One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Is the fog real? Why? Why does Bromden need the fog?

The Book

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In Chapter Fifteen, Bromden provides some indication of the origin of his psychological problems. Bromden compares the imaginary “fog machine” of the mental institution to the real fog that apparently surrounded him during wartime as a matter of military tactics. This tale indicates that Chief Bromden likely suffers from some sort of shell-shock caused by his war experience.