Mcmurphy And Christ: Significance Of Parallels

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A Most Unexpected Likeness: the Surprising Parallels Between McMurphy and Christ, and Their Significance Many recent surveys have found that there are over a billion Christians on the planet today. With such a large populace of people believing in Jesus Christ, and arguably many more people that are, in varying degrees, aware of who he was and what he stood for, it comes to no surprise that Ken Kesey inserts a fair amount of religious symbolism in his written work One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Some may argue that Kesey had chosen to include religious symbols in his novel solely for personal gratification and reflection – of his feelings and experiences with Christ. However, it is obvious that the symbols have literary merit, and that their presence allows many people to connect with the novel at a more profound level. It becomes clear that the parallel between McMurphy and Christ adds deeper meaning to the novel after the resemblance in the events of each of their lives are identified, the similarities between McMurphy’s and Christ’s character are analyzed, and the effect these connections have on effectively communicating the themes are understood. Even for an individual not entirely familiar with Christianity, after reading the Cuckoo’s Nest, it is simple to see that there are definitely religious icons intertwined throughout the novel. There is no question that when McMurphy takes the patients on the fishing trip this is an allusion to Christ. Chief Bromden narrates that “McMurphy led the twelve of us towards the ocean” (Kesey 239). This event brings to mind Christ and his twelve apostles in the Bible. Even more significant is the fact that they are fishing, since Christ constantly commanded his followers, metaphorically, to be fishers of men. Another observable reference to Christ occurs when McMurphy is administered the ESP treatment. His body is

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