Salvation Through Mc Murphy One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

1164 words - 5 pages

'One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest.' It is from this children's rhyme that Ken Kesey based the title of his book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Set in a 1960s mental hospital, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest focuses on the battle between the fun loving but rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy and the head nurse, Miss Ratched. McMurphy's disciples are the weak patients in the mental ward. Among them is Dale Harding, who protects himself with his intelligence, Billy Bibbit, a stuttering mama's boy, and Charles Chesswick, nervous, but the most open. The narrator of the story, Chief Bromden is also a patient. Using shame and fear, Nurse Ratched strips these men and the other patients of their courage and manipulates them into doing whatever she wants. Seeing this, McMurphy begins standing up to the 'Big Nurse' to prove to the patients that she shouldn't be controlling them. Although McMurphy's sacrifices begin mainly for himself, they change as he realizes that the others depend on him and look up to him for leadership. When the battle end's McMurphy has lost his life, but has gained his salvation and the salvation of the other patients. In doing this, Randle Patrick McMurphy emerges as a Christ figure.One example of this comes during the re-vote on the World Series game. 'Big Nurse' allows it in the first place because she's confident that the patients won't have the guts to raise their hands in favor of the game. When the voting begins, the first hand raised is McMurphy's. Then, down the line, other hands slowly rise, 'like that big red hand of McMurphy's is reaching into the fog and dropping down and dragging the men up by their hands, dragging them blinking, out into the open . . . dragging them out of the fog until they stand, all twenty of them, raising not just for watching TV, but against the Big Nurse, against her trying to send McMurphy to Disturbed, against the way she's talked and acted and beat them down for years'(124). When McMurphy discovers that he's committed, he feels betrayed. Even more so when he finds out that the other patients are voluntary. This new knowledge causes McMurphy to surrender to the nurse for the sake of getting an early release. During one meeting, Nurse Ratched orders the rationing of cigarettes to one pack a day and Charles Chesswick protests. He looks to McMurphy for help but is only met by silence, thus causing him to commit suicide. When the subject is brought up at a later meeting, however, McMurphy takes action. He runs his hand through the glass window in the nurse's office, splashing glass everywhere. With his bleeding hand, he picks out a pack of cigarettes, claiming that the window was so clean, he forgot it was there. McMurphy's sacrifice was not for himself and this begins his emergence as a Christ figure. Another time, McMurphy takes the patients deep sea fishing off the coast of Oregon. Despite Nurse Ratched's news articles attempting to sabotage the trip, enough men...

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