April 4th, 2011
McMurphy as a Christ Figure
Christ comes from the name Yahweh which means God’s salvation and rescuer. Ken Kesey creates a character in his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, that represents a figure like Christ that rescues and saves the patients at the ward. Randall Patrick McMurphy, the protagonist in the novel, takes on the role as the rescuer and saver. The novel mirrors Christ’s life through McMurphy’s life at the ward. There are four main events in the novel that allude to the story of Christ: the arrival of McMurphy, the fishing trip, McMurphy’s electroshock therapy, and McMurphy’s death. Christ saved us from sin by dying on the cross whereas McMurphy died to save the patients from Nurse Ratched and the institution.
McMurphy arrives at the mental institution with vivacity and happiness. He enters the ward by being boisterous and full of laughter. His laughter is noticed by all the patients because it is the first laughter they have heard in years. Chief Bromden recalls that his relatives used to mock the government officials by laughing and comments “I forget sometimes what laughter can do,” (pg 95). McMurphy is noticeably different than the other patients at the ward. Most of the patients are languid and shielded from the outside world. He walks in and declares that he is going to be their leader and show them how to have fun. Christ entered the world in a similar way. He was a man who was visibly different than the other Jews and he wanted to show others his Father’s teachings. He was full of life and wanted people to achieve inner peace. The Gospels preach that the way to find inner peace is through laughter. Christ wanted to be a model and leader for his disciples just as McMurphy wants to be a model and leader for the other patients.
As McMurphy settles in and realizes that many of the men’s sickness are their lack of confidence, he makes it his duty to inspire confidence in all of them. To help...