Billy Bibbit: Billy Bibbit is a thirty-one-year-old Acute. He has been tormented by a stutter all his life, and he is very immature. When he proposed to his girlfriend, he stuttered trying to say the word “marry,” until the girl burst out laughing. On the fishing trip, he falls in love with Candy, and McMurphy gets Candy to come to the ward at night so that Billy can make love to her.
Old Blastic: Old Blastic is one of the patients in the ward. He is classified by the Chief as a Vegetable, and he dies early on in the novel.
Cheswick: Cheswick is an Acute who is quick to support McMurphy in standing up to the Big Nurse. Cheswick is all talk and bluster, however, and he soon backs down when he sees he is not getting anywhere. He drowns in the pool after McMurphy fails to support him when he demands his cigarettes from the Big Nurse. His death may be a suicide, although that is not stated explicitly.
Ellis: Ellis is a Chronic. Originally he was an Acute, but he was given treatment in the “Shock Shop” that destroyed his brain. He is nailed against the wall with his arms outstretched (at least this is how the Chief sees him).
Frederickson: Frederickson, like Seefelt, is an epileptic. He is scared of having a fit, so he takes a double dose of medicine—his own and Seefelt’s. The medicine makes his gums rot.
George: George is an Acute. He is a shy man who is obsessed with cleanliness. He was a professional fisherman for twenty-five years, and McMurphy makes him captain of the boat on their fishing trip. George’s fear of receiving an enema is what sparks the fight between McMurphy and Washington.
Dale Harding: Dale Harding is the most articulate of the Acutes. Before McMurphy arrives, he is their leader, being president of the Patient’s Council. Harding has a college degree and is well read. However, he has an effeminate manner, and his hands are feminine-looking. He is embarrassed by this and often tries to conceal them. Harding is dominated by his wife, and there are strong hints that he is a homosexual. He has voluntarily entered the psychiatric ward.
The Lifeguard: The Lifeguard is an ex-pro-footballer who is on the Disturbed ward. He often has hallucinations, and has been a patient in the hospital for nearly nine years.
Martini: Martini is an Acute. He lives in his own illusory, fantasy world. During the basketball game, for example, he passes the ball to imaginary players that only he can see, and on the fishing trip he sees things in the water that no one else can.
Colonel Matterson: Colonel Matterson is the oldest Chronic on the ward. A World War II veteran, he was committed to the hospital by his wife.
Randle P. McMurphy: Randle P. McMurphy is the main character in the novel. He is thirty-five years old, strongly built, with red hair, a scar on his face and tattoos on his body. He enters the ward having been transferred from a work farm, where he was serving a short sentence for assault. He has been diagnosed as a psychopath, but he is not really insane. McMurphy is outgoing and uninhibited. He is not the least intimidated by the oppressive atmosphere in the ward, or by the Big Nurse. He laughs and jokes a lot, and makes little secret of the fact that he is a gambler and con man. He is able to talk easily to the