In Ken Kesey's novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the tragic hero of his story enters a psychotic ward and takes pity on the mentally ill patients, who are being terriorized by the tyranical nurse of the ward. The wards of the hospital had been oppressed by Nurse Fletcher until McMurphy is admitted. McMurphy, in his overconfident manner, undermines Nurse Fletcher and she gradually loses her control over the patients. Nurse Fletcher regains her power by destroying McMurphy. McMurphy soon dies after recieveing a lobotomy.
McMurphy sacraficed his relatively safe position in the psychotic ward in order to help heal the patients. McMurphy's fatal mistake came from his overconfidence in his growing power over Nurse Flethcher. The lobotomy Nurse Fletcher ordered on McMurphy destroyed his mind and the confidence the patients had gained from his presence.