One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Part II Summary

     Chief Bromden is cleaning the staff room during one of their meetings, and overhears discussion following the World Series uprising led by McMurphy. Various doctors and nurses discuss whether McMurphy is a disruption or perhaps even a dangerous influence over the other patients, and try to determine if he if afflicted by a mental illness or if he is a violent con man who would rather be in a hospital than prison. Despite the doctors' opinions that McMurphy should be sent to the Disturbed ward, Nurse Ratched says that labelling McMurphy 'Disturbed' gives him too much power, and that, given enough time on the ward, McMurphy will lose his hero status among the other patients, and the damage he has done to their ward will be undone.

     The patients continue to sit in front of the TV each day at the time when the World Series game is on, despite the fact that the power to the TV is shut off.

     Chief Bromden notices that since the arrival of McMurphy, the fog that often overtakes him is beginning to dissipate, representing a change in the way he sees himself and the rest of the world. Bolstered by McMurphy's presence, the other patients start asking for more privileges and changes during their group meetings, like being able to have time alone in the dormitory on weekends, or having access to their cigarettes, which Nurse Ratched is rationing to prevent them from gambling with.

     During a trip to the pool, Chief Bromden overhears McMurphy talking to a Disturbed patient who also acts as the pool lifeguard. McMurphy tells the man that the hospital is far superior to jail, but the patient brings up the fact that jail is for a set period of time, where commitment to the hospital can last indefinitely, as he has been committed for more than eight years.

     After this interaction, McMurphy realizes his only hope of being released is to behave, and he begins performing his cleaning duties obediently. During a group meeting, Cheswick takes an impassioned stance about the cigarette rationing, and McMurphy gives no kind of defense or argument. The outburst eventually leads to Cheswick being taken away to the Disturbed ward.. The Acutes believe that McMurphy is acting on a plan to outsmart Nurse Ratched, but Chief Bromden realizes that after McMurphy's conversation with the lifeguard, he is beginning to look out for himself in the hopes of being released sooner.

     On the day that Cheswick is released from the Disturbed ward, he tells McMurphy he understands why he didn't stick up for him, but wishes that something could be done. On another trip to the pool Cheswick dives into the water, and gets his fingers stuck in the grate, drowning before anyone can pry him loose.

     The patients are all waiting to have chest X-rays, sitting in the hallway outside of the electroshock therapy room. Harding explains to McMurphy that some men coming out of an epileptic convulsion are noted to be calmer, and the electro shock therapy induces a seizure in the hopes of obtaining a similar outcome. Harding also explains that some patients also undergo frontal lobotomy, but these treatments are only used in extreme cases.

     McMurphy is coming to grips with the reality of the situation in the hospital, and tells Harding he's realized the other patients are using him to defy Nurse Ratched so that they themselves aren't in danger of being committed longer than necessary. Harding then informs McMurphy that almost all of the Acutes are at the hospital voluntarily, and besides the Chronics McMurphy is one of the only committed men. This fact infuriates McMurphy, and it seems that the more he learns about the hospital, the harder it is for him to understand.

     That day at group meeting, Nurse Ratched informs the men that as punishment for their disobedience while pretending to watch the World Series, she has decided to revoke their use of the tub room to play games in. None of the patients argue with Nurse Ratched, and just as she is concluding the meeting McMurphy walks up to the Nurse's station, announcing he'd like one of his cigarettes, and puts his hand straight through the glass window, showering Nurse Ratched with glass. McMurphy insists the glass was so clean he forgot it was there, and lights his cigarette.

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