One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chapter 29
What happens next is, in Bromden's mind, inevitable. The Big Nurse goes through the ward, discovering all the messes the men made, while they laugh their heads off at her.
Harding tries to get McMurphy to leave once more while everyone is distracted, but he claims that he's too drunk too move. When roll call shows that Billy is missing, the aides and the Big Nurse do a room check. They find him and Candy in bed in one of the rooms. Nurse Ratched is shocked, and keeps telling Billy how ashamed she is for him, but Billy doesn't seem to notice, just gets his clothes together and comes out into the hall. He responds to her questions without a stutter. However, the Big Nurse knows what buttons to push in the end. "'What worries me, Billy,' she said- I could hear the change in her voice- 'is how your mother is going to take this.'" Chapter 29, pg. 264 Billy immediately panics. He begs Nurse Ratched not to call his mother, and when the nurse refuses, he starts to blame the fact that he was in bed with a woman on everyone else in the room, saying they made him do it. He is taken away to wait alone in the doctor's office.
All the men sit down in the day room, and they tell McMurphy that they don't blame him at all, they know it wasn't his fault. He just relaxes and looks like he's waiting for something. The doctor yells for the nurse from his office, and she and the aides go running. She comes back alone, and speaks directly to McMurphy. She tells him that Billy cut his throat with some instruments in the doctor's desk. "'First Charles Cheswick and now William Bibbit! I hope you're finally satisfied. Playing with human lives- gambling with human lives- as if you thought yourself to be a God!'" Chapter 29, pg. 266 She goes back into her office. Bromden knows that McMurphy is going to do something, and at first he thinks to try and stop it; but then he realizes that he can't stop it, because he and the rest of the men of the ward are forcing McMurphy to do it. They force him to get out of his chair and go over to nurses' station. He rips open the Big Nurse's shirt, revealing those too large breasts, and tries to strangle her.
When the doctors and aides rip him off her, he cries out. Chief Bromden describes it:
"A sound of cornered-animal fear and hate and surrender and defiance, that if you ever trailed coon or cougar or lynx is like the last sound the treed and shot and falling animal makes as the dogs get him, when he finally doesn't care any more about anything but himself and his dying." Chapter 29, pg. 267
Things in the ward start to change. A lot of the Acutes start leaving, some to the outside world, some to different wards. The Big Nurse is away in the Medical Ward for a week, and while she's gone, the Japanese nurse from upstairs runs things. When the Big Nurse comes back, Harding asks her if McMurphy will return. She can't speak, but has to write her responses on pieces of paper. She tells him he will, and Harding tells her she's full of it and walks away. Eventually, McMurphy is brought back, but he's not the same. He just lies in bed all the time, and the men think he's a dummy. They lobotomized him. Harding signs out of the ward.
Bromden realizes that McMurphy wouldn't want to be left there as he is, a permanent sign to anyone of what happens when you try to buck the system. He muffles the lobotomized McMurphy under a pillow and suffocates him. One of the other patients tells him he needs to leave - the Big Nurse will know something's up. So Bromden goes over to the control panel, lifts it up, and throws it through a window, breaking through the glass and the screen. Before anyone can stop, he jumps out and runs to the highway. He hitches a ride with a trucker, and thinks about going back to the reservation, to see how things are: "I been away a long time." Chapter 29, pg. 272