One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


Part 1, Second Half

Chief relates his belief that Nurse Ratched changes the settings on the clock in the day room, making the hours move either too fast or too slow. The “fog” that Chief perceives as taking over at times is the only place where he can escape this, because time doesn’t exist within the fog. Chief reflects that “they haven’t really fogged the place full force” since McMurphy arrived; he imagines that McMurphy would make too much of a fuss if they did. Chief observes McMurphy’s cleverness at gambling when playing cards with the other Acutes, noticing how McMurphy wins most of the other men’s cigarettes, but then lets the men win them back. That evening, McMurphy upsets the jittery night nurse by sticking his head into the nurse’s station, and she drops Chief’s sleeping pill. It is the first night in a long time that the Chief isn’t knocked out cold by the medication. McMurphy is in the bed next to Chief’s, and before he goes to sleep, he warns Chief that an orderly is coming to tie him down with the sheet. When Chief hurries to get in bed, McMurphy laughs at this evidence that Chief has heard him. He clearly knows that Chief is not really deaf. Chief has a nightmare about the hospital being a slaughterhouse, and dreams that Old Blastic, one of the Vegetables, is being hung from a meat hook and cut open. Instead of blood, ash and rust flow from his wound. Mr. Turkle, the night orderly who is sometimes kind enough to loosen the sheets that bind Chief to his bed, wakes Chief from his nightmare. Chief then watches as Mr. Turkle and a doctor lift Old Blastic out of his bed and carry him out on a stretcher with a sheet over his face, clearly dead.

In the morning, the sounds of McMurphy singing loudly in the latrine fill the ward. Everyone wonders how he can be so bold and why the orderlies aren’t stopping him. Chief reflects that McMurphy is different from the rest of them, that somehow the Combine has not managed to crush him. When McMurphy asks the orderlies for toothpaste and they refuse on the grounds...

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Essays About One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest