One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Bromden as the Ideal Confidant in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 12th Grade

Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is unique in that the narrator and arguably main character of the story, Chief Bromden, is not the protagonist. Instead, McMurphy fills this role, and Bromden acts as both the main character, providing our view of the story, and the confidant of the true protagonist, McMurphy. Throughout the novel, Bromden acts as a both an intentional and unintentional confidant, and through his proximity to McMurphy becomes close enough to realize McMurphy’s true fears and motivations and fears, ultimately carrying out McMurphy’s final escape plan.

From the first scene in the book, we see that people say things in front of Bromden that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Thanks to his perceived deafness and muteness, both staff and patients are comfortable saying things in front of Bromden that they otherwise would not have. For example, according to Bromden the black boys “don’t bother not talking out loud about their hate secrets when I’m nearby because they think I’m deaf and dumb. Everybody thinks so.” (Kesey 3) The idea that everyone is comfortable discussing private details with Bromden around is crucial to his development as a confidant in the novel, because even when he reveals his ability to...

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