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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


by Ken Kesey

Chief Bromden Timeline and Summary

  • Chief hides from the orderlies so he doesn’t have to get shaved. He knows that when you're shaved, they use a little machine to get inside your head and make you conform to the system.
  • Chief observes McMurphy walk into the ward.
  • He describes how the fog keeps everybody content or at least unwilling to stand up against the system.
  • Chief’s first real action is to vote with the Acutes to be able to watch baseball.
  • When Chief reveals his ability to speak to McMurphy, it’s the first time he’s spoken in years. He tries to explain to McMurphy how the system worksnow that "they" see that McMurphy is "big," they have to make him small again.
  • Chief describes how he used to be a big man but now he’s small and McMurphy promises to try to help Chief become big again.
  • Chief goes on the fishing trip after McMurphy signs him up for the fieldtrip. The experience makes Chief taste freedom again.
  • McMurphy and Chief go to the tub room and discover that Chief can lift the panel there. He has a lot of strength.
  • When McMurphy tries protect George from one of the orderlies, Chief jumps into the fight to protect McMurphy. The two of them are sent together to the Disturbed Ward.
  • Chief is subjected to electroshock therapy. Unlike after previous treatments, this time Chief doesn’t stay in the fog for weeks. No, he fights and comes out of it. That’s the power that McMurphy gives him.
  • Chief joins in on the ward party and has a great time.
  • When McMurphy returns from his lobotomy, Chief realizes what he has to do. That night, he takes a pillow and smothers McMurphy to death.
  • Chief lifts the panel in the tub room and smashes a window. He climbs through and runs away.
  • He catches a ride with a Mexican who lends him a jacket to cover his asylum uniform, along with ten bucks for food.
  • Before he heads to Canada, Chief thinks he’ll visit the place where he grew up.