In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chief Bromden displays numerous signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. It’s important to note that the novel does not outright say Chief Bromden is a paranoid schizophrenic because a key theme of the narrative is the ambiguous nature of sanity. This idea is reinforced by the main character and protagonist, Randle McMurphy, who is faking his insanity in order to remain out of prison.
Two indicators of paranoid schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusions. Chief Bromden hallucinates a fog and thinks a snow-like object is falling on his body. He also believes that society is under the control of a massive machine which he refers to as “The Combine.” He thinks that all hospital staff members are willing participants in “The Combine.”
Paranoid schizophrenics also remove themselves from social interactions. Through years of disguise, Chief Bromden has convinced the staff that is he both deaf and mute, which speaks to the length he is...
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