One flew over the cuckoos nest

Chief Bromden only begins to move towards sanity when he regains self-esteem and the ability to act upon his decisions. Discuss.

Chief Bromden had a low self-esteem because he had to deal with racism throughout his life, especially during his childhood years, and consequently made him weak. Society never treated him with the respect he deserved which made him want to hide from the "combine  by acting deaf and dumb. He has acted deaf and dumb so well that no one suspects it is an act, until McMurphy arrives. The admission of McMurphy to the institution was a catalyst for his recovery.

Bromden grew up in a small fishing village in Columbia. He had to deal with racism from ˜white' strangers outside the tribe who were overlooking the village.

"Can you imagine people wanting to live like this? 

"He bends towards me and squints and lifts his moustache up to his nose again like it is me stinking instead of the fish. 

When the strangers finished looking at the village, Bromden felt as if they had ignored him and this made him feel low.

"They get back in the car and drive away, with me standing there wondering if they ever saw me. 

This continued throughout his life in the war where people treated him with no respect and acted as if he was dumb.

"In the army anybody with more stripes acted that way towards me. 

Bromden began to get annoyed by the way society was treating him and decided to play along by acting deaf and dumb.

"It wasn't me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all. 

He was then put into a mental institution, which was ruled by the Big Nurse (Nurse Ratched) and the all-powerful ˜combine', the Chief's vision of the huge machine like organization that controls the hospital and tries to run the entire world. Nurse Ratc

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