What keeps a perfectly sane person in a mental hospital? Randle Patrick McMurphy asked to be sent to a mental hospital instead of laboring at a work farm. He quickly learns that the patients are either Acutes or Chronics. Acutes are patients that are there not because they are insane, but because they are different. These patients are there voluntarily and can leave at any time. The Chronics are patients that will never leave. Some Acutes become Chronics due to conflicts in the hospital that turn them insane or because the inhumane treatments in the hospital turn them into vegetables.
McMurphy quickly begins creating chaos at the hospital for the staff. The staff keeps the patients drugged so they are controllable. But with McMurphy's arrival, they begin to come out of their "fog" and think for themselves. At one point McMurphy tries to get Nurse Ratched to change the cleaning times in the ward so they could watch the World Series. She did not let them, so when it came time for the World Series, McMurphy pulled up a chair in front of the tv. Nurse Ratched turns off the power and McMurphy continues to "watch" the blank tv and cheers for the game he can't see. As the patients sit around him and do the same, Nurse Ratched becomes furious.
As McMurphy continues to give patients confidence, he gets himself in more and more trouble with the staff. As punishment he is told to clean toilets. McMurphy responds by leaving notes in the rim of the toilet. McMurphy knows how to push everything to the limit. Eventually he learns that the staff is who controls when he is set free. At first he backs down with his games, but eventually he begins challenging them again.
What do you think happens to McMurphy? Would you voluntarily check yourself into a mental hospital when you know there is nothing wrong with you?