Ken Kesey shows through his character R. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that the Spirit of Christ is present in even the least expected of all people. McMurphy is a symbol for Christ as he tries to free the patients of the combine from Big Nurse's control. McMurphy strives for justice for his fellow patients through his Christ-like actions, and even in death.
Similar to Jesus, McMurphy treats the patients of the ward equally. As soon as he entered the ward, McMurphy takes it upon himself to shake hands with and meet every single person there. Not to discriminate against anyone, "he shakes the hands of the Wheelers and the Walkers and Vegetables, shakes hands that he has to pick up out of laps like picking up dead birds"(Kesey, 25). Big Nurse has spent her whole life molding the ward into her own perfection that is at the expense of the patients, where she abuses her power to hold complete control over each person that belittles them and strikes fear into their eyes. In biblical scriptures it is shown how Jesus never held himself above others. Contrary to Big Nurse, McMurphy displays this Christ-like attribute throughout the novel. McMurphy is able to lighten the whole mood of the ward, where he is found frequently reminiscing and mingling with his new found friends: playing cards, joking with the patients, and sharing past stories with them. McMurphy challenges Big Nurse and her "black boys" to make the patients feel comfortable and accepted. On page 23 of One Flew Over .
The Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden observes "the (patients) are grinning now, not so uneasy anymore, and glad that something out of the ordinary's going on." McMurphy lifts the spirits of the combine; previously a depressing atmosphere but now a lively residence. Right from the beginning McMurphy challenged Big Nurse's methods. While he was being given his medication, he asked what he was being given instead of simply doing as he was told.