McMurphy also rapidly came to the conclusion during his arrival at the ward, that Nurse Ratched pulls the strings. She is characterized as very stiff and controlling and displays a frightening cruelty to inflict fear into her patients. First signs of McMurphys defiance towards the ward and more in particular, nurse ratched, was when nurses ordered McMurphy to take a shower but McMurphy states Im already plenty damn clean, thank you (Kesey. 10). Later, McMurphy is asked to be patient for the toothpaste, he gets irritated so he decides to brush his teeth with soap. McMurphy attempts to defy Nurse Ratcheds authority to be the dominant force. Nurse ratched on the other hand, understands what kind of patient McMurphy is, and she knows the techniques to calm his rebellion against her.
She makes him understand that she can keep him at the ward however long she wants and give him any kind of medicine he wants. McMurphy, understanding the power that Nurse Ratched has, decided to take a different approach to control the ward. He begins to build trust with the patients, such as when he plays cards with them, Nurse Ratched understands this concept as well, as she uses the tactic of inflicting fear in her patients, mostly during group meeting and sessions, to control the patients and the ward. The patients are lead to role confusion and are at cross roads on what side to take, which plays a huge role in the power struggle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched.
The patients have been under the influence of Nurse Ratched for a long period of time. Nurse Ratched has controlled the patients and has convinced them to live under her rules. McMurphy believes that the treatment given to the patients are below bar and he illustrates to them that they are worth more then the treatment they are given. He shows them how much they are really worth by taking them on a fishing trip. McMurphy lays back as he lets the patients go to work, as he wants them to believe they have more worth then they know and that they are smart and have integrity. McMurphy is manipulating their trust.
Nurse ratched still believes in her harsh controlling ways as she decided after the fishing trip to force the patients to take a group shower to clean the filth of them. She attempted to make them feel ashamed and emasculated. McMurphy though steadily kept gaining trust between patients for example, when Mcurphy got into a fight in the shower room, Bromden helped McMurphy, protecting him from get beaten up. Even though there consequences were severe, McMurphy had gained trust of the patients, but Nurse Ratched kept penalizing McMurphy to an extent of madness for McMurphy. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched use manipulation to control the patients of the ward. Even though McMurphy dies at the end of the novel, he won the battle between Nurse Ratched of gaining control of the ward, and his message to the patients changed them.