"He's shown us what a little bravado and courage could accomplish, and we thought he'd taught us how to use it. All the way to the coast we had fun pretending to be brave. When people at a stop light would stare at us and our green uniforms we'd do just like he did, sit up straight and strong and tough-looking and put a big grin on our face and stare straight back at them till their motors died and their windows sunstreaked and they were left sitting when the light changed, upset bad by what a tough bunch of monkeys was just now not three feet from them, and help nowhere in sight."
Bromden sees society as a great Combine that chews up those that do not function as "normal" people. Through him we see the way that other patients were unable to fit due to a myriad of issues and who have their spirits raised and dashed by the coming of McMurphy. McMurphy uses them at the same time tries to help them, and although his motives seem to be almost all selfish, he does seem to be working for the good of those on the ward. In the end McMurphy cannot escape the Combine now that he is in the ward anymore than the rest of them can.
"Yes. This is what I know. The ward is a factory for the Combine. It's fixing up the mistakes made in the neighborhoods and in the schools and in the churches, the hospital is.When a complete product goes back out into society, all fixed up and good as new, better than new sometimes, it brings joy to the Big Nurse's heart; something that came in all twisted different is now a functioning adjusted component, a credit to the whole outfit and a marvel to behold."
There is a reason this book is on lists of great books. I highly suggest it. I really want to check the movie out and see how it compares up. Has anyone seen it?