Bible and Literature - Ken Kesey.odt

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17 Apr 2012
March 19, 2012
Bible and Literature II
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
you never can tell when just that certain one might come in who’s free
enough to foul things up right and left, really make a hell of a mess and
constitute a threat to the whole smoothness of the outfit.”
The Gospel According to Chief Broom: Jesus as Saviour from the “Combine”
Most unusual Jesus: petty-criminal, braggart, trouble-maker, con-man, womanizer, violent,
attention seeking, and disruptive
Decides that it's much better to be in a mental hospital than in prison
Parallels to Gospels unmistakable.
Crucifixion / Shock
Categorized as chronic = given so much shock therapy = nailed against the wall
“Nailed against the wall in the same condition they lifted him off the [shock shop] table for
the last time, in the same shape, arms out, palms cupped”
“the nails pull his hand back to the wall” – “goes back to your place on the wall, hands up to
receive the nails” (33)
Harding “You are strapped to a table, shaped, ironically, like a cross, with a crown of electric
sparks in place of thorns”(69).
“Anointest my head with conductant. Do I get a crown of thorns?” (283)
Chief Broom:
“the table shaped like a cross, with shadows of a thousand murdered men printed on it,
silhouette wrists and ankles running under leather straps sweated green with use, a silhouette
neck and head running up to a silver band goes across the forehead”
Not only is McMurphya type of Jesus, but Chief is also a type of gospel writer = telling the story of
“As McMurphy led the twelve of us to the ocean” 239
Disciple Billy is the Judas figure, as he betrays McMurphy to Ratched
McMurphy could escape but chooses to give up his life in the end
Differences between McMurphy and Jesus
Jesus asks people to lose themselves in order to find themselves, but McMurphy wants them to
find themselves to become who they are = Indulge not deny
Almost the opposite of Jesus' msg
Kesey's villains are all females = very masculine ideal
There are shadows of racism
Glorification of violence
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