One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


Study Guide
Themes Pt. 1
Themes Pt. 2
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

McMurphy, Randall P. (Mac)--He feigns insanity so as to be sent to an insane asylum rather than the prison work farm. He's lusty and full of energy and wants to pump life into the inmates who have allowed themselves to be emasculated by "The Combine."

Bromden, Chief--An autistic Columbian Indian who narrates the novel. He recognizes in McMurphy the qualities of life and leadership that he once saw in his father.

Bibbit, Billy--A young patient, his mother works at the hospital.

Cheswick, Charlie--A rebel who never quite gets around to doing what he says he's going to do.

Dale Harding--President of the Patient's Council, he has some effeminate mannerisms and worries about his masculinity and sexuality.

Ellis--A formber leader and rebel. Electro-shock has left him a vegetable, nailed permanently to the wall.

Big Nurse--She runs the hospital with cold efficiency. She offers the men order and stability where nurturing and kindness are needed.

Sefelt--An epileptic very concerned about his appearance. If he takes dilantin to control his seizures, his gums weaken and his teeth fall out. If he doesn't, he has more frequent seizures and his teeth fall out.

Fredrickson--Sefelt's friend. Big Nurse insinuates that their beds have drifted too close together some mornings.

Taber--A former rebel, he's been lobotomized and released; a newer and mellower man. An asset to the community, he now does what he's told.

Ruckley--Also a former leader and rebel he's been lobotomized and sits screaming at a picture of his wife.

Scanlon--A paranoid mad bomber.

Martini--He hallucinates seeing people and properties that don't exist.

Bancini--Born with major birth defects he comes to life, when he senses McMurphy's presence, to tell the men that they have a chance and all they have to do is CHOOSE to go for it.

Blastic--A vegetable, he dies during the night and is treated very kindly and gently, now that he's dead.

Dr. Spivey--A shy doctor who is intimidated by Big Nurse.

Washington--Williams-Turkle--The orderlies.

Acutes--------Can be "cured."
Chronics------Considered incurable. (Wheelers & Walkers)
Vegetables----No action from the neck down and not much from the neck up.

Hydrotherapy--A cure? Jets of water shot at a patient to take his mind off his problems.

Electro-shock Therapy--Depressed? Try EST. Hyperactive? Try EST. Doctors don't know how or why it works but it does in many cases. Side effects? A little amnesia but who needs all that memory anyway.

Lobotomy--Rebellious? A danger to society? Cut the nerves going to the frontal lobes of the brain and the patient is no longer violent? Oops! Sometimes they can't even walk.