In the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, each character is a representation of something else. Randle McMurphy represents a hero and Nurse Ratched an evil manipulator. However, Chief Bromden is different. He is depicted as an adherent and a follower of McMurphy.
The Chief represents progress because throughout the novel he is traveling through his own life journey.The Chief is also the narrator of the novel. He tells the reader everything that is going on within the walls of the ward.
Even though he is the narrator and is telling the stories of the other men in the ward, he is also telling his own story about his journey back towards sanity. The Chief suffers from paranoia and hallucinations and has been in the ward longer than any other patient. Even though he is six feet seven inches, he tries to hide himself. He pretends to be a deaf mute at the ward as a tactic to prevent harassment by the other men and Nurse Ratched. By pretending that he is this way, the Chief is allowed near some situations that would normally remain secretive. For example, in the middle of the novel, he is at the staff meeting doing his ritual cleaning of the staff room.
He hears what the doctor and Nurse Ratched are saying about McMurphy. By being involved in these different situations, it helps the Chief because he is able to find out what is going on around him. He can protect himself from what is going on in the ward.
It is significant that Chief Bromden is silent, because it represents his fear and intimidation by the other men and workers at the ward. Even though Chief Bromden eventually becomes a supporter of McMurphy, it didn’t start out that way. During and after the Chief’s electroshock treatments, he would see a thick fog. The fog is a symbol of his lack of insight and escape from reality. As the novel progresses, the Chief sees the fog less and less until it finally disappears altogether.
Once the fog disappears, the Chief becomes more aware of the people and different situations around him. In one of the chapters, he awakens and watches a dog outside of the window. This shows that Chief Bromden is now more conscious of the outside world. He can think of life outside of.