Essay on Christ Figures: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

610 WordsSep 8, 20083 Pages
The Christ figure is a recurring symbol in American literature. Throughout Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, various interactions and events portray McMurphy as a Christ figure. There are frequent visual and concrete references to Christ throughout the novel. Also, the reader discovers that the other patients view McMurphy as an inspiration and someone they wish to emulate. This cooperation enables him to oppose Nurse Ratched and do what he thinks is best for the patients. Visual and concrete references strengthen Christ imagery in Kesey’s novel. For example, on the fishing trip, he goes with twelve other patients, an obvious reference to Jesus and the twelve disciples. In addition, there is some degree of betrayal of…show more content…
Although the nurse has seemingly won because the patients were not able to achieve their primary goal, in reality, their real victory is their combined resistance against Nurse Ratched. The adventure on the fishing boat also exhibits how the patients aid McMurphy in his rebellion. Though he charges them for their endeavor, they once again decide to accompany him and go against the institution, further implying their admiration for him and his cause. Even though McMurphy knows that the nurse will likely punish the twelve other patients severely for lying and leaving the ward with a prostitute under false pretenses, he does so anyway, showing that he will risk great punishment to help his “disciples.” Finally, the patients support the party that McMurphy has in the ward with alcohol and the two prostitutes. The main reason behind this event was to ensure that Billy Bibbit, one of the patients on the ward who lacked self-confidence, got to have a date with Candy, one of the prostitutes whom Billy liked. This event is another example of how McMurphy would risk trouble for himself for the betterment of others and how they supported him in his actions. Thus, Kesey’s imagery, McMurphy’s charisma, and his attitude to help the patients at all costs strengthen McMurphy’s role as a savior. Just as Christ before him, he sacrifices himself for the betterment of mankind. The story of McMurphy shows how much of an impact an
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