Heroism in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Heroism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Society has a strong influence on the way individuals act and perceive the world. Social norms and expectations change over time but they are always defined by the characteristics that society deems most valuable. Heroes come in many different forms but something about them always sets them apart from society. In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the character Randle McMurphy is portrayed as a hero. McMurphy is both a Byronic and messianic hero and reminds the patients of the ward how to stand up to the rules of society and to think for themselves. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is centered upon the role of the individual in society and the way it attempts to install order. Sometimes the means in which society imposes order compromises the individual’s freedom. The asylum houses patients who have problems functioning within the social norms of society. Randle McMurphy is a convict, accused of statutory rape charges, who feigns mental illness in order to be relieved of his work detail. Once McMurphy is admitted into the asylum he befriends several other patients and becomes a hero figure to them through his rebellion towards Nurse Ratched and her strict order she has instilled into the asylum. He is a very social individual and free spirit who accepts the other patients as inmates. McMurphy is non judgmental and does not make the other patients feel like social outcasts. He is a foil to the character of Nurse Ratched, who tries to create order by playing on the weaknesses of the inmates in an attempt to get them to conform to social norms. Nurse Ratched is symbolic society and the pressures it applies on the individual to fit in. McMurphy’s character, on the other hand, is representative of the idea that we can change the structure of society and change it if we have the courage to. McMurphy challenges the
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