One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Reflection 5 Pg. 261–325
In the last section of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest there is a dramatic conclusion tied to a plethora of ethical dilemmas, themes, and unanswered questions. McMurphy’s fishing trip was able to save the souls of the particular patients that were capable of being saved. To quote from the book, McMurphy turned the flawed rabbits into flawed men. He even made some of the men completely completely sane and mentally healthy again. The party that McMurphy threw also seemed to help many of the men, while not as powerful as the fishing trip, the party was able to shake the men back into reality, outside of the bubble that the hospital had created. The party allowed the men to see what could be, not what is.
The personal choices that McMurphy makes in this final section of the book are both heroic and unquestionably egotistical and stupid. McMurphy subjects himself to EST simply because he wanted to make a point that he was not sorry for anything that he had done. Strangley enough the EST used on Bromden actually seemed to help him, as if the electricity itself was forcing his brain to workout, which caused it to strengthen and eventually transition back into a state of normalcy. While the EST administered on McMurphy did little to stop his quest to restore humanity within certain individuals of the mental hospital, the later treatments he received due to his behaviour did permanently keep him from continuing on in his brash ways. The various mentions of McMurphy being tired seem to allude to a deeper understanding that McMurphy had, almost as if he understood that his end was coming. The lack of effort McMurphy puts into escaping the hospital when the opportunity presents itself is further proof of his acceptance towards his inescapable demise. I think that there were two possible reasons for his behaviour. The first reason being that McMurphy, after a lifetime of fighting, gambling, and fornicating decides that it his time to end his life on a high point, helping others free themselves from their own minds, and eventually the mental hospital. The second reason could be that McMurphy still hadn’t felt like he had delivered a “killing” blow to nurse Ratched and her aura of control, and that administering the killing blow, at his own expense, was the only way to truly free the savable patients of the mental hospital.
Chief Bromden becomes the new hero of the book, like I expected, but only for a very brief time following McMurphy’s lobotomy. Bromden, with his mind fully active realizes from his various teaching from McMurphy, that he must kill McMurphy for the greater good. So that the reactionless dead expression of McMurphy’s body and face cannot serve to remind future patients to submit to brutal and soul-killing authority. The last act Bromden commits, breaking the glass window with the control panel serves to symbolize his complete freedom and acceptance with his past, mind, and stay at the hospital.
Word count: 501