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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Character Descriptions

Randle Patrick McMurphy
A manual laborer, gambler, carnival barker, Korean War hero with a dishonorable discharge, and con man admitted to the ward from Pendelton Prison Farm, diagnosed as a psychotic.
Nurse Ratched
The "Big Nurse," and former Army nurse. She maintains order by exercising absolute authority over the hospital staff and its patients. McMurphy compares her techniques with the "brainwashing" used by the Communists during the Korean conflict.
Chief Bromden
A towering man of mixed Native American and white heritage. He is diagnosed as an incurable paranoid-schizophrenic, and pretends to be deaf and mute in order to protect himself from the forces of the Combine, which he believes is a mechanized society intent on usurping freedom and individuality.
Dale Harding
A college-educated and effeminate man, who is psychologically "castrated" by his wife and Nurse Ratched. Harding is an Acute patient, one who has voluntarily committed himself to the hospital.
Billy Bibbit
A 31-year-old man dominated by his mother to the extent that he is still unmarried.
Max Taber
A rebellious patient whose presence on the ward preceded McMurphy's. He was released from the hospital after being made docile by electroshock therapy.
The last of McMurphy's followers left on the ward, he assists in the Chief's escape after McMurphy's death.
The first patient to adopt McMurphy's rebellious stance. After McMurphy begins to yield to authority, Cheswick drowns himself.
A delusional man, who, nonetheless, learns to laugh at himself and the world around him.
Sefelt and Frederickson
Both men are epileptics. Sefelt refuses to take his medicine because it causes his gums to rot and his teeth to fall out; Frederickson, on the other hand, takes double dosages.
Big George (Rub-a-Dub)
A Scandinavian former seaman with a morbid fear of dirt. He is captain of the boat on the fishing trip, and his fear of an enema causes McMurphy and Chief to defend him against the African-American hospital aides.
The Lifeguard
A former football player given to fits of violent behavior. Like McMurphy, his commitment is involuntary. He explains to McMurphy that they can only be released when Ratched signs their releases.

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Last updated: Wed Oct 7 2015 20:10 EDT