One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


Part 3

Chief relates that after breaking the window of the Nurse’s Station, McMurphy seems to have come out of retirement. His rebellious behavior returns, although he always speaks to Nurse Ratched in very polite tones. When she refuses his request for an Accompanied Pass off the ward with his friend, a prostitute from Portland named Candy Starr, McMurphy smashes his fist through the replacement glass on the Nurse’s Station, this time claiming that he thought there was nothing in there. Chief can tell that Ratched’s patience is wearing thin. The glass gets broken yet again, this time when Scanlon accidentally hits it with a basketball. Ratched throws the ball away, thus putting an end to the basketball games McMurphy had been coaching. McMurphy applies for another Accompanied Pass, this time saying he has friends at Siuslaw Bay who want to take him and nine of the other patients deep sea fishing. He says they will be accompanied by his “two sweet old aunts.” Thanks to Dr. Spivey, the pass is granted, and McMurphy posts a sign-up sheet to recruit other patients who have ten dollars to chip in for renting a boat. In response, Nurse Ratched starts bringing in articles about boat wrecks and posting them next to the sign-up sheet to scare the patients.

Even though Chief has no money, he keeps getting the urge to sign the list. He doesn’t do it because he knows that doing so will give away the fact that he’s not really deaf, and he’s sure the Big Nurse would “fix” him for good if she knew because of all the things he has heard over the years. Chief realizes that, ironically, he has to keep pretending to be deaf in order to hear anything at all. He recalls that people treated him as if he were deaf and mute long before he started pretending to be, and supposes that’s why he started pretending. He has a sudden, detailed memory of when he was ten years old, and three white government developers came to his adobe house in the village to speak to his father about buying the tribe’s land. They mocked the...

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