by bookish editors)
In the fiction bracket, it’s down to just Chief Bromden, escaped mental patient, and Little Bee, the refugee who will do anything—inspiring or unsavory—in the name of her survival. Who will win and advance to the Final Four in Lit Madness?
Bromden feels he and Little Bee are kindred spirits, as both have endured more than their share of hardships. As a refugee, Little Bee knows what it is like to be unwanted; as a Native American, Chief is all too familiar with that sentiment. But maybe the onetime mental patient has endured one trauma too many. The electroshock therapy meant to fix his brain has left him even more scrambled than before. Maybe Little Bee wants this more than he does.
Little Bee watched Jo March fail miserably (and fatally) to rattle Bromden by impersonating Nurse Ratched. This refugee knows that it will take a much more subtle—and, yes, insidious—method to break him down. What, you’re surprised that sweet Little Bee is valuing her survival above all? Chief’s escape from the hospital was his greatest achievement, but what more does he have to live for? He can’t make it in the real world. Little Bee can. Since escaping Nigeria with its corrupt soldiers, she has survived detention centers and brushes with immigration and still held on to her freedom by her fingertips.
WINNER: Understanding that she has pushed men to suicide by the mere sight of her, Little Bee regardless knows that her best bet is to sneak up from behind. She hides out of sight behind a boulder, hefting a heavy rock in her hands. Watching as Chief searches for her, she throws her voice, taunting him about being unable to save Billy and McMurphy. As he grows increasingly agitated, she quietly pads up behind him, holds her breath, and bashes him over the head.