Notes on Objects & Places from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Objects/Places

The Acutes: The name used to describe the patients that the staff still feels have a hope of being cured. The Acutes are ambulatory for the most part, and can handle normal functions. This includes Harding and Billy Bibbit, as well as most of the major characters of the novel; Chief Bromden is one exception.

The Chronics: The name used for patients for which there is no hope. A large number of these are Vegetables, men who are so far gone they are almost brain dead. Chief Bromden is considered a Chronic, because he has been on the ward so long and everyone thinks he is deaf and dumb. Peter Bancini is a Chronic because he is incapable of doing anything except yelling that he’s tired.

The Ward: The home of the patients, and the place in the hospital where the Big Nurse rules supreme. It houses all the characters in the novel, and is run by the Big Nurse, her three black aides, Doctor Spivey, and an undisclosed number of other men and women. The ward is low security. If patients act out violently, they are sent to Disturbed.

The Disturbed ward: The threatened destination of any patient that causes too much trouble. The little we see of it is frightening. The patients are all much further gone than the ones down below, although the nurse who runs the place, a small Japanese woman, is kind and intelligent.

The Control Panel: Kept in the hydrotherapy room, it is huge and formerly used to control the water directed at the patients. McMurphy tries to lift it and is unable. Bromden lifts it three times: first to see if he can do it, then to win a bet for McMurphy, and lastly to throw it through a window and escape the ward.

Shock Shop: Where patients are sent to receive electro-shock therapy. Supposedly a form of treatment, but used in the novel by the Big Nurse as a form of punishment to anyone who gets too far out of line.

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