The novel written by Ken Kesey revolves around the theme of psychological aspects among many patients who are categorized in two categories namely: The Acutes and The Chronics. Acutes have shown minor symptom and are considered curable but chronics are suffering from severe symptoms and are likely to stay for more time as they are thought to be incurable. Surprisingly, the narrator of the novel himself has been a patient of psychological anomalies and has received treatment for over ten years. His disease caused him serious hallucinations and delusions.
The ward is run under a former army employee, nurse Ratchet who seems to be in an army frame of mind all the times as she runs the ward in a typical military manner. She was like a dictator who had developed a genuine fear among all patients. While this was going on, a new patient was admitted in the hospital by the name McMurphy. Upon his arrival, McMurphy challenges all the patients as well as the chief Bromden that he can grasp her as easily as the ball cutter within a matter of days.
The challenge seemed interesting by everyone took it as a norm but nothing serious. Bromden noticed something different about the new comer and gained interest in his activities. McMurphy seemed to be a brave person as from his very arrival; he noticed a few things in the ward and showed his displeasure. Among most annoying things to him was her unnecessary anger to gain total control over patients by nurse Ratchet. He decided to change the equation by challenging the nurse. Not verbally, but by defying her commands with his actions. The narrator was witnessing his actions with much curiosity and sometimes, enjoyed his part a bit. Bromden seemed something unique in the new comer, something unique, more like intelligent which he never saw in any patient prior to McMurphy. One day, during the World Series time when all the patients were performing their duties, he refused to work only to make the nurse angry; he sat in front of bank screen television as if registering his protest against working at the wrong time. Some patients noticed this and though they wanted to accompany him, they were afraid of the nurse’s wrath. McMurphy saw is first success against the nurse when the work schedule was changed.
On another instance, nurse Ratchet kept him in the regular ward despite suggestions of keeping him in constant watch, showing that despite his heroics, he was nothing more than another patient for her. By that time, McMurphy also realizes that until he is in Ratchet’s good books, he is likely to be released otherwise, his stay would prolong. He decided to submit his self to the nurse but by then he was an emerging hero followed by rebel patients. He arranged a fishing trip for patients only to make them realize the true manhood they still possess by hunting a big fish. He tells them how to tackle any hostility and feel the masculinity among themselves by such an exercise. By no means did he ever appeared as a psycho among all the patients who admired his acts, kept him surrounded and on his command, were daring enough to confront their worst nightmare i.e. nurse Ratchet. Few other instances forced McMurphy to raise the rebellion again and he does just that by showing that electric shocks didn’t work on him, the crowd cheered for him.
The worst came when he arranged Bill’s date with candy which was a bit too much to swallow for nurse and hospital administration. While Murphy attacked the nurse and strangled her while she had him lobotomized, brought him back to the ward, her powers were gone, patients either shifted of left the hospital, while Bromden suffocated McMurphy instead of leaving him alive as Ratchets victory symbol.