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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - Barron's Booknotes
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SCENE 7

Without his medication, the Chief sleeps restlessly, enduring a
series of nightmares. The flow of bizarre sights reveals much
about the Chief's life, and when, at the end of the scene he asks
of them, "But if they don't exist, how can a man see them?" the
answer is, they do exist: they are the truth, even if they didn't
happen.



The Chief envisions the hospital as a tremendous machine that
hums like a dam-and we'll see later that a hydroelectric dam
played a cruel part in triggering the Chief's illness. Workers
with waxen faces grab a Chronic patient, Blastic (whom we
saw the orderlies abusing in Scene 4), hang him on a hook that
dangles from the ceiling, and scalp him-the bared, opened
skull revealing only the rust and ashes of a ruined machine,
another of the Combine's errors. As the fog rolls in, the Chief
glimpses the public relations man, laced into a woman's corset
so tight it bloats his face-like so many in this book, he has
denied his true sexuality. From the corset stays dangle what
seem at first to be more scalps, but what are actually male
genitals, reminders of McMurphy's warning of what the Nurse
and the hospital want to do to the patients.

The Chief is comforted by Mr. Turkle, one of the few kindly
aides in the hospital. Aides and doctors take the dead Mr.
Blastic away, giving his body more care than they ever showed
the living man.

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