Chief Bromden, the narrator in the text byKen Kesey, is being managed at a psychiatric hospital based in Oregon for the past 10 years. He has paranoia which is evident by the incidences of hallucinations. There are also cases where he appears delusional. Bromden has a fear that he refers to as the Combine. This is a conglomeration which controls societal behavior and exerts force on people to conform to certain standards. Moreover, he pretends that he is can neither hear, nor talk. Though tall, he tries not to be noticed.
The people with a mental health condition in the hospital are all male. They are categorized into different groups. The acutes made up of those who can still have hope of being cured. On the other hand, Chronics are impossible to cure. Nurse Ratched observes and controls their movement. She is harsh precise in her approach. During scheduled group meetings, the nurse directs acutes to fight each other and target the most sensitive body parts. If there is a patient with a rebellious attitude, they are sent for electroshock treatments or lobotomy. This these are practices that are no longer used by the medical experts
Randle McMurphy comes from the Pendleton. Bromden sees that he is different. He enters the ward giving an introduction as a gambling man who loves ladies. After McMurphy’s experiences in the first meeting, his description of Nurse Ratched is, ‘ball-cutter.’ On talking to the other patients, the information given to him is that he should never disrespect her as she is a powerful force in their eyes. McMurphy says he can transform Ratched to a temperamental being in a week.
Looking for the Rest of the Plot Overview? It Is Here
The first confrontation between the nurse and McMurphy provided entertainment for the others. However, the tough-headedness from McMurphy soon stimulated the rest to become rebellious. At one time, they decide what television at a time meant for cleaning chores. As a sight of protest, McMurphy watches television which was blank in place of doing work. More patients join the protest. Nurse Ratched shouts at all of them out of frustration. In Bromden’s view, any outsider would take them as all crazy, even Ratched.
McMurphy taunts the Nurse the other staff. Though everyone expects McMurphy to be sent into the ward for the disturbed, he is kept inside the regular place. The point is to make the other patients learn that McMurphy is as fearful as the rest of them. McMurphy later realizes that the patients who are involuntarily committed are held within the hospital for long. It is the staff who determine if one is cured. McMurphy now knows that it is Nurse Ratched that can help him. At that point, he becomes submissive to the nurse’s authority. By then he has assumed a leadership role over the other mental patients unintentionally. These patients become confused when they feel he no longer defends them. Cheswick feels betrayed when McMurphy does not join him to rebel against the nurse. Cheswick tries to commit suicide by jumping into the pool.
The death of Cheswick is a sign to McMurphy of the responsibility he has in the rehabilitation of patients. He then feels the painful reality of therapy through electroshock. McMurphy becomes increasingly afraid of the power the staff has. The obligation and the influence he has on other patients coupled with the fear that his life may be in danger make him weak. McMurphy organizes a trip with 10 other patients from the hospital to go fishing. During the trip, he trains them on skills to deal with the cruelty of the world outside.
After that, McMurphy rebels by beginning a fight involving the aides in defense of George. They are sent to receive electroshock therapy. However, McMurphy pretends the shock treatment does not have any effect on him. This grows his reputation. Nurse Ratched presents him to the others with the objective that they can observe how weakened he is. The patients persuade McMurphy to run away. Since he had arranged Billy’s date, he refuses as he does not want to disappoint Billy. He Mr. Turkle(night aid) and sneaks Candy to the hospital. That night, they hold a celebration. Billy and Candy have sex as McMurphy with the patients smoke and drink. McMurphy falls asleep as he is too tired.
The mess is discovered the next day early morning which leads to violent events. Nurse Ratched threatens to report Candy’s case to Billy’s mother. Because of fear, Billy commits suicide. McMurphy attempts to kill her Ratched. To retaliate, McMurphy is lobotomized. By this time, Ratched no longer has control of the ward. Patients go to other hospitals or check out. Bromden kills McMurphy through suffocation so that he can die while still dignified instead of being a symbol of Ratched’s power. After recovering, Bromden leaves the hospital. That is the end of the synopsis.