One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Hero

948 Words4 Pages
The Hero Within Many American writers utilize the archetype of the hero within their literature. For the most part, typical fictional novels are based around a heroic protagonist that is able to overcome some type of hardship or exhibit adversity. It is often difficult to distinguish the veritable hero from the assumed hero. Ken Kesey plays around with the classic characterization of a hero in his novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Nurse Ratched, the authoritative figure who controls the ward, is believed to be providing help for mentally ill men. The tension begins when Randal P. McMurphy, a wrongly committed mental patient with a lust for life, is placed in a mental hospital in Oregon to avoid the physical labor of a prison farm. Immediately his presence begins to alter the environment of the mental ward. He brings with him amusement, disorder, and rebellion as he begins his quest to become the “Bull Goose Looney”. This then develops into a complicated battle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched; McMurphy fighting for individual freedom, and the nurse fighting for confinement. Randal P. McMurphy unmistakably develops into the hero of the story and even abides by the heroic archetype. 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. At the beginning of the story, McMurphy clearly is out of place. At first, McMurphy's rebellion against authority is just a selfish attempt to make his life on the ward more comfortable. Earlier in the book, McMurphy makes a bet with the other patients that he can break the nurse. This bet initially starts out as a way for McMurphy to earn a few bucks. Since McMurphy is a con man and not a mentally ill person, he has freedom to act how he wants, think what he wants, and be what he wants. He constantly irritates

More about One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Hero

Open Document