Two very different pieces of literature, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are actually quite similar in some respects. Although one story takes place in a mental hospital and the other deals with wizards in an often invisible world, each is a story of heroism and strength. However, the strongest area of similarity rests within the protagonist of each book. Throughout the novels one can see each one of these characters exemplifying qualities and actions which resemble a moral code or standard of ethics that feels vaguely familiar. When these attributes are linked together with clues and actions from the text one can see how Kesey and Rowling both chose to have their protagonists resemble a Christ figure in many more ways than you might have imagined. Both McMurphy and Harry must deal with a number of things which highlight this idea. Just like Christ, each will act selflessly at some point throughout their story. This will be followed or come along with suffering of some kind. Finally, a sacrifice will be made by each character which is sufficient to “settle the score.”
Some would argue that McMurphy is the farthest thing away from a selfless character. He first enters the mental ward to get himself out of work on the work farm. Immediately he wants to talk to the “Bull goose loony” so he can stake is territory and make sure everyone understands he is now in charge. Slowly but surely, McMurphy learns the habits of the patients and plays on their weaknesses often through the game of cards. There is, however, a turning point in McMurphy’s life among the hospital and its inhabitants. When McMurphy learns that he is stuck in the ward until Nurse Ratched will let him leave he tries to calm down a bit resulting in the death of the patient Cheswick (Kesey 166). McMurphy realizes at this moment that he is the patients hope and main source of normalcy. He begins to understand that the patients see him as a role model and, in a sense, their savior. Immediately he begins doing what he can for the patients. He fights for their rights concerning free time, he stands up to Nurse Ratched, and even takes them on a fishing trip (Kesey Part 3). McMurphy decides that helping these people is more important than his own life at the moment and focuses his time and energy into giving them a life.
Harry Potter is much the same in this respect. Throughout the series Harry is seen, by many, as a savior of sorts. He is looked up to as the only person to have lived through the killing curse and is accredited with defeating Lord Voldemort. During his time at Hogwarts, Harry becomes known for his excellent Quidditch skills and ability to perform some difficult and complex spells (Rowling Series). However, he acts selflessly regardless of all the attention. Be it saving a friend from a troll, deciding to fight a Basilik on his own, or risking the Tri Wizard Championship to save someone else, Harry is always doing things which reflect selflessness. The first book to the last book of the Harry Potter series shows Harry constantly risking his life and reputation to ensure the safety and justice of others. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has Harry living in seclusion and putting himself through all sorts of confusion and pain for the benefit of others. While at the Order of the Phoenix’s meeting place or while sleeping in random woods, Harry is always reminded of others sacrifices (Rowling 48). Though McMurphy and Harry are very different when it comes to morals and ideals both have qualities of selflessness that resemble those of a Christ like figure. To further the resemblance of Christ in each of these characters, Kesey and Rowling both allowed their characters to go through some form of suffering, both mentally and physically, for the benefit of others.
Christ’s later life was filled with suffering. Many blatantly rejected him, cursed his name, and tried to imprison him....