Theme Of Self Sacrifice In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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In Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he explores the topic of how an individual's ability for self-sacrifice will be portrayed when presented with a compelling circumstance. One character he focuses this main idea upon is Randle Patrick McMurphy. McMurphy demonstrates multiple acts of self-sacrifice when he is presented with something he would prefer rather than what he is given. One with a high capacity for self-sacrifice will tend to be deceived when faced with compelling circumstances and their consequences.

During the first couple of weeks that McMurphy is at the institute, he is deceived by the compelling luxury of the hospital that made him request to transfer there to complete his sentence, instead of completing it at a
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Obviously McMurphy is seen to be a sturdy leader by the Acutes, strong enough to stand up to Nurse Ratched and her ward policies. However, he cannot continue to embrace this reputation if he wishes to influence the nurse. When he first steps back from the group meeting, observing instead of participating in it, “he surprised everybody on the ward, [...] Surprised everyone but the Big Nurse” (p. 172) This implies that the patients are shocked to see a resilient man belittle himself as the image the nurse wants. Though they begin to see what exactly he is intending, attempting to lift his commitment. However, the patients cannot help but to see that he is becoming how they once were before he showed up, “After [McMurphy] doesn’t stand up for [them] any longer” (p. 173) The suggestion here shows how much the patients on the ward relied on McMurphy and respected him for standing up to the authorities. However, little does McMurphy know, it takes a greater toll on some of the patients. After McMurphy does not support Cheswick when he finally stands up to the Big Nurse, Cheswick gets sent up to Disturbed for acting unreasonable. However, later tells McMurphy that, “he could understand how [McMurphy] acted” (p. 174) This implies how he and the other patients understand what McMurphy is trying to do to get out of the institute. Unfortunately, right …show more content…
Insistently, Harding attempts to get McMurphy to escape like they had planned the night before through the unlocked window, knowing he will get the worst punishment out of all the patients thus from the previous night. However, McMurphy says that “[he] couldn’t get his head through that window, let alone [his] whole body,” (p. 312) This detail suggests that McMurphy could have left the institute if he aspired to escape, however after getting caught he does not want to leave the other patients alone with the consequences while he avoided them. It is demonstrated that McMurphy has created such a close bond to the patients when Bromden says even if he had escaped, McMurphy, “Would have had to come back” (p.310) This implies that even though McMurphy would have been gone, he would return to the hospital to get back at the nurse for punishing the patients for their night of rowdiness. However, since McMurphy is liable for doing things such as drinking and smuggling in women in the ward, he believes “[he] took their best punch.” (p. 312) The suggestion here is that even though McMurphy got caught, he believes that nothing else could bother him and he could continue to stay in the hospital and with the patients to

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