as it did in Ken Kesely’s novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest when McMurphy
and Nurse Ratched meet each other.
McMurphy has been after Nurse Ratched’s power right from the beginning.
party”. The Nurse starts it with pointing out something wrong with someone and
they write it down so it can be brought up for “therapeutic reasons”, but when
McMurphy came all that changed. That made the nurse furious, that was her way
of keeping perfect control and power over the patients.
McMurphy had complete power over the patients from when he first came
in. Nobody like him had ever been in the ward before. He came in singing and
room shaking hands, introducing himself to everyone, even the chronics. He
taught the acutes how to play cards and he taught them to gamble. His very first
bet though was that he could get the best of nurse Ratched within the week, and
he did. She wasn’t going to back down though. To try and stop all the gambling
that never stopped them, they used money instead.
was also the one who enabled the patients to use the tub room for card games, and
The tub room is also significant in the power struggle because it was the doctor
who helped McMurphy obtain it. The Dr. was the one who came up with all the
solutions for the problems that the nurse would bring up to try and stop the men
The doctor, the one who is suppose to help the nurse, helped McMurphy in
taking the men on a fishing trip that the nurse clearly didn’t approve of. She did
her best to try and persuade the men to stay. She cut out articles of people dying,
crashing in ship wrecks and how terrible the weather was and put them on the
bulletin board to scare the men so they wouldn’t go. It almost worked.
then McMurphy had two girls that were suppose to come with cars, but only one
showed up. The nurse thought that she had won, and she had, until the doctor
offered his car and services if he could come to even when the nurse told him not
that McMurphy always seems to get something out of doing things for the men.
He got money and most of their cigarettes from gambling, and he was even
making a profit from taking them on the fishing trip. That makes all of them stop
and think. But as Harding says, they don’t mind him getting some money, it is
worth it for them.
But they do mind. Her second moment is when McMurphy realizes that he is one
of the only people committed and he gives up.
through the glass twice, and breaking it again with the basketball. He makes
comments to her about her breasts, and he rips her front open as a final victory
and to show the others her feminine side.
Towards the end though he does things for others instead of himself. He
arranged for Candy to come for Billy, although the consequences weren’t good the
intentions were. He got the Chief to realize that he was a huge man and that he
was capable of doing lots of things, even lifting the control panel. And most
importantly he helps George out in the shower when the black boys were trying to
scrub him down, which leads to severe punishment from Nurse Ratched.
He got the men to stand up for themselves and each other. He got them
doing things they may have never done in their whole life, and they loved him for
that. If it wasn’t for McMurphy I believe that they would have stayed in that
hospital maybe until they died, because all the nurse seemed to do was bring
down their self-esteem, probably to make herself look better and feel better.