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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - Barron's Booknotes
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ANSWERS
TEST 2

1. C

2. B

3. C

4. A

5. A

6. B

7. B

8. C

9. B

10. A

11. McMurphy enters the ward as more a rogue than a hero,
despite his humor and obvious courage. The Chief may be
speaking at least part of the truth when he says McMurphy has
survived because he had "no one to care about, which is what
made him free enough to be a good con man." Though he
immediately rebels against the Nurse and the hospital, his
rebellion is staged primarily for his own benefit-it's
McMurphy who wants to brush his teeth, to play cards
undisturbed by piped-in music, to watch the World Series on
television. But when, scared by the discovery that Nurse
Ratched can keep him indefinitely in the hospital, he backs
down and a disillusioned follower commits suicide, McMurphy
begins to realize that he has become an example of courage to
the rest of the patients and that such a role carries with it
responsibilities. He doesn't become entirely altruistic all at
once-he still forces the Chief to lift the control panel to win
bets, for example, and asks Billy for money to bring Candy
Starr back down for their date-but in the final scenes it has
become clear (at least to the Chief and so to us) that
McMurphy is acting the part of hero even at the expense of his
own sanity and safety. Indeed, at the end, the hero is the only
part of him that remains: the rest of McMurphy has been
destroyed by the hospital. The Chief says of his friend's final
battle with the Nurse: "It was us that had been making him go
on for weeks keeping him standing long after his feet and legs
had given out, weeks of making him wink and grin and laugh
and go on with his act long after his humor had been parched
dry between two electrodes." In this way, out of highly
unpromising material, a hero has been made.



12. "We are victims of a matriarchy here, my friend." Harding's
explanation of life in the hospital seems to a large extent to be
true. While the Combine undoubtedly contains both male and
female components, its main representatives in the book do
appear to be women. Heading it in the hospital is of course
Nurse Ratched, who dominates even men like Dr. Spivey who
are nominally her superiors. Her power is expressed in bluntly
sexual terms: she is, McMurphy says after his first group
meeting, "a ball-cutter." Other such women include Mary
Louise Bromden, who forced her husband to give up both his
name and his Indian ways; Mrs. Bibbit, who dominated her son
at home just as her friend Nurse Ratched dominates him in the
hospital, Vera Harding, whose sneering attacks on her
husband's effeminacy destroyed his spirit, and minor characters
like the birthmarked Nurse Pilbow, so terrified of the sexuality
McMurphy represents she becomes a model of pill-spilling
hysteria.

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