Study Guide

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Part I, Chapter Seven

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Part I, Chapter Seven

  • Warning: in this chapter, be prepared for intense weirdness.
  • This is the first night in a long time that Chief has gone to bed without his little red pill, which, he says, paralyzes him with sleep (or maybe it keeps him from hallucinating…).
  • He listens to the night sounds and describes it as a hydroelectric dam"low, relentless, brute power."
  • An orderly checks in on Chief. As he leaves, Chief sees his dorm room slipping away, falling down, down, down. Finally the falling stops, but the floor starts sliding forward, taking Chief on a ride through the "machine" that is the asylum and the world.
  • He sees a worker take Vegetable Blastic, another patient, and hang him upside down by his heels.
  • Another guy takes a scalpel and slices up the front of old Blastic. There’s no blood or guts, just rust, ashes, some wire, and glass.
  • Chief hears someone chattering on and turns to see Public Relation’s puffy and familiar face. The man is naked except for a long undershirt and a corset (that sounds unattractive). Hanging off of the corset are half a dozen withered objects, attached to bits of hair like scalps (creepy).
  • Public Relation is giving a tour to schoolteachers and college girls. Suddenly, they come upon the gutted Blastic and a pupil gasps. Public Relation reaches forward and spins one of Blastic’s hands.
  • Public Relation starts to laugh, but then he rips Blastic off the hook and ties him to his girdle like another trophy (along with those icky bits of scalp).
  • Then the fog begins to come in so Chief can’t see as much.
  • Chief assures us, the reader, that this experience wasn’t just a nightmare. He’s convinced that all of this was real.
  • Mr. Turkle pulls him out of the nightmare by shaking him awake. Turkle is the night aide, another black man, who smells like he’s been drinking.
  • Some nights, Mr. Turkle unties the sheet that keeps Chief in his bedbut not tonight.
  • Mr. Turkle helps two other orderlies lift old Blastic onto a stretcher and carry him out, handling him more carefully than Chief has ever seen them do before.

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