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Chapters 20 - 22 Notes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chapters 20 - 22

The Acutes go to the library, and Bromden comes along. While they'rein the library, Harding's wife comes to visit him. Harding calls McMurphy over to sit with them. Harding is his typical self-deprecating self, even to the point of insulting his wife, who begins to flirt with McMurphy.

Topic Tracking: Women 4

After she leaves, Harding asks McMurphy what he thought of her, and McMurphy blows up at him.

"'Well, screw you and "what do you think?" I've got worries of my own without getting hooked with yours. So just quit!' He glares around the library at the other patients. 'Alla you! Quit bugging me, goddammit!'" Chapter 21, pg. 160

On Friday, the men go to the X-Ray room to get checked up. While they wait, McMurphy notices another door and asks where it leads. Harding tells him that it goes to the Shock Shop, and explains the theory behind electro-shock therapy. Once again, it is revealed that the Big Nurse has the power to order such treatment as well as lobotomies. McMurphy realizes that it's the system that's behind everything, and tries to explain this to the rest of them; how even if they got rid of the Big Nurse, things wouldn't change, really. The men don't understand, and Harding finally admits that they've noticed that he's stopped fighting against the Nurse. McMurphy fully agrees, and tells them he realized he had as much to lose as the rest of them. Harding tells him no, McMurphy has more to lose, since all the Acutes are there voluntarily. McMurphy can't believe this, and he starts accosting all of them, until Billy Bibbit breaks down.

"'You think I wuh-wuh-wuh-want to stay in here? You think I wouldn't like a con-con-vertible and a guh-guh-girl friend? But did you ever have people l-l-laughing at you? No, because you're so b-big and so tough! Well, I'm not big and tough.'" Chapter 22, pg. 168

The conversation ends, with McMurphy just sitting there staring at the door to the Shock Shop.

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