One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Ken Kesey
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Character Analysis
Randle P. McMurphy

A gambling Irishman and con artist. He is goodlooking, charming, shrewd, tough, and freewheeling. He is tired of weeding peas at the Pendleton Prison Farm; therefore, he feigns insanity and is committed to a mental hospital. He admits that one of the reasons for getting himself committed is to find new people to con in order to make money. At the hospital, he becomes a leader of the patients and a thorn in the side of Nurse Ratched. In the end, she has him lobotomized in order to control him. He dies a martyr when the Chief kills him to spare him from living such a shell of an existence.

Chief Bromden

The narrator of the novel. He is a Colombian Indian, born of a White mother and an Indian father. He was the first patient in the ward, who arrived at the hospital nearly fifteen years earlier. He is a chronic paranoid schizophrenic, diagnosed as incurable and afraid of even his own shadow. Although he is six feet and seven inches tall, he imagines himself to be small and weak; he also pretends to be deaf and mute. In the end he mercifully kills McMurphy and escapes from the hospital.

Nurse Ratched

The Big Nurse, who is in charge of the patients on McMurphy's ward . She has, at her service, three well-trained black orderlies, who are at her beck and call. Being a former army nurse, she is very domineering. Although she turns the patients against each other, she succeeds in having the authorities on her side. When she cannot control McMurphy, she has him lobotomized.

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