Imagine you are McMurphy.  Write a creative journal entry in which you reflect about the impact of the fishing trip.

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winnmc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

R. P. McMurphy is a garish, brash, vulgar, yet charming ex-convict who has transferred into the mental institution from his incarceration at a work farm.  He has effectively faked a mental illness in order to facilitate his release.  Despite the egregiousness of his crime, statutory rape, McMurphy shows that his manipulative nature allows him to hypnotize those around him in order to gain emotional and psychological control, even mesmerizing those in power within the penal system.  Careful calculation and risk taking are his specialties, and despite his tough-guy act, he is really an emotional terrorist, a confidence man, a bully, and a rabble rouser rolled into one neat package.  The response below fits his voice and attitude:

Note: Feel free to edit additionally for profanity. Ken Kesey was not known for pulling his punches, and although I have blanked out "four letter words," I did want to remain true to Kesey's voice and style.

***Damn that sea air really does a body good.  All's we could have asked for is more time out on that boat.  Not sure how much the boys enjoyed themselves, but I sure had a fine time.  Got me to thinking: What about busting out full-time?  What if I was to head out in the morning and say goodbye to that witch in the Nurse's room, all her questions and rules and ***damn regulations? Just the shirt on my back and a stretch of road, ain't that the ***damn truth. Story of my life, to tell the truth.  Guess I'll answer my own question with another one: How can I leave that damn place when I own the joint?  

I say to myself: Damn, man, you sure got all those loonies stepping and fetching for you don't ya?  Am I right?  Did you see the way that Bibbit's eyes almost popped out their sockets? Hooie!  A little snatch walking around topside and he about shit his drawers!  Seems like every time I get in front of one of 'em, Cheswick especially, I get to talking and they get to listening.

So how can I blow off this joint when I got it going so good?  How can I pass on the chance to serve my time out and leave with a clean bill?  What's the man say? Better to run shit in Hell than be a janitor in Heaven?  Reminds me of Korea, coulda booked out on my platoon a hundred times, but it took them throwing me out on my ass to leave that sweet spot.  Couldn't beat it, with the beer cold and the cards hot, I didn't even mind that the boys were getting shipped home in boxes.

So no, man, I stay.  I'm just gonna bide my time til the next opportunity comes around.  Give that old bag and her little nurses something to gossip about in that ole henhouse they call a nurse station.  Maybe by next year I'll run em out and have the ball game on in the lounge.

NOTE: This journal entry is ironic, because it is the combination of McMurphy's complacency and arrogance that allows him to be caught and placed into extreme therapy after an aborted attempt at escape.  You should add an addendum that McMurphy's life is littered with examples of pushing his luck too far and not leaving hostile environments given the opportunity.  Hubris and hammartia are tragic qualities which McMurphy shares with Oedipus, among others, and it is precisely the attitude portrayed above that causes his eventual ruin.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that any creative journal entry that McMurphy writes about the fishing trip should contain some aspect of reflection.  It would not be out of bounds for McMurphy to reflect about what the fishing trip means to both himself and the other patients, as well as its larger implications.

McMurphy recognizes that the issue of control lies at the heart of life in the hospital.  He understands that his non- conformist ways are central to expressing the will of both himself and his fellow patients against the controlling Nurse Ratched.  McMurphy could reflect on how the fishing trip was an exercise in freedom, something that exists outside of Nurse Ratched's control.  The implications of the fishing trip is to enable the patients to see what McMurphy has been insistent upon for some time now.  The reality of an outside world, a condition of being that is not in the direct control of Nurse Ratched, is undeniable.  For the other patients who can see of nothing else outside of Nurse Ratched's world, the fishing trip is a moment of clarity.  McMurphy could write in a reflection piece about how he moved the patients one step closer to this realization.  In the end, McMurphy's victory do not belong to himself.  The patients recognizes the truth of what he is saying.  The validation of his voice comes through them.  The fishing trip was one step in moving the pendulum to this side.

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

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