Essay, Research Paper: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Literature: One Flew Over The Cuckoo`s Nest

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A hero is considered to be any man noted for feats of courage or nobility of
purpose; especially, one who has risked or sacrificed his life. This describes
one of the main characters in the highly acclaimed novel, One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey. Randle McMurphy is the hero of this novel because
he stood firmly against oppressive powers, showing courage and ultimately paying
with his life. There were no heroes on the psychiatric ward before McMurphy's
arrival. Nurse Ratched wielded supreme power. No single patient had the ability
to stand against the injustices to which they were subjected. McMurphy united
these patients. He gave them collective courage and a sense that they could
resist their persecutor. For example, Harding states, "No one's ever dared
to come out and say it before, but there's not a man among us that doesn't think
it. That doesn't feel just as you do about her and the whole business-feel it
somewhere down deep in his scared little soul." Not only did McMurphy unite
his friends, the patients; but he understood the enemy, the staff. He recognized
the ultimate authority and oppressive power of those in charge of the
psychiatric ward. He also knew that to resist them would put himself at great
personnel risk. McMurphy, however, took the risk and defended his fellow
patients. For example, McMurphy says to the black boy who is harassing George,
"I said that's enough buddy." McMurphy knew this confrontation would
have harsh consequences, but he took the chance. In fact McMurphy took one too
many chances. This hero's end comes when he lashes out at nurse Ratched, blaming
her for the death of Billy Bibbit. McMurphy demonstrated his feeling for Billy
by his emotional reaction to his death, "First Charles Cheswick and now
William Bibbit! I hope you're finally satisfied. Playing with human
lives-gambling with human lives-as if you thought yourself to be God!" This
outburst results in McMurphy having a lobotomy and later dying. In conclusion,
Randle McMurphy lost his life courageously defending the other patients.
McMurphy had several chances to save himself, but chose instead to stay and help
his fellow patients. McMurphy is a true hero and his acts of bravery and
selfless behavior prove this.
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