Chapters 1 - 2 Notes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chapters 1 - 2

Chief Bromden, the story's narrator, is a patient in a mental ward. At the start of the novel, he is mopping the floors early in the morning. The only other people on the ward who are awake are the three black orderlies. They taunt and mock Bromden, because they think he is deaf and dumb.

The Big Nurse, a stern woman in her fifties, enters the ward.

Topic Tracking: Women 1

She sees the black orderlies standing around gossiping, and her rage makes her swells with gigantic power -- Bromden actually visualizes power as a person's size. The Big Nurse is this biggest person in the ward.

Topic Tracking: Power and Control 1

Before she can attack the men, though, the rest of the patients wake up, and she shrinks back down. She tells the orderlies to take Bromden aside and shave him, which he tries to avoid. The orderlies find him, and force him to take medication to calm him down. It's upsetting to Bromden to tell his story, but he figures he has to. "It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's the truth even if it didn't happen." Chapter 1, pg. 13

Later that morning, Randle Patrick McMurphy is brought into the ward. He is a boisterous, loud, energetic man, completely at odds with the surroundings. Unlike most new admissions, he refuses to come in quietly, talking at the top of his lungs, and cracking jokes and laughing.

Topic Tracking: Humor 1

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