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
- 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
- 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
- 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