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Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Essay

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Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey's use of symbolism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest transforms the novel and the hospital within the novel a microcosm of society, a battle between the sane and insane, the conformist and the non-conformist. Randle McMurphy's arrival influenced the lives of almost every person, whether patient or employee. Whether or not his motives and actions were moral or good-hearted is difficult to conclude, however. On one hand, he undoubtedly saved the patients from losing their souls, so to speak, to Nurse Ratched and her ward. Without him, they would not have been able to stand up for themselves or grow a sense of self-appreciation and competence. On the other hand, there was a price to
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As more and more newspaper clippings went up describing wrecked boats, McMurphy started to mock these warnings, coaxing more and more patients into going on the trip. Before McMurphy came to the ward, such rebellious trips would never have happened, even if they wanted to go. McMurphy?s initiative and leadership paved the way for so many others.

McMurphy?s death shows the ultimate sacrifice that he is willing in order to make his friends aware of the suffocating environment that they choose to live in. When he fights Washington, the worker that sprayed soap on Sefelt despite knowing that he always refused to bathe with soap, he showed how much he has evolved during his stay in the hospital. No profit awaits him by protecting Sefelt. He also knows that if he does attack him, Nurse Ratched would almost certainly destroy him. He does it simply because he knows that no one else was about to step in and help. McMurphy?s punishment, electroshock treatment, killed the one thing that he was so proud of ? the control he had over himself.

One could argue that McMurphy was a Christ figure, a martyr that died for his followers. There are many references to Christ and the Bible in the novel. He takes twelve people on the trip, reminiscent of the twelve disciples. The table used for the electroshock treatment is built in the shape of the cross,
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