The three Protagonists deal with similar and different conflicts in each story. Both authors have difficult characters to write about, since the characters in the stories have both been or are in jail. One of the characters, McMurphy even was moved to a mental institution, neither author has been sent to jail; and Ken Kesey has not been to a mental institution. The main protagonists in both stories, McMurphy, Chief Bromden and Luke, deal with three main conflicts, man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. society. Though the Protagonists are confined in society they have conflicts with others, but ultimately the true conflict is with one self Both of the protagonists, Luke and McMurphy have to deal with the conflict of man vs. society. Luke is sent to prison because he cuts the heads off of parking meters one drunken night. On the first day, when Luke arrives at the prison, the Captain talks about how he has many different types of prisoners but never has had one that cut off the head of a parking meter.
The only reason why Luke is sent to the prison is because he committed a petty crime of cutting off the heads of parking meters, which society deems as wrong. Luke also battles not just everyday society, but also the prison society. When the “boss” that stays in the room where they sleep tells him that all arguments are to be settled in the yard, as a boxing match; almost immediately he gets into a dispute with dragline. During the boxing match Luke gets beat up, but he keeps on coming at dragline, this earns him the respect in the prison society that he never gave up even though dragline kept on knocking him down he kept on getting back up. McMurphy is also sent to a prison, but for much different reasons, he is later sentenced to the mental institution. McMurphy, Randle Patrick. Committed by the state from the Pendleton Farm for Correction. For diagnosis and possible treatment. Thirty-five years old. Never married. Distinguished Service Cross in Korea, for leading an escape from a Communist prison camp. A dishonorable discharge, afterward, for insubordination. Followed by a history of street brawls and barroom fights and a series of arrests for Drunkenness, Assault and Battery, Disturbing the Peace, repeated gambling, and one arrest-for Rape. (Kesey Page 45). McMurphy has done a lot of hanus crimes, and because of these crimes society has locked him up.
Eventually even in the prison think he is too much and that is why they send him to the mental institution. McMurphy does not have to battle the society of the ward. “You can’t tell if he’s really this friendly or if he’s got some gambler’s reason for trying for trying to get acquainted with guys so far gone they don’t even remember their names” (Kesey Page 22). Right when he enters the dayroom as a new admission he tries to make friends with everyone there, so he really doesn’t have to try to prove himself he is immediately accepted by the Acutes. Both Luke and McMurphy are sent to prison, but McMurphy has done more crimes then Luke. Luke also did a petty crime of just cutting the head off a parking meter whereas McMurphy has had, “a history of street brawls and barroom fights and a series of arrests for Drunkenness, Assault and Battery, Disturbing the Peace, repeated gambling, and one arrest-for Rape” (Kesey Page 45). Another thing is that both battle the society of prison but only McMurphy battles being in a mental institution. Overall both protagonists deal with very similar conflicts of man vs. society, but also have their differences.
The two stories also have another common conflict, man vs. self. Luke has to deal with the reality of his mother’s death well in prison; he receives the news through a letter. What went through Luke’s head was a mystery but whatever it was it made him want to escape the prison. He tries to escape 3 times and during the third time, Dragline joins him; he later gets shot and is taken to the prison hospital instead of the regular hospital which was much closer because it was the Captains decision. In the end it didn’t show whether he lived, but his mother’s death had caused all this. Another thing that Luke had to face was also wanted to be free. Luke is locked up in the prison with a sentence of two years; he is forced to do labour in the heat during the weekdays. Psychologically humans do not like to be confined which Luke is, because of this he also tries to escape because he wants freedom, but fails. Chief Bromden, a protagonist/narrator of the story has to deal with being lost in the fog. “It’s rolling in thicker than I ever seen it before” (Kesey 133). He is in the mental state where he thinks that the ward uses fog machines on the patients, eventually later in the story he is freed from the fog. He is only freed once he became more active in the ward and when he analyzed McMurphy. McMurphy wants to be free from the ward. “It’s interesting to me that you bums didn’t tell me what a risk I was running, twisting her tail that way. Just because I don’t like her ain’t a sign I’m gonna bug her adding an extra year or so to my sentence” (Kesey Page 193). If McMurphy knew that bugging the nurse would extend his sentence he probably wouldn’t have started all this. It really shows that all McMurphy wants to be is a free man. Chief Bromden and Luke deal with very different problems, Chief Bromden deals with being lost in the fog which is his mental problem; Luke on the other hand had to deal with his mother’s death well he was in the prison, so he couldn’t see her. Chief Bromden and Luke also tried to escape, but Chief Bromden actually succeeded from escaping the mental institution. McMurphy and Luke both are or have been in prison but McMurphy was sent to the mental hospital so, they have some minor similarities but have greater differences in the conflict of man vs. self.
Both stories deal with many conflicts between characters. One of the first conflicts in the movie Cool Hand Luke is between Luke and Dragline. It all starts when Dragline will not be quiet about seeing the girl from the work day, Luke tells him to knock it off but Dragline tells him that they will settle the argument Saturday. On Saturday they show the fight scene, during the scene Dragline beats up Luke, but Luke just kept getting up every time Dragline knocked him down. By the end of the fight Dragline just stopped fighting because he was impressed at what Luke did; from then on in Dragline and Luke were buddies. Luke’s conflicts between characters weren’t just with prisoners; they were also with the guards and Captain. Even in the end the Captain didn’t like Luke that much, just because he escaped 3 times; when Luke gets shot, the Captain decides to take the long way back to the prison hospital instead of taking him to the close regular hospital. This really signifies that the captain wanted Luke to die on the way back, it never made it clear at the end if he died or not, but Luke humiliated the Captain by escaping 3 times. McMurphy, early in the book, has a discussion with Harding about who was the craziest. “Then you tell Bull Goose Lonny Harding that R.P. McMurphy is waiting to see him and that this hospital ain’t big enough for the two of use” (Kesey Page 21). Their joking around about who is the craziest but the conflict still is who is the “Bull Goose Looney” in the ward. The major conflicts that the novel is about are the battles with Nurse Ratched. “Bug her till she comes apart at those neat little seams, and show,
just one time, she ain’t as unbeatable as you think” (Kesey 74). McMurphy makes this bet to show the other patients that they can beat her and that she isn’t as perfect as she makes herself to be. Both Luke and McMurphy are similar in that they had a conflict with a fellow prisoner or patient and they became buddies afterwards. Another similarity is that both protagonists won in a way. Luke escaped the prison and later became a legend, and McMurphy proved that Nurse Ratched was beatable, their consequences were severe though, Luke got shot and McMurphy got a lobotomy and died later on. Overall both Protagonists dealt with very similar conflicts with another character.
All three protagonist whether it be Luke, McMurphy or Chief Bromden ,in some cases, dealt with the conflict of man vs. society, and had conflicts with others, but overall it was conflicts also with one’s self. There are similarities with the conflicts of man vs. society but there are also differences. With conflicts of man vs. self the protagonists had some similarities but mainly had differences. Finally with man vs. man they were very similar. Overall the only thing that the protagonist can change, since he can’t change society or change another man, is one’s self and that’s how it always has been. There were differences between man vs. self just because every man is different.