One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest Summary

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One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest is the story of a group of male patients being treated in an Oregon psychiatric hospital. Chief Bromden, the novel’s narrator, begins by describing the place in which they stay. He suffers of paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. His greatest fear is of what he calls the Combine, a huge mass that controls society and forces people into conformity; and pretends to be deaf and mute to protect himself from it. When McMurphy is introduced as new patient on the hospital, he is immediately different from the other patients. The gambles, swears, makes sexual remarks and opposes Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched is the woman in charge of the ward. She has complete control over every aspect of the ward by shaming the patients into submission through the use of electroshocks and sometimes lobotomy.

McMurphy bets with the other that he can make Nurse Ratched lose her temper within a week. Eventually, these confrontations cause him to become the leader for the other patients. He stimulates the rest into rebellion by sitting in front of a blank television protesting the television schedule. Later in the novel, McMurphy realizes he is at Nurse Rathed’s mercy to leave the hospital, or his sentence can be extended indefinitely. He begins to submit to her authority and follow her commands. Cheswick, another patient, is greatly dismayed that McMurphy fails to join him in a stand against Nurse Ratched. He dies by drowning in the pool, possibly a suicide.

Cheswick’s death makes McMurphy realize he has unintentionally become leader for the other patients and it is his responsibility to rehabilitate them. He faces the choice of his own life and the obligation he has towards the other patients. McMurphy organizes a fishing trip with ten other patients. He helps them feel powerful and masculine as they catch big fish without his help. The patients are gaining their individuality which was lost with the torture they receive in the warden. As a...
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