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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - Barron's Booknotes
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SCENE 4

This relatively short scene focuses on two Acutes, Sefelt and
Fredrickson, whose situation makes McMurphy re-think his
own. Sefelt suffers a severe epileptic seizure, which Nurse
Ratched says was caused by his refusal to take his medication.

Sefelt's friend Fredrickson, who, like Cheswick, talks tough
then gives up, argues with Nurse Ratched. She says she can't
understand why Sefelt hasn't been taking his Dilantin-a
medication that suppresses seizures. In fact, she is being coy:
she and everyone else know that Sefelt gives his dose to
Fredrickson. Sefelt is afraid that the medication will make him
grow old, and Fredrickson is afraid of seizures. They both give
in to their fears.



As usual, Fredrickson backs down. When McMurphy asks why
Sefelt is afraid to take the Dilantin, Fredrickson opens his
mouth as an answer. The Dilantin rots gums. On the other
hand, if he doesn't take the drug, he will damage his teeth by
gritting them during a seizure like the one Sefelt suffered. "Hell
of a life," comments Scanlon, who is observing. "Damned if
you do and damned if you don't." McMurphy realizes that he is
in the same bind: disobedience may not have done him any
good, but will obedience save him?

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