Summary and Analysis Part 1: There's Long Spells



McMurphy's next battle with Ratched concerns allowing the patients to watch the World Series. Because the games are telecast during the ward's non-regulation television viewing time, McMurphy requests that the time be altered. Ratched refuses at first, then allows a vote of the patients. The other Acutes are afraid to vote against Nurse Ratched's wishes, however. After losing the vote, McMurphy says he and Charles Cheswick are going to break out a window in order to go to town to visit a bar and watch the game.

The patients bet that McMurphy can't lift a large control panel to throw through the window. He loses the bet, but tells the other patients that at least he tried.


McMurphy's bet with the patients is one he knows he's sure to lose, but by losing he will win their trust that he's not always motivated by self-interest. By taking the bet, he displays to the patients that it is better to try something and fail rather than not try at all.