Illustration of Nurse Ratched

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

by Ken Kesey
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In chapter 28, how does Dale Harding demonstrate humanity and kindness?

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The erudite president of the Patients' Council, Dale Harding, is essentially the leader of the Acutes on Nurse Ratched's ward until McMurphy comes along. Following McMurphy's trailblazing path, Harding eventually becomes something of an adviser, almost a confidant of sorts, to McMurphy as he fights his fateful battles against the...

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The erudite president of the Patients' Council, Dale Harding, is essentially the leader of the Acutes on Nurse Ratched's ward until McMurphy comes along. Following McMurphy's trailblazing path, Harding eventually becomes something of an adviser, almost a confidant of sorts, to McMurphy as he fights his fateful battles against the Big Nurse.

In chapter 28, the plot is working its way toward its climax, and we see elements of many of the characters either develop or come to the surface for the first time. Chief Bromden's character arc is particularly prominent in these pages, as is succinctly evinced by the fact that he refers to the Big Nurse as Miss Ratched for the first time in the novel. However, there are important and intriguing facets of Dale Harding's character that emerge too.

He shows humanity and kindness when he rallies and defends the Acutes and Chronics and points out the success of McMurphy's strategy of defiance during the group meeting. He displays humanity and kindness more directly in the way he takes one for the team by eventually volunteering to go along with McMurphy's plan for them to extricate themselves from the presence of the supervisor.

Harding shows his humanity most distinctly in flashes and glimpses during his conversation with McMurphy and Chief Bromden regarding McMurphy's plans for escape.

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