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Movie: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Essay, Research Paper

Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Thomas Evans


General Psychology

Dr. Sabin

In the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest, there was a character

named McMurphy, played by Jack Nickolson, who was admitted into a mental

institution for medical testing after having been convicted of statutory rape.

It was obvious that he was only faking and he thought that he could get off from

having to serve his sentence in a work camp. He pretty much saw everything and

everyone as a joke but the only person who he didn’t fool was nurse Ratchet. He

thought that he would be able to leave in a couple of months, the time of his

sentence in the work camp, until he found out that he wouldn’t be allowed to


After a few days he began to see the patients as a group that needed

more enjoyment in their lives and he wanted to try to find some way that they

could get out and go to a bar and watch the world series. The nursing staff

seemed uncaring to their lack of enjoyment to life and basically refused to

allow the patients to even watch the game on the TV during their chores even

after having took a vote where a mute patient nicknamed ‘Chief’ for the first

time communicated that he wanted to watch the game. McMurphy had befriended

Chief and later discovered that he was not deaf and dumb but was only faking his

muteness and they planed to escape together.

McMurphy later found out that many of these patients were here only

because they put themselves here and didn’t want to leave even though they had

the option to. He tried his best to bring some life to these patients such as

teaching them to play poker and gambling for cigarettes. He even went so far as

to escape over a fence only to open the gate and to get the patients onto a

nearby bus and drive them to the docks where he took them on a fishing trip.

Also he arranged for his girlfriend and a prostitute to come to the institution

at night with some alcohol and had a little party for them before he decided he

was going to escape. The next morning one of the patients who was suicidal was

found by the nurses in bed with the prostitute. Nurse Ratchet told him that he

would tell his mother what he had done and the patient was found later dead on

the floor from having had slashed his own throat.

McMurphy never did leave and he was given a form of therapy called ECT,

electro-convulsive therapy, and after many sessions this left him in a near-

comatose state. One night, Chief had killed McMurphy out of pity for him as he

thought it was undignified that they had taken nearly all of his humanity and

the movie ended with Chief escaping after it had been said that it couldn’t be


Electro-convulsive therapy is a technique used to treat disorders such

as major depression and schizophrenia. Patients usually receive one treatment

about three time a week for usually ten sessions. Electrodes are attached to

the temples and a strong electrical shock is given, enough that convulsions are

produced. This application of current induces unconsciousness so it becomes

nearly impossible for the patients to recall the treatment. The patients are

given a sedative beforehand and are also given muscle-relaxants because the

shock produces such strong convulsions that the patients would otherwise flail

about wildly sometimes breaking bones. With these muscle-relaxants the

convulsions are barely noticeable to any onlookers. Also this form of therapy

is not given to patients that have heart-problems or high blood pressure.

ECT has been under much controversy for many reasons. Many

professionals dislike the idea of passing electric current through the head that

produces convulsions, even if they are given sedatives before hand. There is

also the side effects. There is disruption in the recall of recent events and

some patients suffer this lapse of memory on a permanent basis. No one seems to

know how ECT works and for reasons stated above, it was outlawed in California

but later overturned by the courts.

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