, Research Paper
One Flew Over The Cuckoo?s Nest
Randle Patrick McMurphy, the main character in ?One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest?, is the perfect example of a hero. He is committed to a mental institution after faking insanity to get out of a work camp. From the beginning of his presence on the ward, things start to change. He brings in laughter, gambling, profanity and he begins to get the other patients to open up. All of this, however, clashes with the head nurse, Nurse Ratched, who is trying to press conformity and obeying authority. It is then a battle between McMurphy and the nurse, McMurphy trying to set the patients free and the nurse trying to make them ?normal?.
The most obvious hero type of McMurphy is an out-law hero. This is evident in his struggle against the nurse and the combine which represent society. He is an outlaw because he is his own person. He has freedom to act how he wants, think what he wants and be what he wants, and society is out to make him be like everyone else, to conform. At first, McMurphy?s rebellion against authority is just a selfish attempt to make his life on the ward more comfortable. But later on he realizes that the other patients rely on him and need him to help them be free. This is seen in the book when Cheswich drowns himself after McMurphy starts to give in to the nurse. Then, McMurphy sees that he has to be the leader and continue to resist authority. In this way McMurphy is sort of the like Christ, whom he is compared to many times in the book. They are both leaders and they both sacrificed themselves to save their followers.
Another one of McMurphy?s hero types is an anti-hero, which is a hero who lacks some attributes of being a classic hero. A classic hero is a hero with ethics and morals and who respects everyone and everything. This is not who McMurphy is. He swears all the time, he gambles and cheats the other patients out of their money, not to mention the fact that he was accused of statutory rape and put in a prison camp. Even thought he is a criminal, he is always and honest and caring towards the other patients.
He is true to himself and everyone else and he tries to get the other patients to be like that, too. He remains an individual despite the combines consistent attempts to repress him.
McMurphy can also be considered a tragic hero. Although he could almost always take control of a situation and never let the combine get the best of him, he could not always control his temper. It was the one think that could get him in trouble because Nurse Ratched could not punish him with electric shock therapy unless he had an outburst. The best thing that McMurphy could have had in the hospital was patience and a calm temper because the only weapon Nurse Ratched had was to try to frustrate him. Since she has ultimate power on the ward, she could do anything she wants and make any rules. For instance, when the patients wanted to watch the world series and they clearly had a majority, she didn?t let them because she wanted them to know that she has authority and sooner or later they will have to give in and obey her. This really annoyed McMurphy, but by yelling at the blank screen, he turned things around and frustrated her. It was his temper that eventually led to his death. After Billy Bibbit killed himself, McMurphy attacked the nurse and tried to strangle her. This gave her reason to have McMurphy lobotomized which led to Chief Bromben killing him.
In the end, even though Randle Patrick McMurphy dies, he succeeds in his mission of setting the other patients free. Chief Bromden, the narrator, gains his size and confidence and he can face reality without retreating onto his imagination. Also, almost all of the other patients leave the hospital because they no longer need someone to follow. They have learned from McMurphy to live on their own and have rejected the brainwashing of the combine.