Sometimes in life people are forced to conform to a certain situation for lack of a better alternative, and this is the case in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. These such people lack the ability to stand up for their scruples, and in turn are simply guided through their mundane lives by the powers that be. Until someone comes along offering them leadership and the prospect to become "big again." The man who does so is no other than R.P. McMurphy, and Scanlon, Harding, Bibbit, and Chief Bromden may have become adjusted to the oppressive system in which they lived, but certainly were much better adjusted to the real world and life in general after their experience with McMurphy.
Some people may argue that the people of the mental hospital were better off without McMurphy because their lives were "normal" and routine. Their daily routine guided them through a series of happenings, which were both comfortable and tolerable to them, even though as a result of this they would remain subject to the manipulative ways of Nurse Ratchet. These people would say that the "oppressive society" that they lived in may not suit everyone, but certainly suited them.
McMurphy, on the other hand, finds this setting to be suitable for no human being, and soon after arriving he sets the tone for change. " Well what they got that man strapped down for," says McMurphy, " I don't like that, no sir, it just aint dignified." By coming to the hospital he brings a sense of realism and courage to the lives of these patients. They have been longing for leadership and McMurphy won't be intimidated. "I"m thinkin" a takin" over this whole shebang," says McMurphy, and he knows in order to do this he must instill courage into the patients of the ward. .
As the reader is first introduced to the characters, they meet Harding, a middle aged man, who wears glasses and basically keeps to himself, saying only what he feels need be said.