“So she really lets herself go and her painted smile twists,
stretches to an open snarl, and she blows up bigger and bigger,
big as a tractor, so big I can smell the machinery inside the
way you smell a motor pulling too big a load” (p. 5).
of the Big Nurse as an agent of the Combine.
2. “I been silent so long now it's gonna roar out of me
like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting
and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really
happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It's
still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's
the truth even if it didn't happen” (p.8).
the story he is about to tell.
3. “I was a whole lot bigger in those days” (p.
Chief Bromden recalls
4. “I mean—hell, I been surprised how sane you guys
all are. As near as I can tell you’re not any crazier
than the average asshole on the street—” (p. 63)
verdict on the other patients in the ward.
5. “Brain Burning” (p. 178).
for electric shock therapy.
6. “What can you pay for the way a man lives? What can
you pay for what a man is?” (p. 208)
memory of his father’s reply to the government agents
who wanted to buy his land.
7. “[H]e knew you can’t really be strong until you
can see a funny side to things” (p. 227).
8. “While McMurphy laughs. Rocking farther and farther
backward against the cabin top, spreading his laugh out across
the water—laughing at the girl, the guys, at George, at
me sucking my bleeding thumb, at the captain back at the pier
and the bicycle rider and the service-station guys and the five
thousand houses and the Big Nurse and all of it. Because he
knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to
keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running
you plumb crazy” (p. 237).
about McMurphy on the fishing trip.
9. “Anointest my head with conductant. Do I get a crown
of thorns?” (p. 270)
McMurphy as he is
being prepared to receive electric shock therapy.
10. “[O]ne flew east, one flew west, one flew over the
cuckoo’s nest . . . goose swoops down and plucks you out”
song chanted by Chief Bromden’s grandmother. (McMurphy
is the goose who swooped down and plucked the chicks out of
the nest—the patients out of the psychiatric ward.)