Study Guide

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Part II, Chapter Four

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Part II, Chapter Four

  • Sefelt has an epileptic fit while in line for lunch. As the orderlies and Nurse Ratched get him under control, Nurse Ratched smilingly points out that Sefelt has been claiming that he had no more need for medication.
  • Frederickson, another patient, gets upset and accuses Big Nurse of trying to crucify Sefelt.
  • Nurse Ratched merely says that Sefelt hasn’t been swallowing his Dilantin (medicine), but everybody knowsincluding Nurse Ratchedthat he holds his capsules in his mouth and gives them to Frederickson later. Frederickson is also epileptic and likes to have a double dose, while Sefelt prefers to take no medicine.
  • Nurse Ratched asks Frederickson if taking his medication isn’t better than what Sefelt has just suffered?
  • Chief describes Sefelt’s jerking around as similar to the way men jerk around when they’ve been subjected to electroshock therapy in the Shock Shop.
  • When she leaves, Frederickson shivers and says he’s not sure why he got so mad at Nurse Ratched.
  • McMurphy asks what’s the big deal about taking the medicine if it prevents seizures?
  • Frederickson pulls his mouth open and shows how the Dilantin causes a person’s gums to rot.
  • Scanlon, another patient, walks away, saying, "Damned if you do and damned if you don’t."
  • McMurphy looks at Sefelt and says, "Yeah, I see what you mean."

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