With perseverance no hurdle is too large to overcome. As stated by Helen Keller, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. ” She personally overcame many obstacles that she faced with from the day she was born. She suffered through her own battles, but was able to eventually overcome her struggles. Helen Seller’s statement can be seen to be valid not only when looking at her own life but through the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The story of the Oregon psychiatric hospital and of a particular patient named McCarthy is narrated by chief Brooded.
A six foot and 7 inch tall half-Indian who suffers from hallucinations and delusions. Through the telling of the story of the ward he tells us the story of himself as well and the progression of overcoming his hurdle. Throughout the novel, Chief broom, as known as by the other patients, suffers in more than one way. Firstly, he suffers from a mental illness, schizophrenia which causes him to feel a sense of paranoia and have hallucinations. It can be speculated though that when entering the ward ten years ago, Brooded was “normal” until he was put under a series of electroshock therapy.
Bromide’s problems are more deeply rooted than what can be seen at first. Surely, his schizophrenia is a huge hurdle that he will have to learn to cope with, but his other problems that are causing him to suffer are what is holding him back from living happily in the real world. Chief Brooded is consumed with the belief that he is extremely weak. This belief is engraved in his mind because of how he has been constantly put down. Even being over a six foot tall man he feels that he “used to be big, but not no more. ” This belief has crippled him as a human, and forced him to hide within the fog.
This is one of the biggest hurdles that he has to face, and it is once he can overcome this that he’ll be able to live is life happily. Chief Brooded hides behind the “fog” in too ways. One the medication that he is on makes him hazy and unable to stay truly connected to reality. While he hides in a fog by pretending to be deaf and dumb. This allows him to go by unnoticed. He often hallucinates that there is a fog machine and fears the combine. Representing a big conglomeration that has control over the society and forces conformity on the people. The oppression started from his early boyhood.
As son of chief Tee Ah Immolation, which stand for the pine that stands tallest on the mountain and of Mary Louise Brooded. In the relationship between his parent’s his mother held the majority of the power. So he grew up observing the oppression of his father by his mother. The chiefs father was also a tall man like himself, and he watched his father feel small When he was ten years old, government officials came to talk to the Chiefs father, but he was home alone and tried to speak to the officials but they ignored him. This was the beginning of Chief Bromide’s withdrawal from the world.
The reason for his admittance into the ward is unclear. It may either be for having a breakdown from witnessing the decline of his father or from the traumatic experience of fighting in world war II. Both experiences involve the controlling authorities by which he was emasculated. Both situations could have led to his view of society as dark and oppressive and lead to his fear of the combine. At the ward, Brooded sees Nurse Ratchet as a monster of whom he is terrified. Ratchet was once a army nurse that runs the ward under her strict control. She underhandedly encourages the patients to probe each others weakness.
This pulls Brooded further into the fog. McCarthy, the new patient at the ward, who is only pretending to be mentally ill in order to escape hard labor at the Pendleton work farm. McCarthy helps pull Brooded out of his “fog. ” As McCarthy begins to pull the chief out of the fog, Brooded realizes the reason for his state of being. “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. ” Chief Brooded is slowly pulled out of the fog. He first steps out of the fog at the vote when McCarthy wants to watch the world series.
Although it is going against Nurse Ratchet he eventually puts his hand up and votes to side with McCarthy. The incident at the gas station while they are on their way to go fishing is another moment that helped show Brooded along with the other patients how to ease the enmity of the outside world and allows them to feel powerful and masculine. The polar opposite of what Nurse Ratchet led them to believe. His progression to complete freedom continues gradually. In order to help George Sorenson, McCarthy gets into a brawl with one of the aids at the ward and Brooded steps in and helps McCarthy.
This shows that he is gaining courage to stand up against the authority that’s controlling him. He has completely overcome his hurdle when he finds the strength to kill McCarthy after Nurse Ratchet sends him to get electroshock therapy. This allows McCarthy to die and preserve his dignity rather than live submissively and helpless under Ratchet’s symbolic control. This represent complete rebellion against the oppressive authority that he has been facing his entire life. After this emotional escape, he recovers the immense strength that he had thought he lost during the mime at the ward and sets himself free physically.
As it can be seen by Chief Brooded in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, people have hurdles of all types, but no matter what a person has to face its possible to work through it. So matter if your hurdles were present from the day you were born like Hellene Keller or if it is a crippling belief that has been deeply rooted within you there is a way to overcome what is causing you to suffer. So although it is hard to see the reason why anyone should need to suffer, it is clear that overcoming it allows you to gain strength and grow as a person.