Mc Murphy- Charismatic Rebel Leader
Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an analysis of the anti-cultural movement of the 1960s. Kesey’s reflection on the spirit of the 1960s is embodied in his main character, Mc Murphy. He illustrates the author’s commentary on the 1960s in three ways: he exemplifies the Hippie movement, he leads other by example, and he persuades others to follow him through his charismatic behavior. Some brief plot summary is necessary before discussing Mc Murphy’s character as a charismatic rebel leader. Mc Murphy chooses to live in a mental health institution despite the absence of mental illness. He finds other men in the same situation. These institutionalized men are called “acutes”. These men are felt to be hiding from society. They are contrasted to the “chronics”, men on the ward who have suffered lobotomies or who are not socially functional. An important scene that will be referenced is the watching of the World Series game. During one of the group meetings, Mc Murphy requested a change the daily schedule so the patients can watch the Series. The nurse agrees to a vote and only four out of ten of the acutes participate. In anger and frustration at this refusal to stand up to the nurse, Mc Murphy bets everyone he can lift an old hydrotherapy control panel. Everyone bets against him, and rightly so because he cannot lift the panel. Yet he states that he at least he tried. Later in another group meeting, Mc Murphy asks for a revote to which the Nurse agrees. The vote, being ten to zero, only counted the acutes. The Nurse states it was not a majority vote because the chronics were not included. This does not stop Mc Murphy. He goes to the TV, stands in front of the blank screen, and begins to call the game as if it were on television. The men then leave their jobs to watch the game. In another group meeting, Cheswick, an acute demands the end of the cigarette enforced by the Nurse because the men were gambling them...
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