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Characters of Randall McMurphy & Andy Dufrane

The central characters in the films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Milos Forman, 1975) and The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1995) become the undisputed leaders of their respective groups, Randall McMurphy of the patients in the mental facility, and Andy Dufrane of the prisoners in the penitentiary. The reasons why each becomes the leader, however, is different, as is the scope of their respective leadership roles. For McMurphy, leadership comes from being the bad boy of the group, the one willing to challenge the power structure directly, while Dufrane becomes a leader because of his innocence and his special expertise as a banker. McMurphy becomes a leader to the patents but remains the enemy of the staff, while Dufrane charms the staff as well by doing their taxes.

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, it is not always apparent where the power may lie in this situation, for the fantasy element of McMurphy's play-acting is so strong it is seductive and lulls the viewer into seeing the film as less grounded in reality than it means to be. As a result, McMurphy's lobotomy becomes all the more shocking as a burst of horrible reality into this otherwise near-comic core. McMurphy seems more the outside hero coming in to entertain the prisoners, in this case the inmates. He is the free spirit who points the way for everyone else, though most are in no position to learn and take advantage of the lesson. Women are presented as cardboard characters, sexual objects or objects of fear. Only the males are fully developed, and it is the sanity and freedom of the males that is the real subject. McMurphy is the free soul who appears ultimately to be bested by the system, though his legend and what he symbolizes survive him and continues to threaten the system, embodying itself in some degree on Chief Bromden. The men are either free souls or bound souls, but they do have souls. Much of the story is concerned thematically wi...

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Characters of Randall McMurphy & Andy Dufrane. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 23:13, April 21, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1689618.html