Chief Bromden

Chief Bromden

Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 


Chief Bromden is half American Indian. His father was a chief named Tee Ah Millatoona, which means The-pine-that-stands-tallest-on-the-mountain. That is why he is able to use the title chief. He took on his mother's last name of Bromden. He grew up in the Columbian gorge. The chief is massive and tall and would appear very intimidating and threatening to those who meet him. He was committed to the hospital and has been there for longer than anyone else, for over 15 years. 

He was put in there after World War two. The chief was an electrician's assistant in a training camp before the army shipped him off to Germany. It is probably due to working with electronics and the added strain of going to war that has led the chief to have such an unhealthy preoccupation with electronics.  

The chief has led everyone in the hospital, both staff and patients to believe he is deaf and dumb. As a young child he was always ignored, by fellow students and adults, this could have been because he was so strange looking, being half American Indian and appearing so big and menacing yet being quite shy. "I had to keep acting deaf if I wanted to hear at all." He felt rejected by his peers throughout life and so as an adult decided that as people acted like he was invisible he might as well disappear, "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." So pretending to be deaf and dumb was probably a defence mechanism. For him, his silence is also extremely potent. As he is able to hear everything that went on in the meetings where the doctors and nurses discuss the future of the patients. The doctors and nurses don't hesitate to say anything in front of him because they think he can't hear. "They don't bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when I'm nearby because they think I'm deaf and dumb." 
The chief sees things...

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