In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, what is Mr. Turkle's daily routine?

Expert Answers
gkopf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Turkle is a guard at the institution.  His routine when it comes to the character Chief is described as the following:

"Some nights he’ll untie the sheet from across me if it’s so tight I squirm around. He wouldn’t do it if he thought the day crew knew it was him, because they’d probably fire him, but he figures the day crew will think it was me untied it. I think he really does it to be kind, to help - but he makes sure he’s safe first. This time he doesn’t untie the sheet but walks away from me to help two aides I never saw before and a young doctor lift old Blastic onto the stretcher and carry him out, covered with a sheet - handle him more careful than anybody ever handled him before in all his life."

Mr. Turkle seems to be more benevolent than most of the other employees at the institution, and Chief recognizes his kindness.  Chief describes Turkle's nighttime routine: Turkle will usually help untie Chief a little if he can get away with it, but if he knows he'll get caught, he won't untie the sheets.  

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Turkle works the night shift on the ward, from 11pm to 7am. He is described as "an old Negro man with a big sleepy grin on the end of a long wobbly neck." He seems to spend much of his night shift sleeping because he works during the day at a race track, and he also often smells like he's been drinking. If Chief is having a bad dream, Mr. Turkle will loosen his sheet a bit, as Mr. Turkle thinks that the next aides will think that Chief loosened his own sheet. If Mr. Turkle thinks it will get him in trouble, though, he doesn't dare loosen or untie Chief's sheet.

When McMurphy brings a girl to the ward to visit with Billy, Mr. Turkle lets her in. McMurphy bribes Mr. Turkle with drinks. Mr. Turkle gets so drunk that McMurphy has to feign tying him up with sheets so that Nurse Ratched does not figure out what they have been up to. However, Mr. Turkle is found drunk in the linen room and is promptly fired from working on the ward. 

Read the study guide:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question