One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

How does Nurse Ratched respond to rebellion? How do other nurses and Dr. Spivey respond to rebellion?

she sends them to electroshock therapy

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One doctor discusses the “revolution” that occurred minutes before and says that McMurphy is no ordinary man they are dealing with. Another doctor suggests that McMurphy may be simply a shrewd con man and not mentally ill, but another says that McMurphy is sick and definitely a “Potential Assaultive.” The doctor worries that McMurphy may attack him during Individual Therapy. One of the doctors, Gideon, finally decides that they are not dealing with an ordinary man, but Nurse Ratched tells him that he is absolutely wrong. She says that McMurphy is not extraordinary, simply a man and just as subject to all the fears and cowardice and timidity as any other man, such that he ultimately can be controlled. One doctor worries that this could take weeks, but Ratched reminds them that they have all the time in the world. McMurphy is committed involuntarily, so he must remain in the hospital as long as they want.

The staff meeting is at once ironic and ridiculous because it reveals the outright absurdity of the doctors' diagnoses. The various doctors use tortured doublespeak. They believe his behavior indicates the presence of a sane man, but he also seems potentially explosive precisely because of his sanity in an environment meant for the insane. Nurse Ratched seems almost desperately afraid that McMurphy might be normal, pushing her further towards a diagnosis of him as a psychotic. Indeed, the Nurse believes that his ordinariness in the context of the ward proves he is insane. His kind of relative insanity in the ward proves him more likely to be sane in normal society.

Ratched wants to win this battle. Whether the sexual subtext is still here or this is simply a matter of pride and power, Nurse Ratched insists to the doctors that McMurphy stay in her department. She intends to break McMurphy down by any means and no matter how long it may take. In this, she is a good totalitarian re-educator.