The Fog as a Symbol in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Over the Cuckoo's Nest” is described by Chief Bromden as being instated by Ms. Ratched but in reality, it is the Chief slipping from reality due to his mental illness, or it could also be an induced fog caused by the Chief's medication. Therefore it is clear this this is not a literal fog. The Chief hallucinates the fog drifting into the ward through imaginary vents controlled by the staff. Often throughout the book, the Chief describes the fog as being a safe place where he can hide and ignore reality . The fog is also the state which Ms. Ratched imposes on the other patients throughout her cleverly devised routines and treatments. The fog keeps the patients in a safe place and keeps them out of reality. It both helps the men live this way and also keeps them content and not wanting to change the situation they are in. However, that all changed when McMurphy was brought on to the ward. Suddenly the droll routine imposed by Ms. Ratched was brought to a halt and the fog was lifted due to McMurphy's fun loving lighthearted attitude.
In real life, the fog could be compared to a job that you dislike but is secure and provides a steady income. You will always keep that steady income and maintain the status-quot but never become rich or famous and never really amount to your full potential. Even though you could live comfortably off of this amount of money, you will not be able to do what you really love. Taking that plunge to leave a secure job to follow your dreams is scary. However if the person with these dreams just continues living day to day doing something they don't really enjoy, no matter how safe and secure it feels, will not show their true potential. McMurphy coming onto the ward is like that person leaving that secure job that they hate and taking on a new career, one that makes them truly happy.