1 - Leaves Ordinary World Ken Kesey’s notorious protagonist Randall Patrick McMurphy schemed for relief from the daily labors at the military penitentiary at Camp Pendleton with the idea that if he acted crazy enough for long enough, his
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