Chief Bromden's Journey to Freedom and Sanity.
In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, the narrator, Chief Bromden, is set out on a journey to achieve sanity. The effects of patient McMurphy's strong-willed personality helped the Chief to overcome the harsh emotional treatment that has been laid on him in the past, and exposes him to the truth behind Nurse Ratched and the "Combine." Kesey portrays McMurphy as a Christ like figure throughout the novel, giving Chief the strength and hope he posses. McMurphy helps Chief grow into a strong, self-reliant character. .
In most of the novel, Chief is extremely paranoid and fearful of everything. Even though in actuality Chief is over six and a half feet tall, he considers himself small and weak. One night, when he first begins to speak to McMurphy about how he isn't big, he says, "I"m way too little. I used to be big, but no more. You"re twice the size of me." (Page 186.) Chief's lack of self-esteem is due to his mother, an overbearing white woman who contributed to ruining his father and making him into a powerless alcoholic. She, and others throughout the book (for example, the government who took away his father's land), forced Chief into invisibility. .
Chief witnessed his father waste away, as he was robbed of things he once was passionate about. On page 187, Chief talks about his father: "But he was too little anymore. And he was too drunk, too. The Combine has whipped him. It beats everybody. It"ll beat you too. They can't have somebody as big as Papa running around unless he's one of them. You can see that." Chief is scared that Nurse Ratched and the Combine will soon destroy him, as the government and mother did his father.
McMurphy takes it upon himself to make Chief "big" again by bringing to Chief's attention the way he has "grown." For instance, on page 225, ""By God, Chief," he said, "it appears to me you growed ten inches since that fishing trip.