Study Guide

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

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Part I, Chapter Two

  • Chief starts the new chapter by saying, "When the fog cleared," meaning when he becomes conscious again after the "shaving" incident.
  • Anyway, Chief is now in the "day room." He doesn’t remember a thing that happened because they manage to get "those things they call pills" down him. He just knows that this time, they didn’t take him to the Shock Room or the Seclusion Room because here he is in the day room instead.
  • Every morning after breakfast, the ward door starts opening. It opens and closes a thousand times a day.
  • All of the patients sit in a line, putzing around with jigsaw puzzles and waiting to see who comes through the door.
  • There’s nothing else to do.
  • Sometimes, it’s a resident (young doctor in residency) who has come to see what they’re like Before Medicationcalled BM. Sometimes it’s a wife of a patient.
  • This morning, it’s an Admission (meaning a new guy). Everybody stops what they’re doing to watch.
  • Chief is buckled down to the chair and can’t get up. Most days, he sees a new Admission and sees how the orderlies mess with him.
  • But even though Chief can’t see this new Admission yet, he can tell the new guy isn’t ordinary. This Admission isn’t scared and isn’t submissive.
  • He sounds big. He sounds brave. He finally comes over and says, "Good mornin’, buddies."
  • He doesn’t look like Chief’s dada full-blood Columbia Indianbut he sounds like him, with a voice that’s loud and full of hell.
  • The new Admission stands there looking at them and laughs. Everybody stares.
  • Then he introduces himself as McMurphy a gambling fool.
  • McMurphy starts messing with Cheswick, an inmate playing cards, while one of the orderlies circles him with a thermometer.
  • McMurphy starts shaking hands and explaining how he’s ended up at the asyluma hassle or two at the work farm and the courts decided he’s a psychopath. And he’s not going to argue with the court if it means no more farm work.
  • McMurphy says the court told him that "a psychopath’s a guy fights too much and f***s too much, but they ain’t wholly right, do you think? I mean, whoever heard tell of a man gettin’ too much poozle?" That’s a good introduction to McMurphy and an interesting new word for sex.

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