Harding has been humiliated by the others concerning his wife and her affairs. How does McMurphy describe what happened at the group meeting?

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englishteacher72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

McMurphy calls what happened at the group meeting a "pecking party".  A pecking party is when a group of chickens get together and literally peck the eyes out of a hen for seemingly no reason.  Just like those chickens, the other men in the ward gang up and pick on Harding, even though they all feel remorse for their viciousness after the act.  He also warns that a pecking party can soon wipe out the entire flock, meaning no one will survive if they all turn on each other.  McMurphy, being the new guy, is the observer in this section of the novel.  He just sits back and watches all of this happen.  He is also quick to point out to Harding that Nurse Ratched is the one who started this pecking party.  Nurse Ratched has also attempted to cut McMurphy down a few notches by making him disclose some of his own "weaknesses", but instead of becoming embarrassed, McMurphy turns the situation into a comical one, even getting the doctor to laugh at his ridiculousness. 

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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