One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

what is mcmurphy really doing for chief when he explains how big he is

its in part 3 of the book

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He bolstering his self confidence. Chief has experienced things that have taken away his manhood, and everytime something has happened Chief has become just a bit smaller. McMurphy's explanation and his invitiation on the fidhing trip, coupled with the fact that Chief feels he no longer need to fein muteness, makes him more of a man.