Today I will be discussing how Bromden experiences internal conflict and explores his self-identity while being torn between two opposing cultures. However, I would like to start off my presentation by watching a short clip from a music video by a Canadian electronic music group, A Tribe Called Red. A Tribe Called Red draws on the aspects of both cultures and blends western dubstep with First Nations music. Please think to the relation between these two cultures both audibly and consider the contrast that this present. – Similarly seen in this clip, Bromden is caught between a desire to maintain his Indian heritage while adapting to the norms of the dominant white culture within North America. This internal conflict spans well beyond Bromden’s ten years at an Oregon Mental Institute and includes a lifetime controlled by questioning of identity. Many critics consider Bromden to be struggling with deliberate psychosis which is a condition of the mind that involves loss of contact with reality. Common symptoms include hallucinations and delusion. Bromden’s impairment can be observed in his practice of silence. – Oppression has been prominent in Bromden’s life since childhood, being the son of Chief Tee Ah Millatoona and Mary Louise Bromden, a white woman. Bromden comments that “I’m born into a name – Bromden” (pg. 246) which stresses the belittlement of Bromden’s Native heritage since an early age and makes the reader question the manner in which he self-identifies. Bromden also known as ‘Chief’ is first introduced to the reader as a “deaf and dumb” Indian (pg.23) that immediately associates a persona of weakness within his character. Kesey chooses to exclude Bromden’s first name from the novel which has traditional implications for the son of a Chinook Indian Chief. Within many Native American cultures, names are hereditary and assume spiritual personality. Without this information given, the reader can sympathize with the lack of integration that Bromden seems to experience as a half-Indian by origin. – Another factor in Bromden taking his maternal surname includes social simplicities. “Papa says that name makes getting that Social Security card a lot easier” (pg.246), clearly shows that his father despite motives to preserve their heritage realizes the social advantages of disguising his son within a ‘white man’s world’. This realization is one of the first humiliations of the Combine.- Bromden taking Mary’s surname greatly symbolized her dominant force as white woman and her influence that she can possess not only over her husband, but the tribe itself. This power ultimately encourages the dismantling of Bromden’s tribe for economic access to the falls and allows for his mother to be perceived as “Bigger than Papa and me together” (pg. 188). – Disregarding Bromden’s name, serious tension can also be observed in assumptions made by Western culture to Bromden’s physical complexion. Physical size becomes an important concern to Bromden, with memorable idolization of his father since childhood. Bromden holds a conception of full-blood Native Americans being giants and himself in comparison as smaller even though he is six feet seven inches (205cm). Bromden is also self-conscious to his facial features that he assumes people consider as funny; specifically, “an Indians face and black, oily Indian’s hair” (pg.22). When Bromden is first introduction to the reader as the narrator it is easy to see the extent to which social conditioning has allowed him to hold little self-respect. – McMurphy is quick to realize the implications of a white woman and a Native American man marrying in that “When a town woman marries an Indian that’s marrying somebody beneath her, ain’t it?” (pg.188) The complexities of a mixed marriage at this time in America stirred much social confusion and allowed for imbalanced power dynamics within the household. However curiously, Bromden’s family choses to live on the reserve which stereotypically is associated with drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. Bromden’s father is the typical assumption of a product of living on a reserve. Bromden’s recollection of his father includes “and the last I see him he’s blind in the cedars drinking” (pg. 189) which follows his narration of taking his father to hospital in Portland and watching him die due to alcohol poisoning. Bromden recollects this with little emotion. This lack of emotion can be connected to the little respect that is given to life on reservations and a common western mentality of “Can you imagine people wanting to live this way” (pg. 180). – One crucial memory that arguably stems the belittlement of Bromden’s self-worth is that of three government officials coming to his home on the reserve to speak to his father about buying out the tribe’s land. With much harassment and sway from his wife, Chief Tee Ah Millatoona succumbs to selling the land to build a hydroelectric dam destroying any/and all the scaffolding for traditional fishing. Following this event, Bromden sees his father’s strong figure diminish by being overthrown by the white government. This instant is the catalyst for the Combine which I believe is a mechanical approach to Western assimilation. The Combine inferred as machinery, has direct collation to the destructive machinery that would be used on the river destroying all the scaffolding holding Bromden’s youth and identity “it wanted us to live in inspected house. It wanted to take the falls. It was even in the tribe” (pg.188) – Invisibility is an important element for Bromden throughout the majority of the novel with relation to pretending to not understand his surroundings as to melt into the background and surrounding himself in fog. Noted in the Introduction by Robert Faggen, tricksters are widely prevalent in North American Indian literature and are noted for subverting all sense of hierarchy and expectations. The irony of this trickery lies in fooling not only those around the individual but fooling them themselves. I believe connection can be then drawn from the trap that Bromden has placed for himself and how he struggles to find a manner in which to reclaim himself. “it wasn’t me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all” (pg.178). This realization is the triggered by McMurphy and is the first step in the disassembling of Combine and the retrieval of his inner self. – Bromden watching the “Canadian honkers” flying South is insight to the awareness to the outside world that Bromden recovers by the end of the novel. Having had his natural impulses and connection to the land been disregarded for more than twenty years, I believe Bromden feels a need to physically return home. The Columbia river and memories of salmon fishing and hunting guide Bromden in finding an inner balance and clarity of the mind that allows for some hope seen on page 280, “I’ve even heard that some of the tribe have took to building their old ramshackle wood scaffolding all over the big million-dollar hydroelectric dam…I’d give something to see that” (pg.281) To conclude I believe that it is clear that environment and upbringing were two elements that significantly altered Bromden’s self-imagine and allowed for some exploration of his truest self.Although I do not believe Bromden clearly identifies himself as “Indian” or “half-Indian” by the end of the novel, I believe that he is determined in finding some balance that is fitting for himself. I would like to thank you for listening and leave you an excerpt from the Poem Self-Portrait by A.K Ramanujan.