Lost in Yonkers and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Critical Lens

The Unintentionally Hero Umberto Eco once wrote, “A real hero is always a hero by mistake… ” This quotation means that when a person doesn’t intentionally try to be a hero, but results in being the hero, is a true hero. I agree with this quotation, as it holds true in life and in literature. Both Lost In Yonkers by Neil Simon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, support that heros are those who act bravely upon themselves and not those who act the way to become the hero. Lost In Yonkers is a story about a father, Eddie, who has to leave his two sons with his mother for care.
He has to leave because he borrowed a mass amount of money from a loan shark to pay for his wife’s medical bills. Eddie tells his boys, “The doctors, the hospital, cost me everything I had… And everything I didn’t have… And finally it cost me everything i was going to have… I was broke and I went into debt… Into hock… Only I didn’t have anything left to hock… So i went to a man… A shylock, they call him… A loan shark. ” A loan shark is a person who specializes in marking loads to desperate people.
Eddie couldn’t have gone to the bank because the bank would of refused or asked for interest or for collateral, all of which Eddie can’t afford. A shylock doesn’t need collateral. His collateral is your desperation. When Eddie got the money form the Shylock, a clock starts. When the clock is up, the Shylock expects his money and if the money isn’t there, lives will be taken instead. The only way for him to pay back the Shylock was to take a job selling scrap iron; however, the job requires a lot of traveling. The only way for him to take the job was to leave his sons.

It is revealed in the dialogue the misery he feels. He loves his sons tremendously and feels awful that he has to leave them for nine months. He says, “I’m not asking for myself. I’m asking for my boys. For my boys, I’ll be obligates,” to Jay and Arty. In this dialogue passage, he shows that for his boys, he’ll do anything. Eddie is being a true hero by stepping up to the plate and taking action for his early acts. He goes into deep debt by trying to save his wife, and now he has to risk his life to save his boys. He might not realize that he is a hero, but his actions justify the means.
In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a man named Randle McMurphy becomes another victim in the mental ward under the control of Nurse Ratched, or also known as the Big Nurse by the other mental patients. Randle comes into the hospital ready to rebel and start a riot. At their daily group therapy session, Randle asks Nurse Ratched, “… remember that vote we had a day or so back–about TV time? Well, today’s Friday and I thought I might just bring it up again, just to see if anybody else has picked up a little guts. ” The vote was regarding about the patients and how they wanted to watch the World Series during TV time.
The conflict is, Nurse Ratched doesn’t want the patients to have control. She likes to be in control. Once again, she wins the vote. At the climax of the first half of the book, Nurse Ratched lose her temper. Randle looks at the time and he realizes it’s time for the game. He “drags his armchair out to in front of the TV set, then switches on the set and sits down,” even though he lost the vote. The Big Nurse looks at Randle and then goes to the control room and flips a switch which causes the TV picture to swirl back into the gray.
Even though this all happened, Randle is stilly sitting there. Nurse Ratched goes up to him and says, “I said, Mr. McMurphy, that you are supposed to be working during these hours,” in a tight voice. This is where she loses her temper. As she is warning Randle, other patients of the mental ward goes to grab a chair and pulls in next to Randle. Her last words were, “You men-Stop this. STOP! ” before she was just like the rest of them, crazy. By hitting this climactical point, it shows that Randle McMurphy can really do anything he wishes.
These two scenes where he stood up for what he wanted and what the other patients wanted showed that he is a hero. It may not be the genetically typically hero from some TV show, but a hero indeed. He fought for him and the other victims to be able to watch the World Series on TV but to be shut down by Nurse Ratched. Normally, no patient would even dare to suggest or question the Big Nurse. Randel stood up and stepped up. Also, when he dragged the chair in front of the TV, it showed he was not ready to be defeated so easily.
He didn’t do these things to be a hero, but he did those things because he believe it was the right thing to do. What you see is what you get–we see Randle being a leader and brave and that is what we get. “A real hero is always a hero by mistake… ” means that people who unintentionally become the hero in the end are the true heros rather than those who try to become the heros with their actions. I agree much with this quotation for it holds true in life and literature. Eddie was a true hero in Lost In Yonkers and Randle was a true hero in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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