One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Part IV Summary

     The day after the fishing trip, Nurse Ratched arranges for McMurphy to be away for the group meeting, so that she can ask the rest of the Acutes questions about McMurphy's motives. She implies that he is taking advantage of them, and brings up the about the amount of money they have all lost to him gambling, and the additional money he has made by charging each of them to rent the fishing boat.

     Later that day, a group of Acutes discuss what Nurse Ratched said. Harding agrees with the Nurse that McMurphy is motivated by money and self-interest, but says that McMurphy has never made any pretense about his motives, and neither should they. Billy becomes defensive about McMurphy, as he and Chief Bromden still view McMurphy as a hero figure.

     McMurphy asks Chief Bromden to see if he's getting big enough to lift the control panel in the tub room, and when the Chief tries he's able to shift it half a foot from its moorings. Later that day the Chief overhears McMurphy making bets with the other patients that no man alive could lift the control panel, causing the Chief to question whether McMurphy really does do everything for money. The next day, the Chief lifts the panel as he promised, and becomes angry with McMurphy after he's collected all the bet money.

     The patients who went on the fishing trip are then forced to take a special shower because of diseases they may have encountered at sea or from Candy. Lined up naked in the shower, the men have a salve administered to them. When it gets to be George's turn, his obsession with cleanliness causes him to panic and resist having this foreign substance forced on him. Washington forces the salve all over George, causing McMurphy to hurl racial epithets at Washington, and demand that he stop. Washington and McMurphy begin to fight, and when McMurphy has Washington bested, Warren steps in to grab McMurphy, which causes Chief Bromden to join in the fight, easily overpowering Warren.

     After the fight, McMurphy and the Chief are sent to the Disturbed ward. The next morning, Nurse Ratched comes in with Washington and Warren, who are in casts and bandages, and informs them that their group decided shock treatment would be beneficial unless he admits he has been wrong. Neither man will apologize, and so they receive electro shock without having taken any sedatives beforehand. When Chief Bromden wakes up after electroshock, he realizes that he is lucid and regaining his power.

     While on the Disturbed ward, McMurphy continues to receive shock treatments after he repeatedly refusing to bend to Nurse Ratched's will. After a week, Chief Bromden is released, and the Acutes are eager to hear about McMurphy, whose legend has only grown.

     McMurphy returns from the Disturbed ward on the day of Candy's date with Billy, and they prepare for her arrival by making a deal with Mr. Turkle, the overnight aide. Many of the Acutes stay up waiting to see if Candy comes, and she eventually arrives with Sandy in tow. Mr. Turkle lets the women in through a window, and they all get drunk on a mixture of wine, liquor, and cough syrup. Eventually, Billy and Candy go off to the seclusion room together, and the rest of the men go to bed while the Chief, McMurphy, Harding, and Mr. Turkle decide what to do next. They hatch a plan to pretend McMurphy tied up Turkle, stole his keys, and made a mess around the ward before finally escaping. Everyone agrees to the plan, but they decide to get an hour of sleep before McMurphy leaves with Candy and Sandy.

     At 6:30 AM, the staff arrive to find the ward in shambles, and McMurphy still in his bed with Sandy. There is chaos and confusion as the staff discover evidence of the evening's misadventures. When Turkle is discovered asleep in the linen closet, he leaves out the window with Sandy. McMurphy isn't worried about not escaping, and when Harding urges him to do it while he still can, he says he's still too drunk to do anything.

     The staff realize that Billy is unaccounted for, Nurse Ratched demands the men tell her where he is, but they only respond with laughter. They find Billy in the seclusion room with Candy, and Billy is unfazed by Nurse Ratched's disapproval until she asks what his mother will think. Billy begs Nurse Ratched not to tell his mother, his stuttering making him almost incoherent. Desperate, Billy claims that the other men teased him and made him have sex with Candy, at which point she softens to Billy, and asks him to go and wait in the doctor's office.

     When the doctor arrives and goes to check on Billy to find him dead after cutting his own throat. Nurse Ratched angrily accuses McMurphy of being responsible for Billy's suicide in addition to the that of Cheswick. Once she has gone back into the nurses' station, McMurphy smashes the glass, tears her uniform off of her, exposing her breasts, and proceeds to choke her until he is eventually pried off by all of the doctors and supervisors and nurses.

     In the following weeks, many of the Acutes either sign themselves out of the hospital or transfer to another ward. Nurse Ratched returns from her medical leave with a bandaged throat, bruised face, and unable to speak. When the patients ask her what has happened to McMurphy, she simply informs them that he will be back.

     Three weeks after Billy's suicide, McMurphy is wheeled into the ward on a gurney, with a chart that says he is post-operative from a lobotomy. The Chief, Scanlon and Martini - the remaining members from the fishing expedition - don't believe that the blank faced man lying there is McMurphy. As the hours pass and the swelling subsides, Chief Bromden realizes this is in fact McMurphy.

     That night, with the lobotomized McMurphy lies in bed, eyes open, in his old bed. Chief Bromden places a pillow over Mack's face, and lies on top of him while he thrashes, until he's sure Mack is dead. Scanlon, awake and aware of what the Chief has done, urges him to escape while he can.

     Chief Bromden goes to the tub room, lifts the control panel, and uses it to smash through the window, and runs off into the night.

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