One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Chief Bromden Character Analysis

Narrator; half Indian, 6’3 patient who has been on the ward the longest. Pretends to be deaf and dumb for the majority of his commitment. Hallucinates a thick fog that begins to wane with McMurphy’s arrival. He also begins to think more about his past, in which his Native American family was forced to sell their land to make way for a hydroelectric dam. He escapes the ward at the novel’s end after suffocating a lobotomized McMurphy.

Chief Bromden Quotes in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest quotes below are all either spoken by Chief Bromden or refer to Chief Bromden. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sanity v. Insanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest published in 2002.
Part One Quotes

Across the room from the Acutes are the culls of the Combine’s product, the Chronics. Not in the hospital, these, to get fixed, but just to keep them from walking around the streets giving the product a bad name. Chronics are in for good, the staff concedes. Chronics are divided into Walkers like me, can still get around if you keep them fed, and Wheelers and Vegetables. What the Chronics are—or most of us—are machines with flaws inside that can’t be repaired, flaws born in, or flaws beat in over so many years of the guy running head-on into solid things that by the time the hospital found him he was bleeding rust in some vacant lot.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker)
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:

In this opening description of a mental hospital, Chief Bromden describes a surreal, infernal room. The room is full of mental patients, some of them incapable of walking or talking; some, like Bromden, perfectly capable. As Bromden sees it, everyone in the mental hospital is, in some fundamental way, broken. Like everyone else in the modern world, the mental patients are manufactured by a mysterious force (essentially society) called the Combine--the only difference between a mental patient and a normal member of society is that hospital patients need to be repaired or at least kept off the streets.

In general, Bromden paints a sinister view of the hospital. It's important to note that while Bromden is talking about the hospital, everything he says can be applied to modern society in general. As Bromden sees it, human beings are being manufactured by the Combine--a potent symbol of the strong, insidious control of modern society. Humans have lost their natural life force--instead of blood and a soul, humans contain nothing but cold, sterile rust, a clear symbol of what the Chief perceives as humanity's vanished vitality.

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There’s something strange about a place where the men won’t let themselves loose and laugh, something strange about the way they all knuckle under to that smiling flour-faced old mother there with the too-red lipstick and the too-big boobs. And he thinks he’ll just wait a while to see what the story is in this new place before he makes any kind of play. That’s a good rule for a smart gambler: look the game over awhile before you draw yourself a hand.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker)
Related Symbols: Laughter, Gambling
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Chief describes the society of the mental hospital in more detail, and how McMurphy sees it. As he sees it, the society is composed of docile subservient men, submitting to the authority of the female Nurse Ratched. The passage suggests a crisis of manhood itself: instead of acting like strong, confident men, the patients act like babies, thanks to the overpowering maternal presence of the nurses.

The passage is also important in that it places a lot of emphasis on study and close observation. As the Chief says, it's important to study the game before you play yourself. (MCmurphy is an avowed gambler, so Bromden observes him "playing" here.) By the same token, we spend a lot of time "studying" the structure of hospital society before we really meet any of the characters who inhabit it. The Chief wants to show readers the basic features of life at the hospital, because it's only when we understand such features that we can truly understand the patients who live there.

You’re making sense, old man, a sense of your own. You’re not crazy the way they think.

Related Characters: Randle P. McMurphy (speaker), Chief Bromden
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

McMurphy meets Chief Bromden, his new bunk mate. The Chief refuses to speak for any reason, and everyone in the building seems to avoid him. And yet McMurphy notices Bromden right away, and regards him as wise and sensible. There's no good reason why McMurphy respects Bromden; Bromden hasn't done anything particularly brilliant or noteworthy. And yet McMurphy's quotation suggests why he's such a charismatic figure. McMurphy sees potential in everyone, regardless of how much or how little they talk.

The key words in this quotation are "a sense of your own." McMurphy doesn't claim to understand Bromden--why he's refusing to talk, for example. And yet McMurphy does acknowledge that there are many ways of looking at the world--many kinds of sense. Rather than dismiss the patients as insane, like Nurse Ratched, McMurphy celebrates the patients for their unique forms of "sense."

If somebody’d of come in and took a look, men watching a blank TV, a fifty-year –old woman hollering and squealing at the back of their heads about discipline and order and recriminations, they’d of thought the whole bunch was crazy as loons.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Nurse Ratched
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the first Part of the novel, McMurphy achieves an ambiguous victory. He's petitioned for Nurse Ratched to turn down the loud, cheesy music that plays throughout the hospital, and he's also tried to get the patients to vote to watch the baseball game on television. Nurse Ratched, reluctant to yield any power to McMurphy, has refused both of his requests. But here, McMurphy asserts his victory over Ratched by pretending that the ball game is playing on TV. Together, he and the patients yell and cheer at a blank TV screen.

In a way, McMurphy is doing what he's always done--using humor and satire to undermine Ratched's authority. Ratched thinks that she can use her power to crush McMurphy's spirit, but here, McMurphy proves her dead-wrong--he's more than capable of keeping his spirits up, even if the authorities deny him TV.

The final comment of the passage also emphasizes how Kesey blends the ideas of sanity and insanity in the book. Everyone in the ward is supposed to be "insane" except for the "sane" nurses, but in this case it's only when the patients are acting very lucid and rebellious that they really look "insane," and Nurse Ratched looks just as insane as any of them.

Part Two Quotes

They’re trying to act like they still got their eyes on nothing but that blank TV in front of us, but anyone can see they’re all sneaking looks at the Big Nurse behind her glass there, just the same as I am. For the first time she’s on the other side of the glass and getting a taste of how it feels to be watched when you wish more than anything else to be able to pull a green shade between your face and all the eyes that you can’t get away from.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Nurse Ratched
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

Immediately following McMurphy's act of disobedience, there's a clear change in the atmosphere of the hospital. The mental patients, who are used to being constantly looked at by Nurse Ratched and her colleagues, find themselves staring back at Ratched. Nurse Ratched, Bromden imagines, isn't really used to having so many people stare at her. Trivial as it might seem, the patients' surveillance of Nurse Ratched constitutes an act of rebellion--it shows that McMurphy is teaching the patients to think of Nurse Ratched as "just another person," not a demigod from whom they must avert their eyes at all times.

It's also significant that Bromden conceives of the patients' act of rebellion as a rebellion of vision. Bromden is haunted by the possibility that he's being watched at all times--surveyed by the agents of the Combine. It's only appropriate, then, that the Chief conceives of the patients' rebellion as an act of retaliatory surveillance.

There was times that week when I’d hear that full-throttled laugh, watch [McMurphy] scratching his belly and stretching and yawning and leaning back to wink at whoever he was joking with, everything coming to him just as natural as drawing breath, and I’d quit worrying about the Big Nurse and the Combine behind her. I’d think he was strong enough being his own self that he would never back down the way she was hoping he would. I’d think, maybe he truly is something extraordinary. He’s what he is, that’s it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is. The Combine hasn’t got to him in all these years; what makes the nurse think she’s gonna be able to do it in a few weeks? He’s not gonna let them twist him and manufacture him.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Nurse Ratched
Related Symbols: Laughter
Page Number: 139-140
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Chief Bromden is beginning to see McMurphy as a hero. For Bromden, the world is firmly under the power of the Combine--the mysterious, dangerous force of mechanization and industry that controls all human beings. Bromden himself is the prisoner of the Combine--that's why he doesn't talk. And yet Bromden recognizes that McMurphy doesn't seem to be under the influence of the Combine at all. While other men are quiet and docile, since the Combine has crushed the life force out of them, McMurphy is bright and lively, an exemplar of the life force. Somehow, Bromden thinks, McMurphy hasn't allowed the Combine to destroy him.

While McMurphy himself probably wouldn't understand what the Chief was talking about, it's clear enough that he embodies a certain kind of strength and self-confidence that is sadly lacking in the hospital, and perhaps in society as a whole. In other words, the passage clarifies the point McMurphy made earlier about Bromden having his own "kind of sense." Bromden's descriptions of the Combine might not be true, literally, but they have a kind of poetic truth about them.

In the group meetings there were gripes coming up that had been buried so long the thing being griped about had already changed. Now that McMurphy was around to back them up, the guys started letting fly at everything that had ever happened on the ward they didn’t like.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we see the effect that McMurphy's presence has had on the group dynamic during hospital therapy sessions. Where before the group therapy sessions were quiet and useless, presided over by a calm Nurse Ratched, now they have become wild and argumentative. The men have been repressed in their frustrations for so long that they're glad to have an opportunity to "air grievances." And beyond dealing with current problems, they also talk about problems that they had long ago, but never had the courage to discuss.

It's possible to interpret the new dynamic of the therapy sessions as dangerous and pointless--as Bromden notes, the patients aren't really addressing problems that can be solved at all, because they happened so long ago. And yet the patients' airing of grievances does serve a useful purpose: it allows them to vent the frustration that's been building up inside them for years. So even if the patients' complaints aren't in themselves "useful," they pave the way for more productive and satisfying conversations in the future.

EST isn’t always used for punitive measures, as our nurse uses it, and it isn’t pure sadism on the staff’s part, either. A number of supposed Irrecoverables were brought back into contact with shock, just as a number were helped with lobotomy and leucotomy. Shock treatment has some advantages; it’s cheap, quick, entirely painless. It simply induces a seizure.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

Harding describes the use of electroshock therapy (EST) at the hospital. EST is sometimes used to punish unruly patients. It's also used to "cure" them of their supposed problems--patients have supposedly been brought back into consciousness with the help of shock therapy.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has played a large role in demonizing EST in popular culture—and EST certainly used to be used inhumanely and excessively in many institutions—but it is still used in some cases today, and has proven effective for many issues. (Harding gives a slightly nuanced view on the subject here, although throughout the book EST is shown as a "punitive measure," as he describes it.) Treatments like lobotomies and leucotomies, however, are entirely ineffective and horrifying in the personality changes they induce.

McMurphy doesn’t know it, but he’s onto what I realized a long time back, that it’s not just the Big Nurse by herself, but it’s the whole Combine, the nation-wide Combine that’s the really big force, and the nurse is just a high-ranking official for them.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Nurse Ratched
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, McMurphy prepares to defy the authority of Nurse Ratched one more time. He's angry that Ratched has punished the men for their disobedience by taking away their rec room--in retaliation, he's planning to shock Ratched and undermine her power. As always, Bromden interprets McMurphy's actions in his own terms--terms like "Combine," "fog," etc.

Although it's hard to take everything the Chief says literally, his words clearly have a metaphorical truth. It's been clear for some time that the hospital in the novel is a microcosm for modern American society--a society in which people's vitality is taken and they're forced to accept the identities society gives them. So when Bromden says that Nurse Ratched is only one small part of the total "Combine," we can't help but agree: Ratched is just a metaphor for the mechanization (and, as Kesey portrays it, the emasculation) of social order.

Part Three Quotes

They could sense the change that most of us were only suspecting; these weren’t the same bunch of weak-knees from a nuthouse that they’d watched take their insults on the dock this morning. They didn’t exactly apologize to the girl for the things they’d said, but when they ask to see a fish she’d caught they were just as polite as pie. And when McMurphy and the captain came back out of the bait shop we all shared a beer together before we drove away.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Candy Starr
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

McMurphy and his fellow patients at the hospital have left the hospital with supervisors (and a prostitute named Candy) and gone on a fishing trip. During the course of the excursion, Bromden notices an enormous change in the patients’ attitudes. They’re more relaxed and easygoing, and seem not to think of themselves as mentally diseased in any way. As a way of “measuring” the change in the patients, Bromden notes the way the dock workers who point McMurphy to the boat perceive the patients—instead of considering the patients oafish and ridiculous, they seem to think of the patients as "normal" people.

The normality of the fishing excursion culminates in the “sharing of a beer”—just about the most normal activity one can engage in in the United States. The message is clear: by treating his peers as ordinary, normal human beings, not specimens needing examination, McMurphy has cured them of many of their supposed psychological afflictions.

Part Four Quotes

[Nurse Ratched] knew that people, being like they are, sooner or later are going to draw back a ways from somebody who seems to be giving a little more than ordinary, form Santa Clauses and missionaries and men donating funds to worthy causes, and begin to wonder: what’s in it for them? Grin out of the side of their mouths when the young lawyer, say, brings a sack of pecans to the kids in his district school—just before nominations for state senate, the sly devil—and say to one another, He’s nobody’s fool.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Nurse Ratched
Related Symbols: Gambling
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

Nurse Ratched tries a shady strategy for wearing away at McMurphy’s authority. Instead of trying to censor him or punish him, she tries to convince his army of followers—i.e., the patients—that he doesn’t have their best interests at heart. Ratched implies that McMurphy is only trying to steal the patients’ money, and that he’s only humoring the patients, pretending to treat them normally so that they'll gamble with him. As Bromden notes here, Ratched’s attack is clever, because humans naturally question generosity of any kind—they ask themselves why the other person is being so generous and cheerful, and tend to assume that such a person is in fact selfish.

It’s fair to say that Ratched has a point: McMurphy is no saint, to say the least, and he has in fact been conning the patients out of their money. And yet Ratched’s attack totally misses the point: McMurphy is a charismatic leader to the other patients because he treats them as normal human beings. Ratched, who’s used to treating the patients as children, can’t conceive of a situation in which McMurphy treats his peers as adults. So even if McMurphy is conning the other hospital patients, his status as a therapeutic and normalizing force among patients hasn’t changed.

I still had my own notions—how McMurphy was a giant come out of the sky to save us from the Combine that was networking the land with copper wire and crystal, how he was too big to be bothered with something as measly as money—but even I came halfway to thinking like the others. What happened was this: He’d helped carry the tables into the tub room before one of the group meetings and was looking at me standing beside the control panel.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy
Related Symbols: Gambling, The Control Panel
Page Number: 231
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Chief Bromden expresses some of his doubts about McMurphy’s character. Nurse Ratched has just implied that McMurphy is treating the other patients as “suckers,” winning away all their money in card games. Bromden doesn’t fully believe Ratched’s suggestions—he likes McMurphy too much to do so—and yet he does consider the possibility that McMurphy is just a con artist; Ratched’s implication by itself is enough to incriminate McMurphy, even in the eyes of the Chief, perhaps his most loyal follower.

And yet the passage illustrates the full extent of McMurphy’s worth in Bromden’s eyes. As Bromden sees it, McMurphy is a liberator, here in the hospital to save the patients from Ratched’s authority, and from the authority of the sinister, tyrannical Combine. The point here isn’t that Bromden is right or wrong about McMurphy (it’s entirely possible that McMurphy is just a con artist, with no great plans of crushing Ratched’s authority or battling injustice). What counts is that Bromden believes that he’s found a role model in McMurphy; whether or not McMurphy ultimately measures up to Bromden’s worship, he’s inspiring Bromden to escape from the hospital.

I tried to talk to [McMurphy] into playing along with [Nurse Ratched] so’s to get out of the treatments, but he just laughed and told me Hell, all they was doin’ was chargin’ his battery for him, free for nothing.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Nurse Ratched
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:

Chief Bromden, now McMurphy’s closest ally, tries to convince McMurphy to back off of intimidating Nurse Ratched. McMurphy and Bromden have been given the dreaded EST—shock therapy that gives them a seizure. Bromden has been terrified by his experiences with EST, and wants McMurphy to avoid having to receive the treatment in the future.

McMurphy, as tenacious as ever, refuses to back down. By this point in the novel, he’s decided that Nurse Ratched can’t defeat him. Even though he was previously worried that Ratched would use her authority to confine him to the hospital forever, he’s now more concerned about undermining her authority for its own sake. In another sense, McMurphy is trying to assert his own identity—masculine, strong, charismatic—instead of devolving into a docile, demure child.

She tried to get her ward back into shape, but it was difficult with McMurphy’s presence still tromping up and down the halls and laughing out loud in the meetings and singing in the latrines. She couldn’t rule with her old power any more, not by writing things on pieces of paper. She was losing her patients one after the other. After Harding signed out and was picked up by his wife, and George transferred to a different ward, just three of us were left out of the group that had been on the fishing crew, myself and Martini and Scanlon.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Nurse Ratched, Dale Harding, George Sorenson, Martini, Scanlon
Related Symbols: Laughter
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

After McMurphy attacks Nurse Ratched, her authority is broken forever. McMurphy is severely punished for his actions, as we’ll see. And yet by attacking Nurse Ratched, he accomplishes exactly what he wanted to: he liberates the patients of the hospital from Nurse Ratched’s tyranny. Like many a martyr, McMurphy is more powerful absent than present: in person McMurphy was a threat to Ratched’s power; now that he’s been sent away, the idea of McMurphy acts as a constant, 24/7 attack on Ratched.

The effects of Nurse Ratched’s loss of power are obvious: her patients leave. One by one, they regain certainty that they can control their own lives, and don’t need Ratched telling them what to do. Some, such as the Chief himself, remain behind, but by and large it’s clear that Ratched can no longer convince her subjects to obey her.

I was only sure of one thing: [McMurphy] wouldn’t have left something like that sit there in the day room with his name tacked on it for twenty or thirty years so the Big Nurse could use it as an example of what can happen if you buck the system. I was sure of that.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy, Nurse Ratched
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Bromden comes face-to-face with the new McMurphy, who has been lobotomized as punishment for attacking the nurses. Bromden immediately recognizes what Nurse Ratched is aiming for: by lobotomizing McMurphy and then sending him back to his old hospital ward, Ratched is desperately trying to salvage her sinking authority. By parading McMurphy's lobotomized self around, Ratched is showing the other patients what happens to people who disobey her. McMurphy's fate, it seems, is to be a frightening reminder of why it's crucial to obey Ratched's authority. Notice that Bromden refers to the new McMurphy as an “it,” not a “he.” Bromden doesn’t really think of “McMurphy” as a human being at all any more: even though McMurphy’s body is intact, his mind (and, even more important, his indomitable spirit) is long-gone. McMurphy is as good as dead—the only question is, what will become of the body?

The big, hard body had a tough grip on life. It fought a long time against having it taken away, flailing and thrashing around so much I finally had to lie full length on top of it and scissor the kicking legs with mine while I mashed the pillow into the face. I lay there on top of the body for what seemed days. Until the thrashing stopped. Until it was still a while and had shuddered once and was still again. Then I rolled off. I lifted the pillow, and in the moonlight I saw the expression hadn’t changed from the blank, dead-end look the least bit, even under suffocation. I took my thumbs and pushed the lids down and held them till they stayed. Then I lay back on my bed.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker), Randle P. McMurphy
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final pages of the novel, McMurphy is lobotomized for disobeying Nurse Ratched, and then returned to his old hospital ward. The Chief, horrified that his old friend has been reduced to a vegetable, decides to take matters into his own hands, literally: he kills McMurphy by smothering him to death. The Chief can’t stand to see McMurphy being defeated and manipulated—his lobotomization proves that Nurse Ratched has finally crushed McMurphy’s spirit (the very thing McMurphy was always most afraid of).

There’s also a more subtle side to Bromden’s actions in this quotation: by killing McMurphy, Bromden allows his old hero to die in a blaze of glory instead of being seen by the patients, his former followers. McMurphy the vegetable would be a piece of propaganda for Ratched: “Do as I say or you’ll get what he got.” Dead, McMurphy can continue to be a symbol of resistance to Nurse Ratched: he’ll live on, as wild and charismatic as he ever was.

I been away a long time.

Related Characters: Chief Bromden (speaker)
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the novel, Chief Bromden, having mercy-killed McMurphy, escapes from his mental hospital and returns to the Outside World he’s feared for years. The Chief always had the strength to escape from the hospital; what he lacked was the willpower. Now that McMurphy is dead, Bromden knows that he owes it to McMurphy to escape the nurses’ authority—to be as lively and courageous as McMurphy would have been.

Outside the hospital, Bromden is strangely casual—indeed, the final sentence of the novel, quoted here, sounds surprisingly laid back, as if Bromden is looking around, trying to decide where to visit first. For many years, Bromden was too neurotic to leave the hospital; now, though, he’s seemingly been freed of his neuroses. The quotation suggests that Bromden’s imprisonment in the hospital was itself what kept him mentally ill; in other words, the hospital perpetuated Bromden’s mental problems instead of curing them. In all, the final sentence of the novel conveys a quiet optimism: Bromden has been asleep, and now he’s waking up, ready to live a long life in McMurphy’s memory.

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Chief Bromden Character Timeline in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The timeline below shows where the character Chief Bromden appears in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
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The book begins with the narrator, Chief Bromden, waking up early within the psychiatric ward in Oregon where he has spent the past... (full context)
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Nurse Ratched, also known as the “Big Nurse”, enters the ward. Bromden knows it’s her by the way the key turns, and cold air follows her inside.... (full context)
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Nurse Ratched composes herself. Bromden describes her face as being precisely made, like a doll, with everything seemingly working except... (full context)
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Nurse Ratched proposes that to get a good start to Monday the aides should shave Bromden. He quickly hides in a mop closet. He tries to think back to where he... (full context)
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Bromden promises that the story he is about to tell will burn him like a dog... (full context)
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Bromden wakes in the dayroom as the fog is beginning to clear. He knows he wasn’t... (full context)
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...one already at the courthouse. The patients can only hear his loud voice, which reminds Bromden of his father’s once booming voice. McMurphy laughs, for no identifiable reason, and Bromden realizes... (full context)
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McMurphy scans the room, which Bromden then describes. It’s filled with Acutes (curables) and Chronics (vegetables). A logbook is kept by... (full context)
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...over. Billy says he supposes it’s Dale Harding, the president of the Patient’s Council who Bromden notes has effeminate good looks suited for the silver screen. McMurphy and Harding exchange joking... (full context)
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...McMurphy goes around the room and shakes all of the Chronics’ hands, to everyone’s surprise. Bromden is the last one, and he feels that McMurphy can tell he’s not deaf and... (full context)
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Bromden relates how strictly Nurse Ratched runs her ward. He believes that she’s part of a... (full context)
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Bromden believes that the psych ward is a factory for the Combine. It’s purpose is to... (full context)
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...democratically where votes are taken by the patients to decide on problems that need solving. Bromden says he’s heard these rules a million times. The doctor compares it to a small... (full context)
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...men are sent by Nurse Ratched for electrotherapy if they don’t behave. Harding points to Bromden sweeping in a corner and says that Bromden is now just a cleaning machine after... (full context)
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Bromden believes that Nurse Ratched has the power to set the clock at any speed to... (full context)
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...down but Harding says that’s the kind of behavior that will get him shock treatment. Bromden, as if in a trance, watches McMurphy while he plays blackjack with the patients—winning tremendously,... (full context)
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McMurphy is given a bed next to Bromden, and as they are preparing for sleep he talks to Bromden. Bromden doesn’t take his... (full context)
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That night Bromden suffers from a nightmare/hallucination where the hospital is a slaughterhouse and Old Blastic is attached... (full context)
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...against policy to give it to him this early, he brushes his teeth with soap. Bromden tries to hide his smile as he mops in the same place he did the... (full context)
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...adds pennies to the game to raise the stakes so it’s more of a gamble. Bromden notes that McMurphy is making a very conscious effort not to lose his temper with... (full context)
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Bromden recalls the old hospital where there was no television, swimming pools or chicken served twice... (full context)
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The group meeting begins and Bromden feels the fog starting to thicken in the room, which he believes Nurse Ratched turned... (full context)
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McMurphy proposes another vote about watching the World Series, and Bromden watches as all twenty Acutes raise their hands. Nurse Ratched responds that the proposal is... (full context)
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...at them for breaking the rules. McMurphy wins his bet about making Ratched lose control. Bromden says anyone looking in would think the whole room was filled with lunatics. (full context)
Part Two
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...aides are watching Nurse Ratched after her outburst while she sits in the nurse’s station. Bromden notes that the fog has disappeared. He remembers he’s supposed to clean the staff room... (full context)
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...as he can over the next week. McMurphy hardly cleans the toilets at all, and Bromden notes there really wasn’t that much cleaning going on by the patients anywhere that week.... (full context)
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Bromden feels comforted by McMurphy’s ease, and feels as though the Combine doesn’t have the power... (full context)
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...is playing a long con against Nurse Ratched, and that’s why he didn’t speak up—but Bromden heard him speaking with the lifeguard and knows the truth. Bromden thinks that McMurphy is... (full context)
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...and asks if Nurse Ratched is just going to let him suffer out of spite. Bromden notes that Nurse Ratched knows, like everyone else on the ward knows, that Sefelt refuses... (full context)
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...back to the ward across the grounds, McMurphy lags behind the others, smoking a cigarette. Bromden drops back to walk with him, wanting to tell him not to worry. McMurphy asks... (full context)
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Nurse Ratched ends the discussion. McMurphy shrugs and stretches as he stands up. Bromden says he can see it’s too late to stop McMurphy from whatever he’s going to... (full context)
Part Three
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Bromden wants to sign up but he doesn’t have the money and also doesn’t want to... (full context)
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Soon after, Geever, a night aide, wakes Bromden and McMurphy as he scrapes off gum from under Bromden’s bed. As Bromden pretends to... (full context)
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...mean things that everyone else had said about them, causing an uproar. McMurphy wonders if Bromden is doing the same thing, but Bromden says he’s too “little” to do something like... (full context)
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McMurphy responds that Bromden is physically huge, but Bromden says he inherited his size from his father, a Chief,... (full context)
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Bromden feels a sudden warmth towards McMurphy where he wants to touch him just because he’s... (full context)
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Before Bromden can act, McMurphy says Bromden should come on the fishing trip. Bromden says he’s broke.... (full context)
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...just watches and laughs. The patients look foolish trying to reel in their fish, and Bromden cuts his thumb. McMurphy can’t stop laughing, and Bromden realizes it’s because he knows that... (full context)
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...car to look at the halibut he caught. Only McMurphy stays behind, saying he’s tired. Bromden notes that on the way back to the ward they had taken a detour at... (full context)
Part Four
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Bromden says he never felt suspicious about McMurphy until an event with the control panel. McMurphy... (full context)
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...putrid salve. McMurphy loses his temper and gets into a fistfight with the aides, and Bromden joins in on the fight. At the fight’s end, all of the patients are congratulating... (full context)
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Bromden and McMurphy are assigned beds next to each other, but Bromden isn’t tied down. He... (full context)
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...that “those Chinese Commies could have learned a few things from you, lady.” McMurphy and Bromden are sent to the Shock Shop. McMurphy doesn’t seem afraid, so Bromden resolves not to... (full context)
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...the cross-shaped table without help, and asks if he’ll receive a complimentary “crown of thorns.” Bromden watches McMurphy receive treatment, and out of instinct tries to escape and struggles against the... (full context)
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...old spark in him would return, Nurse Ratched would come up and order another round. Bromden tries to talk McMurphy into playing along so they’ll stop the treatments, but McMurphy jokes... (full context)
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...nearly ready to go, but he wants to do it with all the red tape. Bromden says he doesn’t know where he wants to go yet. Harding promises McMurphy that the... (full context)
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...morning staff gets to the ward. Turkle falls asleep, though, and the aides discover everyone. Bromden says that what happens next was inevitable, whether McMurphy had escaped or not. Even if... (full context)
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...Charles Cheswick. She accuses McMurphy of playing God. She heads back to the nurse’s station. Bromden watches McMurphy and says he knows that there is nothing that could have stopped him... (full context)
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...George Sorenson transferred. After a few weeks, only three of the fishing crew were left: Bromden, Martini, and Scanlon (full context)
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...reading “Lobotomy.” The men don’t believe that it’s him at first; he’s a complete vegetable. Bromden was sure that McMurphy would never have his name attached to a body stored like... (full context)
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Following Scanlon’s advice that he should run, Bromden lifts the control panel and throws it through the window. He can hear aides running... (full context)