Character Analysis Billy Bibbit


Because of the virginity he retains until he is more than 30 years old, Bibbit is perhaps the most repressed member of the group. His mother employs Oedipal tactics to keep Bibbit attached to her. This woman also maintains a close relationship with Nurse Ratched, a relationship crucial to the outcome of the novel.

Bibbit behaves in an adolescent fashion at the beginning of the novel, giggling into his hand at prurient remarks and writing down his observations concerning members of the group in Ratched's book. His ineffectuality is underscored by the scars on his wrists from an unsuccessful suicide attempt made when his mother forced him to break off an engagement with a woman she felt was socially beneath her son.

Bibbit eventually comes to idolize McMurphy, who is only four years his senior. McMurphy arranges for Bibbit to lose his virginity to Candy Starr, initiating the chain of events that causes Bibbit's suicide and McMurphy's lobotomy and subsequent murder. While still susceptible to Ratched's manipulations, Bibbit nevertheless finds the strength to succeed in killing himself in defiance of her authority and as penance for betraying McMurphy. It is telling that Bibbit succeeds by cutting his own throat when he was previously unable to succeed in the more simple task of cutting his wrists.