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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By: Ken Kesey

2187 words - 9 pages

1) Write a thorough character analysis of Randall P. McMurphy. Consider the following in your discussion: a) How does the narrator describe McMurphy? b) What does McMurphy say about his own background and personality? c) What do McMurphy's actions reveal about his personality? d) What do other characters think of McMurphy? e) What do you see as McMurphy's strong and weak characteristics? f) What is your own evaluation of McMurphy's rightness or wrongness?Mr. McMurphy is described and interpreted throughout the novel as being large, thunderous, sexual active, unhygienic, and confident throughout all of his actions. He represents the sexuality, freedom, and self determination which he does not try to refute, but tries to strengthen. One could clearly see that McMurphy shows these attributes by the way he comes across to others. He is first introduced as a fearless, undaunted person ready to face his next challenge. He is considered to be a free spirit, and won't yield his energy to acclimatize to the lifestyle that Nurse Ratched would like him to embark upon. The narrator, chief Bromden, establishes that McMurphy is not, in fact, insane, but that he is trying to manipulate the system so that it may work to his advantage. He believes that the "Combine" would be a luxury compared to the Pendleton Work Farm, where he had previously been serving a six-month sentence. McMurphy's true saneness, which is construed throughout the novel, conflicts with him being instituted into an insane institution. His true personality is revealed through his actions of selflessness. He is considered to be altruism on behalf of the others on the ward which calls one to reminisce on Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross to redeem mankind from the corruptions and manipulations of Satan, which in the novel is represented by Nurse Ratched. McMurphy's actions often follow the actions of Christ in the Gospels. He submits himself to a baptism upon entering the ward, as Christ did when he was to begin his ministry. He slowly gathers and attracts others to him and gains his followers and intensifies the need to rebel against Nurse Ratched. When he takes his so called followers on a fishing trip, he is like Christ leading his twelve disciples to the sea to test their faith and belief in Him. Finally, as Christ suffered through His passion, McMurphy is given as the ultimate sacrifice, joint with the symbolism of the cross-shaped electroshock table and his request for "a crown of thorns," reinforces the image of the Christ-like martyrdom that McMurphy has accomplished by sacrificing his freedom and sanity. I feel that McMurphy's strength was his selflessness. He was able to look beyond what he would undergo and sacrificed his own morality for the good of his disciples.2) Discuss Ken Kesey's choice for the title of the novel.I believe that Kesey chose to entitle the book "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" because of its symbolism. One can interpret "cuckoo" to be a person or thing...

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