Morality In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey constantly compares Randle Patrick McMurphy to Jesus Christ. Although he struggles, McMurphy is able to transform the mental ward, which he enters to avoid work and consequences for crimes he has committed, and the other patients around him. McMurphy stands up for the other men and teaches them valuable life lessons. As a result, he becomes a well-needed hero and role model as he leads his twelve “disciples” into a new life of freedom. In fact, his abbreviations, RPM, which stands for revolutions per minute, are a reference to his heroic actions. Although McMurphy seems like a man who cannot be compared to Jesus because he is violent, open about his sexuality, and gambles a lot, McMurphy is similar to Jesus because of his good moral beliefs, not through his uncontrollable behavior. As soon as…show more content…
Instead, McMurphy stands back and laughs. Chief justifies McMurphy’s laughter by stating that “he knows that [one] has to laugh at the things that hurt [...] just to keep [...] in balance, just to keep the world from running [one] plumb crazy,” (250). McMurphy’s constant laughter teaches the patients to laugh through their pain. McMurphy’s act of standing back teaches them self-reliance and to be independent. He reviews this valuable lesson by not giving up his life jacket when they realize that they are three short. He waits until Dale Harding, Billy Bibbit and George Sorenson, the captain, finally volunteer to sacrifice themselves for their friends. The patients take these new characteristics with them; consequently, the boys who left for the fishing trip return to the ward as strong men. Once the patients are under Nurse Ratched’s control again, McMurphy puts himself at risk by attacking an orderly to protect the men’s dignity and respect George’s germaphobia.
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