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Those in Power: Corruption,

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Jenna MacDonald

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of Those in Power: Corruption,

Character Study:
Chief Bromden
Bromden sees a photo that reminds him of the Ochocus, and inadvertently, past hospitals
Visit from public relations
Bromden notices fog machines are turned up, yet no one notices. He thinks McMurphy seems to want to drag him out of the fog, but he does not want to leave it.
Chief hears about Old Rawler's death
Fog is thicker than ever for Bromden, and he is struggling to make it to the group meeting
At the meeting, McMurphy continues to ask about the TV hours for the world series, and casts a vote
Only 20 out of 40 patients vote, Nurse Ratched then says voting is closed. In the last few moments Bromden is convinced by McMurphy and raises his hand.
During afternoon duties, McMurphy refuses to continue and flicks on the TV. Other acutes follow, making Nurse Ratched lose her composure. McMurphy wins his bet.
Everyone is sneaking looks at Ratched at her outburst. She then calls a staff meeting to attempt to regain power.
The fog is mostly gone.
Bromden is cautious about going to the meeting since he thinks they know he's not deaf, though he still attends.
Dr. Spivey initiates the meeting, while Ratched stays silent until there are comments about sending McMurphy to the Disturbed ward.
She insists he is simply a normal man, and since he is committed she will have her time with him.
Nurse Ratched assigns McMurphy latrine duty, hoping to break him down, yet he still yells jokes out at her since he is on a high from winning the bet
Bromden recognizes McMurphy doesnt allow the combine to alter him in any way. After this realization, the fog clears up entirely.
Chief Bromden sees a dog outside his window, chasing geese. He sees the dog approach the highway, where a set of headlights are visible.
Very nervously explains about how he flunked out of college because he quit ROTC, because he couldn't say "here sir"
Has stuttered since infancy
We learn about a proposal he made, but it failed
Character Study:
Billy Bibbit
A Chronic
Elderly, Bromden introduces him saying that he figures it is the last time he'll see him.
Lots of army experience
Everything has a given symbol, no one seems to understand the method, but Bromden does.
Character Study: Colonel Matterson
Continuously tries to get under Nurse Ratched's skin
Insists on watching the world series, and holds a vote to allow it to happen in the meeting Ratched called
See desperation as vote ends up in stalemate
After Bromden votes, he gets the television and is overjoyed from his victory.
McMurphy becomes reckless in his behaviour around the Nurse, as shown when he stops to watch TV in the middle of cleaning duties, lazily cleans the latrines, and leaves little notes, and jokes when Ratched confronts him about it.
Character Study:
Randle McMurphy
Those in Power:
Corruption, Manipulation, and Abuse

Holds a staff meeting to discuss McMurphy with the other patients
After the vote is won, she is visibly irritated, and the other patients and even hospital staff aren't sure how to react
After she yells at him him to get back to work, he doesn't comply, she goes as far as threatening him
She is not known to need to convince others of her power, yet we see her explain her authority to McMurphy
She hold another meeting, this one staff only, yet remains quiet. After everyone else discusses about how dangerous McMurphy is, she tells them they are all wrong. That he is simply a man.
Tries to punish McMurphy by making him clean the latrines, but it backfires on her.
Character Study:
Nurse Ratched
Has never been this far into the fog
Learns about Old Rawler's death
Has discovered how the fog machine works, explains about his past in the army.
Votes towards McMurphy's cause to watch the world series.
Accepts he is making a conscious decision, rather than being manipulated by McMurphy
He is not sure if they know he is not deaf.
Tries hard to make sure he does not give away he is not deaf.
Fog seems to correlate with Nurse Ratched's losses
Witnesses the staff meeting where they discuss the threat of McMurphy
One night after the big meeting he woke up, and where usually everything around him is foggy, it all was clear.
“And then some guy wandering as lost as you would all of a sudden be right before your eyes, his face bigger and clearer than you ever saw a man’s face before in your life… When a man showed up you didn’t want to look at his face and he didn’t want to look at yours, because it’s painful to see somebody so clear that it’s like looking inside him, but then neither did you want to look away and lose him completely. You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself.” (131)
“The first hand that comes up, I can tell, is McMurphy’s, because of the bandage where that control panel cut into him when he tried to lift it. And then off down the slope is see them, other hands coming up out of the fog. It’s like… that big red hand of McMurphy’s is reaching into the fog and dropping down and dragging the men up by their hands, dragging them blinking into the open…all twenty of them, raising their hands not just for watching TV, but against the Big Nurse, against her trying to send McMurphy to disturbed, against the way she’s talked and acted and beat them down for years. (140)
“The question pops their heads up. Cleverly, he’s put them on the carpet too. They all look from him to the Big Nurse. Some way she has regained all her old power in a few short minutes. Just sitting there, smiling up at the ceiling and not saying anything, she has taken control again and made everyone aware that she’s the force in here to be dealt with.” (153)
Discussion Questions
A sudden interruption in a relatively uninterrupted power system can cause those in power to ‘lose it’. (Too much power for too long can be taken for granted and drive people crazy).
People in power who are made to feel insecure will convince themselves of anything to bring back a sense of security (Nurse Ratched at the Staff Meeting).
How easy it was back then to hurt those who did not meet the standards – like the patients are objects (Staff Meeting).
Social Statements
Short paragraphs pg. 126–130: sign of inner turmoil
Fog machine - Bromden is afraid of coming face to face with reality/strength. Prefers to stay ‘hidden’ “You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, as painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself” (pg 131)
No more fog after Miss Ratched’s episode.
Spring part of the Novel – Birth of a hero, evil is dormant, hope is on the horizon (dog and geese); Everything is clear

PTSD – not understood the same at the time. Resulted in poor or incorrect treatment for victims (Bromden).
A lot easier back then to get away with a corrupt, ‘fascist’ power system -- this is the way it’s done, so this is the way it will be. Anything else is blasphemous (World Series Rebellion).

“I can see I’m in for trouble, but I can’t stop it. McMurphy’s got hidden wires hooked to it, lifting it slow just to get me out of the fog and into the open where I’m fair game. He’s doing it, wires… No. That’s not the truth. I lifted it myself.” (142)
“There was times that week when I’d hear that full-throttled laugh, watch him scratching his belly and stretching and yawning and leaning back to wink at whoever he was joking with, everything coming to him just as natural as drawing breath, and I’d quit worrying about the Big Nurse and the Combine behind her. I’d think he was strong enough being his own self that he would never back down the way she was hoping he would. I’d think, maybe he truly is something extraordinary. He’s what he is, that’s it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is. The combine hasn’t got to him in all these years; what makes that nurse thing she’s gonna be able to do it in a few weeks? He’s not gonna let them twist him and manufacture him.”(161)
Question: Do you think the ward members actually care whether or not they watch the World Series and fighting back against authority, or, just like they gang up on each other, are they ganging up on Nurse Ratched?
Question: Is what McMurphy doing to change the ward for the good of the other patients or is it just a power struggle between him and Nurse Ratched?
Question: Is McMurphy’s approach a clever disguise to get Nurse Ratched to “show her hand”, or is he overconfident and going to get burned as a consequence?
Why do you think Nurse Ratched allowed McMurphy to hold the vote if there was a possibility he would win?
Is McMurphy's pursuit of power innocent, or do you think he is masking malicious intent?
Considering Nurse Ratched's backstory, do you think she was always as manipulative? If not, what caused her to become this way?
Question: Do you think Chief Bromden truly understands what he's saying or is he just trying to comfort him?
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