is a fictional character in Ken Kesey
's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
, which was later made into a play
and into a film
, both sharing the same title as the novel. In the former two, he is the narrator of the story. He was portrayed by Will Sampson
in the film.
Chief Bromden, also known as "Chief Broom", is a towering man of mixed North American and European heritage, and one of the longest institutionalized patients in the Oregon mental hospital
in which the novel takes place. He is diagnosed as an incurable paranoid schizophrenic
, and pretends to be deaf
in order to protect himself from the forces of "The Combine", which he believes is a mechanized society intent on usurping freedom and individuality.
In his narration, he reveals that his father, once the revered leader of his tribe, became alcoholic after a European corporation manipulated him into selling the tribe's water rights. Ostracized by his own people, Bromden's father died a drunken, emasculated wreck.
The Chief is gradually rehabilitated by protagonist Randle McMurphy, the only person in the hospital to treat him as a friend.
Bromden suffocates McMurphy after the latter has been lobotomized and rendered helpless by the book's villain, Nurse Ratched, and then proceeds to escape the hospital.