One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Mcmurphy Analysis

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey is a fictional novel that tells of the unpleasant conditions of an insane asylum which houses many patients with various mental disorders. From the start, it is obvious that the hospital does not achieve the goal of curing the patients due to the authoritative nurse, Miss Ratched, until a courageous rebel named McMurphy comes along to defy preexisting standards in the ward. Despite his rough past of crime, Kesey develops McMurphy as a Christ figure to demonstrate opposition to the stereotype that only perfect people can make a difference. On the fishing trip, McMurphy allows the other men to be independent and fish without his guidance, alluding to how Jesus led his disciples. There is a total of…show more content…
As McMurphy is preparing to receive his first electroshock therapy treatment, he questions, “Do I get a crown of thorns?” (Kesey 283). This obvious reference to Jesus wearing a crown of thorns is put in place to identify McMurphy as an intelligent character who recognizes the role he portrays in the ward. The table he lays on is also shaped like a cross foreshadowing his ultimate fate. A schizophrenic patient approaches him before the treatment and states, “I wash my hands of the whole deal”(Kesey ) which represents Pontius Pilate who spoke that before sentencing Jesus to death. McMurphy dies both literally and figuratively when he receives the lobotomy, further depicting him as Christ. He sacrifices himself for the benefit of the other patients and saves them from their inevitable future in Hell (Miss Ratched’s ward). Kesey chooses McMurphy to fulfill this position because he himself was escaping his own Hell, the work camp, and incorporates irony through the fact that he avoids one terrible situation to enter another, but has a large unpredicted impact. Although McMurphy does not embody an ideal protestor, his tactics of violence and rebellion are enough to defy the authority Miss Ratched holds to the point that she can no longer "rule with her old power anymore" (Kesey…show more content…
In many ways, he figuratively raises the men to life by removing them from the “fog” and helping them to see the reality of the conditions they receive in the insane asylum. Specifically, he gets Chief to talk for the first time in many years which is similar to a miracle Jesus performed by making the deaf hear. Even though Chief is never literally deaf, McMurphy is the one who “performs a miracle” and motivates him to improve himself and stop pretending to be deaf and dumb. On the other hand, McMurphy helps Billy, but he denies him. Billy becomes much more confident in himself and stops stuttering thanks to McMurphy but the second Miss Ratched confronts him, he doesn't hesitate to betray him. This is relative to the story of Judas, who betrayed Jesus and is fulfilled as Billy kills himself like Judas did. This connection of Billy going against McMurphy strengthens him as the Christ figure in the novel. By allowing McMurphy to “perform miracles” and raise the patients from the dead, Kesey is using the biblical allusion to show that anyone have an impact through faith and determination. Kesey effectively gets his point across through the use of biblical allegory in this novel. By establishing McMurphy as a Christ figure despite his past as a rapist and thief (?), he proves that the stereotypes society follows are not always accurate. The nurse can be evil and
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