In Chapter 11 of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, what does McMurphy teach the patients in the Tub room?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sorry, but part of my answer was wiped out when I pasted it. Here is the complete version:

Having gained access to an old hydrotherapy room where they can avoid the noise of the radio, McMurphy talks to the other inmates about watching the World Series on television after Nurse Ratched has defeated a vote because too many of the men were fearful of going against her. In an effort to demonstrate the importance of not surrendering to defeat, McMurphy wagers that he will be able to lift a huge control panel and hurl it through one of the screened windows. And, since everyone owes him from having lost at cards, they are eager to bet against his being able to perform this feat.

McMurphy tells everyone to stand out of the way, and sensing his confidence, Cheswick mutters to himself, "By golly, he might do it." However, after straining himself three times and bloodying his hands, McMurphy loses his bet. Nonetheless, he has impressed the others with his efforts. "But I tried, though....I sure as hell did that much, now didn't I?" he tells the men after emptying his pockets of IOUs from the last few days of poker-playing.

On the day of the first game of the World Series, McMurphy leaves his work site and sits before the television that has the opening ceremony of the game broadcasting.  However, Nurse Ratched switches the controls off, and the blank screen appears.  Nonetheless, McMurphy remains in his seat before the television.  Harding, shuts off his buffer, and he sits down in from of the TV; he is followed by Cheswick and the other Acutes. Bromden narrates,

If somebody'd of come in and took a look, men watching a blank TV, a fifty-year-old woman hollering and squealing in the back of their head about discipline and order and recriminations, they'd of thought the whole bunch was crazy as loons.

Clearly, McMurphy has won his bet that he would get to the nurse. And, his indomitable spirit has inspired the other men.


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