befriend and then murder Randle Patrick McMurphy?
First published in 1962, 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'-the book by
Ken Kesey- follows the journey of a man named Randle Patrick McMurphy
through a North American mental institution in the 1960s.
McMurphy is a prisoner who pleaded insanity in order to escape a
lengthy prison sentence for statutory rape-which turns out to have
been with an underage girl;
"Whoa. Couldn't make that stick', McMurphy says to the doctor. 'Girl
'With a child of fifteen.'
'She said she was seventeen Doc, and she was plenty willin."
Introduced from the outset as an outspoken, yet amiable rogue,
McMurphy is cowboy-like in manner and attire;
'He shows up in the door and stops and hitches his thumbs in his
pockets, boots wide apart, and stands there with the guys looking at
'broad across the jaw and shoulders and chest, with a broad white
His arrival on the ward is alarming and exciting to the patients
already there, as McMurphy's loud, outspoken, outgoing personality
clashes with the calm, quiet, subdued atmosphere of their daily lives,
and his presence affects the lives of everyone on the ward, including
Another central character to the book is Head Nurse Ratched. A
formidable character, Ratched is perpetually calm, precise and
organised, and yet she is calculating, manipulative and indirectly
Ratched runs the men's ward like clockwork, using carefully devised
schedules, medications and unspoken threats of punishment, retaining
her power over the patients by using the three unpleasant, angry black
men-known only as 'the black b...
... middle of paper ...
...imation, no personality, in a conscious but vegetate
When Chief Bromden finds out what has been done to McMurphy, and the
state that he will now be in for the rest of his life, he ponders on
what McMurphy would have done in his place.
He decides that death is a more worthy and dignified fate for McMurphy
than the bleak, empty existence that lies ahead of him.
The Chief waits until nightfall, then he picks up a pillow and uses it
to smother McMurphy until he suffocates. He closes McMurphy's glazed
eyes and goes back to bed.
After a short time of reflection, the Chief decides to escape from the
institution- what he had once regarded as his only safe haven, and now
regards as a prison.
The Chief goes to the bathroom and hurls a chrome sink through a
window, climbs out and runs off into the night.
This 'escape' marks the end of the story.
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