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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - Barron's Booknotes
Table of Contents

LIFEGUARD

An ex-football player who still believes he's on a team, the
lifeguard meets McMurphy at the pool and informs him that
patients don't have fixed sentences in the hospital but can be
held at the staff's whim. His cry of "Guts ball" is repeated by
McMurphy to the Chief just before they go in for electroshock
therapy.

LOBOTOMY

Like electro-shock therapy, a treatment for mental illness once
common but now rarely used. The frontal lobe of the brain is
removed to make the patient docile, at the expense of his
personality.

MARTINI

A patient whose illness makes him see objects-Monopoly
pieces, most hilariously-where they don't exist.

MATRIARCHY

A society where power lies entirely in the hands of women.
(The word is derived from the Latin for mother.) Dale Harding
believes that the patients' plight can be blamed on a matriarchy
run by women like Nurse Ratched and his wife, who seek to
make men cowardly and impotent. Other women who seem to
prove his theory include Mrs. Bibbit and Mary Louise
Bromden.



COLONEL MATTERSON

This elderly Chronic, an ex-Army officer, speaks in phrases
that sound nonsensical but in fact possess poetic, metaphorical
truth: "Mexico is... the walnut."

NURSE'S STATION

The glassed-in room that holds Nurse Ratched's control panel
and is a symbol of her power over the ward. McMurphy's
shattering of its window forms the climax of Part Two.

OLD BLASTIC

An ancient Chronic, he dies on the night when the Chief, free
from sedation, is suffering hallucinations of the hospital as an
enormous machine. The Chief imagines that Blastic dies when
scalped by the aides.

OLD RAWLER

A patient on the Disturbed Ward, he commits suicide by
castrating himself.

PSYCHOSIS

The mental illness McMurphy is diagnosed as suffering from,
victims of psychosis-psychotics-are characterized by a
complete disregard of moral and social responsibilities, an
inability to think of anything but their own immediate
gratification.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MAN

A plump, chatty little man who conducts tours of the hospital
for local community groups in order to assure them of the
hospital's dedication to its patients' health. His silliness and
hypocrisy are signalled in his absurd, almost hysterical laugh,
and, in the Chief's nightmare, a vision of him wearing a corset
trimmed with male genitals.

RUCKLEY

Like Ellis, a victim of the hospital's therapeutic techniques,
Ruckley underwent a lobotomy at a time when the operation
had not been perfected. He was left unable to do anything
except stare at a blank photograph and shout a single phrase of
hatred against his wife.

Table of Contents


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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - Barron's Booknotes
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