There are three major conflicts in the novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, by Ken Kesey. Both internal and external in nature their causes, effects, and resolutions are explored in great detail. The cause of the conflict between Mac and Ratched begins immediately. As soon as McMurphy enters the ward he shows his individuality.
Hes loud, brassy and the chief says, He sounds big. McMurphy publicly introduces himself and stands out from the rest of the men. He shows that he wont be controlled. Ratched wants and expects complete control. She refers to Mac as a, Manipulator, who will, use everyone and everything to his own end.
Ironically Ratched is also a Manipulator. Miss Ratched chooses the orderlies to control them, she wants them to hate so they take their anger out on the patients. Ratcheds first win against McMurphy is when he challenges the ward policies on the music. He demands for the music to be shut off or at least turned down. Knowing that all the men are watching she completely humiliates Mac by telling him that she wont turn the music down further more she treats him like a child when she tells him to take his hands off her glass because he was staining them.
dont be so selfish, says Miss Ratched when Mac asks for the music to be turned down. Ratcheds second major win against McMurphy on the ward is when she forces the men to ignore him and not to play cards with him. Using the threat of rationed cigarettes the patients are still much too afraid of Miss Ratched to go against her orders. McMurphy is completely left alone by the men and Ratched shows that she maintains control. Although McMurphy does not get the votes of the men because the fear they hve of Ratched McMurphy still comes out victorious when in the end the men eventually do vote to watch the world series.
When the men do vote Ratched looses complete control over her ward and its the first time the men defy her as a group. And were sitting there head up in front of that blanked out television setand shes screaming behind us. McMurphy mocks and taunts Miss Ratched when he runs around with his towel on. He wasnt assigned a uniform and when Miss Ratched tells him to stop running around in the towel Mac stops and rips his towel off just to reveal that he has whale shorts on.
McMurphy also writes obscene little notes under the toilettes where she looks with her mirror. The resolution of the conflict is near the end of the novel when McMurphy attacks Miss Ratched and knows that he would have to b lobotomized. The lobotomy is a loss for McMurphy and Miss Ratched finally finishes McMurphy off. McMurphy does win in a sense when Chief kills Mac so that he wouldnt be an example in front of the ward. Him dieing shows his freedom.
The cause of McMurphys internal conflict is when he finally realizes that he is actually committed to the institution. The two sides of his conflict are, a Mac that wants to be himself no matter what but face the consequences and a Mac that will be a good patient and maybe get out of the institution earlier. Damned if you do and damned if you dont. Puts a man in one confounded bind, Id say.
At first Mac decides to be a model patient and maybe get out of the ward. Strain of the situation begins to take its toll on Mac when Hardings wife visits the ward. He turns on both Harding and Martine when they seek his support, Quit bugging me, goddamit. Macs deck of cards explodes in his hands because he is so nervous.
Macs internal conflict intensifies when he learns that he is one of the only few committed patients and hes in disbelief as to why the other patients stay voluntarily. I dont seem to be able to get it out of my head, says Mac referring to why the men stay. The return of the old McMurphy finally arrives when he realizes that he cant lead this sort of life and abandon his morals and character. Mac body language indicates hes back in the game, stretched and yawnedthumbs hooked in his pockets againswaggering.
Another bold move by McMurphy to show that he was back was when he calmly walked over to the glass and smashed his hand through to get the men their cigarettes McMurphy decides to be himself and if he looses he would loose on his own terms and not to Miss Ratched rules. . The resolution of Macs conflict is when he attacks Miss Ratched and knows that he has lost in a way but on his own terms. In another way he wins because he shows to the men that Miss Ratched was nothing but a women. The conflict that Chief has with himself is a very intense one.
Unlike the other two this one is emphasized from the begin of the book and is only resolved at the very end of the novel. The cause of his internal conflict begins when he is a little boy on his Indian territory. The white man comes on his fathers land and insult the Indians right in front of Chief. The novel starts off with chief already deep in his own fog. He even says that he might eventually get lost in the fog forever. Chiefs first major loss is when McMurphy is humiliated in front of the ward, by Miss Ratched, about staining of the glass.
When ever McMurphy looses to Ratched or seems to be down Chief goes into fog. When McMurphy cannot lift the control panel and looses his bet against the guys Chief is completely lost in his fog because after this Mac has lost three time in a row to Ratched or the combine. Chief sees the trouble Mac has to lift the control panel and finally gives up, the control panel, to chief, is a symbol of the combine and the fact that Mac cant lift it destroys Chief. One of Chief major wins against the fog is when the men all come together to back up Mac for the world series and the comments that everyone makes to her.
Chief say, I quit worrying about the BIG NURSE and the combine behind her. For the first time in his life he saw people clearly and not just the black outline around them. Another great win for Chief is when he enters the pool with all the other men. This is a big win because the Chief is so afraid of even the ground that to enter a pool is a great progress for him.
Also Chief begins to see the ward as clean and silent and not humming of machinery. Chief even takes a big step when he stands up and looks out the window of the ward. The resolution to Chiefs conflict is after he kills Mac and escapes the institution at the end of the novel.