In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, each man possessed different qualities. For instance, Billy Bibbit had a coward-like way about him; especially when he is caught by Nurse Ratched with Candy and turns in his friends when she mentions telling his mommy about his incident. Also, I think that it is cowardly of him to commit suicide because he does it to escape the pain and consequences he has to face.
Like Billy, I think that many of the characters were cowardly. Similar to Billy was Harding. In the beginning of the book, Harding is all bark and no bite especially when he’s around McMurphy. Also, his rudeness toward his wife when she visits him is seen as cowardly for treating her so badly. Towards the end of the book though, he develops into a real man. He takes charge after the night with the girls and leaves the ward by choice after McMurphy is taken away. He achieved his goal of being picked up by his wife and returning to his normal life on the outside.
Also, Nurse Ratched is very cowardly. As a nurse of the asylum, she should be fully engaging in helping her patients with good therapy. Instead, she’s taken over by her hunger for power and control and doesn’t care enough about her patients to treat them with respect and give them the help that they need. I also think it’s cowardly of her to be participating in a “competition” with McMurphy in trying to be top dog. She is a nurse and she should act as so, not as a needy little girl who blows her top every time McMurphy says a word to her.
On the contrary, I have great respect for R.P. McMurphy. I admire his spirit and his motivation to never give up. He came into the ward with great pride and didn’t let anyone take it from him. Even though he ends up practically as a vegetable at the end of the book, he knew what was going to happen and walked through it with his head held high. I also think highly of his work that he did on the patients of the ward. He took them out of their vulnerable state and made them REAL men. He gave them reason: reason to believe, reason to desire, and reason to live. Most importantly though, he stored their hope: hope in themselves, hope for a better life, and hope in humanity. He was a father to the fatherless, a hero to the broken, and a savior to the dying. McMurphy was Jesus to them. He crashed into their lives and made them men. He was turned over to the nurse in the end and was in a state of vulnerability but Chief carried on his mission and gained a better life because of the sacrifices that McMurphy made. He put his life on the line so that the patients could have a better life, experience something greater. Without people like McMurphy in the world, hope would be nonexistent and Nurse Ratched’s would continue to rule.