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Life in the ward is quiet until a new patient is admitted. His name is Randall Patrick Mc Murphy and he is a redheaded brute who smells of sweat, work, dirt and dust. He starts in by disrupting everything familiar in the ward, the silence, the admitting showers, and the way the black boys bully the patients around. He quickly makes friends with everyone including the Chronic's who are vegetable like patients. Mc Murphy is a gambling man who insist that he wanted to come to the ward for an easier life than the one he had at work camp where he previously stayed.
One of his first bets with the other patients is to make Ratched lose control of the ward without giving her an excuse to punish him. Mc Murphy leads the patients through numerous confrontations with the staff. He soon learns he can't leave the hospital without Ratched's approval, so he begins to obey her rules. By raising hopes he hasn't fulfilled he leaves the patients worse off than before. One becomes so depressed he drowns himself. Mc Murphy plans a fishing trip for the ward and talks to Chief about it.
The Chief speaks for the first time in years about the Combine: his world of the machines, the government, his own mother, who destroy freedom in favor of machine like conformity. He talks about how the Combine made his father "small" in the mind and how it is making him "small" in the mind as well. Mc Murphy makes another deal with Chief: if Chief can grow strong enough, mentally, to lift the control panel, then Mc Murphy will let him go on the fishing trip for free. On the trip away from Ratched the patients grow stronger and more capable, but the Chief notices Mc Murphy has grown weaker from the hospital. Mc Murphy arranges a date for Billy Bibbit with a prostitute to enable Billy to become a man. When an aide abuses a patient in the shower, Chief and Mc Murphy come to his rescue and guaranteeing themselves a trip for electroshock treatments.
Chief realizes before the treatments that he is strong enough to survive them and does. They all plan an escape for Mc Murphy the night after the prostitute comes for Billy, but Mc Murphy is too weak to escape and is caught. Billy is shamed by Ratched and commits suicide. Mc Murphy makes his last stand against Ratched by exposing her hidden secret, her chest.
For doing so, Mc Murphy is ordered to have a lobotomy and becomes a shadow of what he once was. Chief smothers his friend with a pillow to hide him from the embarrassment and escapes by throwing the control panel out a window. I think this story is a very good one. The character Mc Murphy is very charming, smart, funny and imaginative. He brings the ward and the book to life with his ability to undermine the rules and regulations of the hospital. He brings the patients hope that they may have something to look forward to when they wake-up in the morning.
He does what the other patients want to do, but are too afraid. They know they will get punished if they try, but Mc Murphy has a sly way of doing something without another knowing that what he really is doing is something totally different. For instance, he is singing in the shower, "Oh, your parents don't like me, they say I'm too poo-or; they say I'm not worthy to enter your door. " He does this to one, lift the spirits of the patients, and two, to unravel Ratched without her knowing. Chief is a strong person, but he just doesn't know it yet. Mc Murphy shows him that he is strong. Mc Murphy knows Chief isn't dumb and deaf.
Mc Murphy actually talks to Chief, which no one has done for a long time. By doing this, Chief trusts Mc Murphy more. The Nurse is a very strong woman, but her insecurity cost her dearly. She is both strong and weak. She brings herself up by pushing the patients down. If the patients are down enough they won't notice how bad they are being threatened.
She hires the African American boys to help in the killing of the men's spirits. The electroshock and lobotomies are the machines she uses to kill the spirits. Mc Murphy uses all his inner powers to kill the Nurse's power over the patients. His main power is humor. Humor hasn't been used against Ratched because she doesn't understand it. Mc Murphy gives the patients strength by making them laugh and showing them a good time.
Ratched can't fight against the humor because there really wasn't anything wrong about it. Mc Murphy didn't use force until he and Chief fought against the black boy. When they use some other power than humor Ratched could strike back. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a great story about how one man can change from bad to good and help other people. I highly recommend it to other people.
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Research essay sample on Mc Murphy Fishing Trip