Quotes

  • “But it’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen” (13).
  • "There's not m-much else he can do, I guess. He's deaf." Billy put his chin in his hands. "If I was d-d-deaf"--he sighed--"I would kill myself" (24).
  • "Like a cartoon world, where the figures are flat and outlined in black, jerking through some kind of goofy story that might be real funny if it weren't for the cartoon figures being real guys..." (33).
  • "...you can never tell when just that certain one might come in who's free enough to foul things up right and left, really make a hell of a mess and constitute a threat to the whole smoothness of the outfit" (41).
  • "Doctor"--he stands up to his full height, wrinkles his forehead, and holds out both arms, open and honest to all the wide world--"do I look like a sane man?" (47).
  • "Well, sir, win a few, lose the rest is what I say" (82).
  • "...things as crazy as a big machine room down in the bowels of a dam where people get cut up by robot workers don't exist. But if they don't exist, how can a man see them?" (90).
  • "Why, you couldn't pay me to leave this place!" (103).
  • 106-107, "Everybody in the ward can feel its started."
  • On page 145, the cheif reflects, "they'd of thought the whole bunch was as crazy as loons".
  • "I'd think maybe he truly is extraordinary. He's what he is, that's it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is"(161)
  • "Not many commitments in the whole hospital. No, not many at all" -Harding pg 194
  • "What can you pay for what a man is? They didn't understand." (187)
  • "I had to keep acting deaf if I wanted to hear at all." (178).
  • "...and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down" (185).
  • "I can understand it with some of those old guys on the ward. They're nuts. But you, you're not exactly the everyday man on the street, but you're not nuts" (195).
  • "The doctor's lying made us feel worse than ever -- not becasue of the lie, so much, but because of the truth." (200)
  • "'That wasn't a bug,' the guy said... 'that was a bird.' Martini called all the way from the other car that it couldn't of been a bird. 'There'd be feathers and bones if it was a bird.'" (202)
  • "All that five thousand kids lived in those five thousand houses, owned by those guys that got off the train... the only one they noticed was the little kid at the end of the whip... he wasn't able to open up and laugh either. It's a hard thing to laugh if you can feel the pressure of those beams coming from every new car that passes, or every new house you pass." (204).
  • "There is generally one person in every situation you must never underestimate the power of" (215).
  • "Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become" (238).
  • "Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you to keep yourself in balance just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy" (250).
  • "Crazy like a fox," she said. "I believe that is what you're trying to say about Mr. McMurphy" (264).
  • "You birds act like I'm a traitor to my country" (269).
  • "My skull's too thick for them to hurt me. And if they can't hurt me they can't hurt you" (282).
  • "I can't speak for them," Harding said. "They've still got their problems, just like all of us. They're still sick men in lots of ways. But at least there's that: they are sick men. No more rabbits, Mack. Maybe they can be swell men someday" (307).