Study Guide

Doctor Spivey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Doctor Spivey

The doctor is a kind man who would rather be working with his charts than participating in the afternoon group meetings. Because he may be addicted to opiates, and Nurse Ratched insinuates this constantly, he tends to let her do what she wants. But just like the patients, he responds to McMurphy’s charismatic personality and begins to rebel against Nurse Ratched. He backs the men up with their various schemes to make life more bearable—watching a baseball game, going on a fishing trip, having a second day room for playing cards. Usually, though, he backs down when Nurse Ratched resists the plans. Doctor Spivey finally shows that he has some kind of backbone when he refuses to resign after the ward party and Billy’s suicide. He’s determined not to go quietly; if the hospital wants him to leave, they’ll have to fire him. The doctor, like Chief, gained spirit and courage from McMurphy’s presence.

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