McMurphy as a Modern Day Savior Analytical Essay by Nicky

McMurphy as a Modern Day Savior
An analysis of McMurphy as a Christ-like figure in Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".
# 147001 | 1,850 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Feb 01, 2011 in Literature (American)

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The paper describes how the characters of Ratched and McMurphy, from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next", become opposites struggling for the human soul, with Ratched symbolizing the horrid, overbearing nature of establishment and order and McMurphy symbolizing the carefree human spirit that yearns to be free. The paper closely examines how McMurphy's Christ-like role evolves until he becomes a modern-day savior for the men at the institution.

From the Paper:

"Establishment loves order and structure and is convinced that society runs the smoothest when it adheres to a set of rules and values that represent the good of all. History demonstrates that when individuals attempt to disrupt the order of the establishment, things do not always resolve themselves in an efficient manner. The best example of this is Jesus of Nazareth, a man murdered for nothing more than the impact he had on those around him. This impact went two ways - in one way, he influenced his followers in a positive way and encouraged them to live better lives outside of the establishment. The other impact was the negative reaction of the establishment, which perceived him as a threat and determined that he had to go. In Ken Kesey's novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, we see a modern-day interpretation of the Christ-like figure in McMurphy that makes the ultimate sacrifice for the enlightenment of others. McMurphy, like Christ, is clearly set apart from others in his community. His difference, however, is what makes him appealing and, as his character develops, we come to understand his significance to the survival of the others. He gives the men an opportunity to break out of the shackles that the establishment has placed on them. In the end, he gives his life so that they may be free. Because of its antiestablishment theme of the novel, McMurphy emerges as the messiah for the other men in the institution."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baurecht, William. "Separation, Initiation, and Return: Schizophrenic Episode in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" The Midwest Quarterly. 1982. GALE Resource Database. Information Retrieved December 12, 2008. <>
  • Fick, Thomas. "The Hipster, the Hero, and the Psychic Frontier in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature. 1989. pp. 19-34. JSTOR Resource Database. Information Retrieved December 12, 2008. <>
  • Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. New York: Signet Books. 1962.
  • Spiller, Robert. Literary History of the United States. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1974.
  • Knapp, James. "Tangled in the language of the Past: Ken Kesey and Cultural Revolution." The Midwest Quarterly. 1978. GALE. Information Retrieved December 12, 2008. <>

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

McMurphy as a Modern Day Savior (2011, February 01) Retrieved August 21, 2019, from

MLA Format

"McMurphy as a Modern Day Savior" 01 February 2011. Web. 21 August. 2019. <>