Bromden is a very conservative yet diverse character. In “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, Ken Kesey depicts Bromden as an inconfident, shallow man with great hidden potenial that only shines when he is pushed. Many reasons of his flaws and triumphs can be seen through out the book. There are several sources of Bromden’s shortcomings that contribute to him being seen as shallow. One of which being his overly abrasive childhood. When his tribe and family lost land to richer people who needed it for monetary purposes, he had an emotional drop.
But when his dad, who was the chief of the very large and modern Indian tribe, lost power due to the land lose, Bromden was truly broughy into an unexpected state of depression at a very young age. ” (Telgen 222)
His dad’s sadness and disappointment seemed to stack on to his emotions causing him to collapse. It’s derived of those emotions he later suppressed that he hit a major road bump in his older life.
“Since he never truly let out his pent up feelings, Bromden developed a need to be alienated as far as way as possible from any form of attention thus causing him to fake being deaf and dumb. (Telgen 222) Also, this lead him to become obedient of the black boys on the ward he resides on. It made him feel intimidated to do what ever they commanded, regardless of how demeaning. The pressure of the Combine it’s self seemed to have a drastic effect on him also.
The way the fog machine designed by the Big Nurse caused him to become “lost”. It pulled him from reality and into a dream-like state of mind he felt was unbareable. The black boys mentioned earlier also caused him grief. The way they bullied him and called him “Chief Broom-den” didn’t help with his mental recovery in any way, shape, or form.
Bromden also changed over the course of the story and not just from McMurphy’s tactics. He had many reasons to alter. Above all other reasons, he had the desire to change . Without this ongoing, yet admittingly diminished flame, he would of never regained his former glory. While this may seem insignificant to others, one’s will can definitely be a factor in his or her development as a person. His thurst for freedom was a vital key in his change, tying into his desire for changer. His motives were simple. For him to feel truly free, he wanted to further himself from the Combine as much as he could.
There was only one way to accomplish this successfully. He had to escape the ward. Another component to him feeling of complete freedom was to be as “big” and “tall” as he once was before the ward, the war, and his tribe and dad’s downfall. Back when he was stronger both mentally and physically. This ties into another reason for his development. It was remembering these good times that he found the strength to alter himself. Like, for instance, the way he used to laugh and be happy with friends and family way back when.
He remembered this segment of happiness when he participated in the party McMurphy had on the ward that one faithful night. He also wanted to be as athletic as he was before (somewhat synonmous to his desire to be big and tall). These sets on reasons overall helped him overcome his extensive period of depression and fear. There are also reasons why Bromden was so shallow in the first place and wanted to change himself. One of them being the pressure he felt from society and the people around him. The manner at which people assumed he was deaf and dumb made him feel lesser. Since he was already a quiet person in general, he figured if he just acted like what they wanted him to be or saw him as, maybe they’d leave him alone more. ” (Telgen 222) Though this was somewhat true, it still caused him great grief forcing him further into a “pool” of depression and insecurity. This never caused him to fully collapse, suprisingly, to the point that the Combine could “take him over. ” The way the Combine is preceived is that it’s supposed to take people like Bromden and turn them into nothing more than mindless cogs to help the murderous machine he sees it as grow stronger and bigger.
Knowing this, Bromden attempts to keep a strong will but begins to think he’s only fooling himself. The pressure of not conforming pushes Bromden away from the Combine but drew him further and further into the shallow abyss of his enigmatic sorrow. Another contribution to his shallowness is his supressed childhood memories. “The fact that he never openly let out his feelings about his father’s plummet in status and emotions caused him to feel deep regret. ” (Telgen 222) His father was an idol for him that whom he constantly looked up to. When it all hit the fan, he wasn’t sure how to take it.
The only way he could figure out how to cope with it was by sulking and pittying himself and his father. He also had a memory from when he went to a fabric factory for a school trip and met a girl who worked there. He liked talking to her. He missed being able to speak with someone as openly as he spoke with her. Remembering times like this is what caused him to become very shallow in the first place. But a fairly larger addition to his shallowness cam from the Big Nurse. The Big Nurse ran the ward with an iron fist that no one thought was possible to break or unfold.
What bothered Bromden was her use of reverse psychology and hidden treachery to get under the skin of the patients so that she could slowly break them down from the inside out. It hurt him to see it in action even if he did display no sense of caring what happens anybody. The way she took advangtage of their weaknesses and picked at their imperfections only caused more and more grief for both Bromden and the patients. Her other method of “destruction” was her dispensing of the mind controlling fog via fog machine.
It made Bromden lose himself and dettach from reality (stated earlier) in such a way that he lose confidence in his ability to stay himself and stay sane to the degree that he was. All of these examples pool into Bromden’s cause of self-pitty and shallowness. While Bromden did have sources of sorrow he also had sources of happiness. Though on the ward and within the gut of the Combine, he did find ways to keep himself joyous and entertained. One large boost was the help he received from McMurphy. “The way McMurphy treated Bromden as an equal helped Bromden feel as though he is as normal and stable as anyone else. (Kesey 189,190) He became more sure of himself and confident in his abilities. He felt he was one step closer to freedom. “ McMurphy’s training helped not only build Bromden’s positive emotions but also his character and even his stature. ” (Macky 4710,4711)
This reconstrution process made Bromden feel the hope that he once thought died inside of him along with his will. It showed him that there is an alternative to just giving in. It showed him maybe he can be truly free one day. The fishing trip really made Bromden happy, also. “It gave him a memorable experience outside of the ever constricting grasp of the ward. (Macky 4710) It let him speak as freely as he did in his past. Times like this make him glad that McMurphy never backs down to the Big Nurse and her rules and intimidation techniques. Above all, it made him feel like a man again. With the way the ward held him down, he felt much lesser than he did on that trip. “Another addition to his happiness was the party on the ward planned by McMurphy and the others for Billy and Candy. ” (Macky 4711) In Bromden’s eyes, this was a momumentous victory over the Big Nurse. It showed him that even “captive” in such a suppressive enviorment, anything is possible.
This sheer display of freedom created a noteworthy pinncale in Bromden’s life. There’s one thing about these reason ties them altogether. They all involve a massive contribution from McMurphy. With his help, Bromden was on top of the world. McMurphy had many techniques for making sure Bromden “grew” expenentioally. One being the way he built up Bromden in seemingly incidental ways. “For instance, when McMurphy was planning the fishing trip, he really wanted to get off the ward for a while and be with women but ended up helping Bromden build his confidence. (Macky 4711) It was very much a selfish move on McMurphy’s part but at the same time, a considerate one too. He didn’t even realize the amount of help he did for Bromden’s character. “Another case of this was when he arranged the party on the ward for Billy to be with Candy but unknowingly showed Bromden a window of endless possibilities. ” (Macky 4711) This display of seemingly bottomless freedom gave Bromden an immense boost of confidence. It showed Bromden that just about anything is possible. “Getting Bromden to speak was also quite a feat.
Bromden had never spoke to anyone in literally years but after only just about a month, McMurphy engaged in a full conversation with him and even got him to laugh for the first time in forever. ” (Mack 4170,4711) But what really did it for Bromden was the way McMurphy taught him to believe in himself. He taught him to be more than just another Acute. He gave him a reason to change. He complimented Bromden’s height and body size to give him more and more confidence so that he would continue to build on himself. This was a huge help to Bromden.
These techniques are exactly what Bromden needed to be as big and confident as he is now. It’s derived of all that confidence, happiness, and courage that Bromden drew the give the final push he need towards success. “At the very end of the book, McMurphy is lobotimized into a Vegetable and put onto a stretcher to be left on the ward (almost like a sort of “trophy” displaying the Big Nurse’s power). ” (Herzberg 808) Bromden knew he couldn’t alow this to happen. There is no way McMurphy would let something like this stand. This is what pushed Bromden to smother and kill McMurphy.
There was no chance that they could let Big Nurse could win. Not with Bromden still around. This is what showed that Bromden had truly evolved from his past shallow excuse of a human-self to his heroic and knowledgable-self he is now. This wasn’t the end of it though. After killing McMurphy, he had to escape. He couldn’t stay on the ward. So he took the machine that McMurphy himself wasn’t strong enough to toss and slung it through a window to make his escape. This notable deed solidifies the claim that Bromden has definitely changed.
It shows also that his thrist for freedom only subsided and never truly died away. Bromden is truly a complex character. From beginning to end, Bromden displayed different “energies”. Once an inconfident, shallow man with nothing going for him but ridcule and disappointment, Bromden is definitely a memorable character in a very controversial book. His transformation would of never been completed without the thorough support of McMurphy and his traning techniques. This push was truly his key to freedom, prosperity, joy, and true happiness
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