Theme Of Allusion In The Novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Many authors use allusion in an effort to give a deeper meaning to a story by referring to another work, which has a similar theme. It can also be a way to further emphasize the main point and help the reader better understand and think more deeply about what they are reading. Throughout the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, he incorporates many references to the Christian Faith. Although it isn’t direct, his strong use of allusion and symbolism force us to infer. Randle McMurphy, an intelligent and observant asylum patient, makes his way into the Oregon State Hospital. Kesey utilizes the Christian Faith and Jesus Christ through the characterization and development of the main character, Randle McMurphy. This dominant, yet reformative asylum patient comes to the aid of his fellow men in attempt to change the ways of the ward.
The first reference to Christ occurs just before McMurphy arrives. He is ordered to shower and “cleanse” himself before entering the ward, much like Jesus Christ’s baptism and cleanse of his sins. McMurphy arrives at the mental institution, full of laughter, with a rather positive attitude. This attitude was foreign to the other patients because it was the first bit of laughter and positivity they’ve 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.” (Kesey 95). McMurphy is noticeably different than the other patients at the ward. Most of the patients are shielded, trapped from the outside world. He walks in and declares that he is going to be their “leader”, free them from this negative lifestyle, and show them how to have fun. Christ entered the world in a similar way. He was a ...

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...uch like Judas did when he gave Jesus to the Romans for his crucifixion. Billy represents Judas, who betrayed Christ. Billy’s betrayal ultimately led to McMurphy’s death and downfall.
At this point, a lobotomy was ordered to be performed on McMurphy immediately. Before going through with the procedure, McMurphy asks jokingly, “Anointest my head with conductant. Do I get a crown of thorns?” (Kesey 283). It’s obvious that McMurphy is referring to the crown of thorns that Christ wore as he was crucified. The lobotomy, in a way, represents the crucifixion of Christ. Ultimately, both Jesus Christ and McMurphy sacrificed themselves for their people and followers. McMurphy is a Christ figure because, like Jesus Christ, he came into the world and fought for what he believed in, he healed the ill, gained and inspired a large amount of devoted followers, and made a difference.
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