Big Enough To Eat Apples Off My Head Short Story

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another that he can order Chief — who is "big enough to eat apples off my head" — to do his bidding, establishing Chief, the narrator of the story, as a large, passive, half-Indian. Chief can hear the men talking, which they do freely in his presence because they believe Chief is deaf. Not only is Chief able to listen to the employees, but he is also able to describe their conversation as the "hum of black machinery, humming hate and death and other hospital secrets." Big Nurse Ratched enters the ward, and Chief describes her as carrying a wicker basket that contains the wheels and cogs she 'll need to maintain the machinery of the Combine. He relates that her basket contains none of the feminine accouterments one normally would imagine in a woman 's purse.…show more content…
Big Nurse catches the black boys ' conversation, and Chief describes her resulting anger as a powerful force that inflates her size to as "big as a tractor," enabling him to "smell the machinery." She reverts to her original physical shape, however, when other patients enter the hall. She tells the employees to quit talking and go back to work, addressing them in an authoritative yet patronizing tone. Chief describes Big Nurse 's large breasts as a source of bitterness for her because he believes she would have been a perfect machine without a woman 's physical attributes to remind her that she is human. The rest of his description of Big Nurse refers to her less-than-human characteristics: a "smooth, calculated, and precision-made" face "like an expensive baby doll" and her "flesh-colored enamel" skin. Big Nurse instructs the employees to shave Chief before breakfast, causing him to panic and hide in a closet. Chief informs the reader that he fears the Combine is more effective on its victims weakened by hunger. He remembers himself back to his youth on the Columbia River in Oregon, bird hunting with his father. Chief believes that the employees smell his fear the way that a bird dog smells a hunter 's
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