One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Literary Analysis Paper One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Ken Kesey

1035 words - 4 pages

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Literary Analysis PaperRandle McMurphy fits the profile of a tragic hero based on the analysis of certain literary elements. McMurphy's major flaw was hubris which leads to his downfall in life as well as the lives of others in the novel. After closely reading Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, it is apparent that McMurphy is a tragic hero.Kesey uses narration in the first person in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. This helps to show the perspective of life on the ward from a patient. The story is told by the Chief which helps to characterize McMurphy as he is seen by the patients of the ward. The perspective from the Chief shows the fears and insecurities that the patients have that McMurphy doesn't recognize. The Chief stated how McMurphy was ignorant to the patient's feeling and mental health: "That's what McMurphy can't understand, us wanting to be safe. He keeps trying to drag us out of the fog, out in the open where we'd be easy to get at" (page 114)..."why don't he leave me be?" (Page 123). McMurphy's hubris is displayed here. His arrogance and pride got the best of him; he failed to recognize that the patients were not like him; not mentally as strong. He tried to get the patients to stand up for themselves and act like men. He treated them and talked to them as if they were normal. McMurphy is going against nature, going against the will of the gods because the men are not normal, they are not meant to be treated normally. It is as if he is deciding against their fate and trying with all his might to change their destiny. The Chief's perspective shows just how weak and vulnerable the patients are and how ignorant McMurphy is to this. The motif of life outside the ward compared to life inside the ward contributes to McMurphy being displayed as a tragic hero. He does not realize that the reason many of the patients are in the ward in the first place is because they can not handle society's pressures. The reason they did not survive in society, life on the outside of the ward, was because they are crazy. McMurphy puts faith in the men of the ward because he fails to recognize their sicknesses as being true setbacks. This led him to lead pointless uprisings and protests which eventually led to his punishments which in the end killed him.Kesey characterized McMurphy as a strong willed, intelligent, rebellious man. The use of imagery painted McMurphy as a larger than life, big muscled man. This look attracted the other patient's attention. They were infatuated with the fact that he was different, a nice change of view for them. This placed McMurphy on a pedestal above the other men which led to him becoming their leader figure which motivated him to make drastic moves. He wanted to be the figure head; he wanted the dedication and support of the men on the ward. This installed pride and even a little arrogance in...

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