One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

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I'm Not sure if a lot of people know this but I haven't seen it mentioned in any forum so I'm going to turn it into a trivia question for you all to answer. This thread is going to be short.

Q: In the Movie, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", what do the cigarettes represent?



it meant two things..

1. An object people could smoke.

2. You could also use it as a currency for card games.



In the Beginning...
Are you referring to the fact that Nurse Ratched kept all the mens' cigarettes in the nurses station, and why that was a big deal? Since they were adults (crazy or not), she really didn't have the right to regulate their smoking habits for them. That was McMurphy's argument, and that's why he smashed his hand through the nurse window to take them. The cigarettes are supposed to symbolize just one more self-deserving freedom that the emasculating big nurse was taking away from the patients.



I never realized that nobody got this. You guys really didn't get the message behind the cigarettes? This is too good. I feel like such a smart ass. No, I'm not referring to when she took them and kept them in the nurse's station. The cigarettes were specifically symbolic. They represent something about the character's. Watch the movie again and listen to the diologue about the cigarettes. I'm gonna wait for a few more posts then I'll answer the trivia question and explain how it's the answer.



Instead of acting like a know it all, just tell the people what you read about the cigarettes. It is all over the internet.
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The wonderful thing about movies is that you dont have to get the exact answer of what something means, because your own interpretation is directly related to what that movie means to you.
Wonderful movie, by the way. To me the ciggarrettes function as one of the only mediums between imprisonment and freedom. How each character interacts with the ciggarettes portray's each character's desire/need for the freedom that they provided. For example, McMurphy's own system functions solely off of his own freedoms, therrefore, any link to the freedoms he once had will become increasingly important. McMurphy did what he could to expand that freedom to the ward-mates. Thats what i think anyways.



Alright, alright. That last post was a good guess by the way but I'll tell you what the cigarettes mean and why.

A: The Cigarettes represent their lives, very clearly.

Explanation: When they first show the cigarettes, they're playing poker and gambling with them. This is to portray that they're gambling or playing with their lives.

If you listen to some of the diologue, Mcmurphy says, "Dimes the limit Martini. If you break it in half, you don't get two nickels, you get ****. I'm trying to smoke it, you understand? He's saying life is something you live all the way to the end and not something to be taken granted for. They start to realize this after their boat trip in that dramatic discussion group scene. They start to taste life and become resentful and questionable. Cheswick states and this is one of the biggest themes in the whole movie, "Piss on your ****** rules nurse ratchet! What gives you the damn right to keep OUR CIGARETTES piled up on your desk so you can squeeze out a box anytime you feel like it?!" Then, the sequence afterward basically sums up the whole message of the movie when Mcmurphy sees this and breaks Nurse Ratchet's window, making her stand up powerless to mcmurphy's righteousness, gives him the carton and says, "Here!" but it doesn't last because they quickly take them away after a fight because in the mental institution they don't rehabilitate they sedate and control. Any outburst of emotion, even to only recognize themselves as alive and demand fair treatment is sedated and therefore makes their condition in their environment untreatable.

This also maked it impossible for Randall to help them because they're basically living through him the entire movie. For instance when they're throwing around the cigarette, taking a puff, they're puffing on one cigarette but Cheswick was brave enough to demand he wanted HIS cigarettes.
Also, when they're playing basketball, The basketball represents their pace through life, trying to juggle life. They're taking turns feeling alive. You can tell by how they play when they have the basketball. For example, Harding, who was always stuck on a problem he thought more of than should've and wouldn't let go of shows this when he just aimlessly dribbles the ball and doesn't go anywhere on the court. And there's symbolism with Martini.
This is also shown again at the end of the movie after the chief breaks out, they start the next sene showing only the tub-room table and them placing their cigarettes one by one on the table showing they did not get any better and they're still playing with their lives because they're not ill, they're just discouraged from life.

I don't think this is debateable. I strongly believe that was the message the author or writer was trying to get across. WHAT A GREAT MOVIE!



The Emperor of Ice Cream
Glad to hear you're so open to something as subjective as interpretation of symbolism.
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Symbolism is not debateable. It's eather symbolic of one thing or the other. It's not symbolic of anything a person interprets it as. This is writing and writing is written with a purpose.

"I'm talking about form. I'm talking about content!" Harding



Wow. I cant even believe that you would say something like that. A writer writes for a purpose? Of course. But to be so bold as to think that a writer writes under the direct thought of influencing his/her audience with one single ideal or belief, well thats just proposterous. The writer writes to craft his/her ideal world, to satisfy a set of desires, needs, or ideas that need to be expressed. As a writer myself i must say that writers express these ideas under the overly-proved idea that any single person's point of view will differ from another's. In the end, what certain symbols mean to one person differ to what someone else believe's them to be, but ultimatley, both readers took something from the work, something they will carry with them, which is the ultimate goal of expressing any idea.



Hmmm...or maybe the patients gamble with their cigarettes because they don't have any money or chips to play with and they have to play with something. And maybe they dribble around aimlessly on the basketball court because none of them have played the game before and don't know what else to do. Quite possibly it was just supposed to be a funny part of the movie. Maybe you shouldn't try to sound quite so intelligent and regurgitate some random theory that you read on another webpage.



Originally Posted by whoopdido
Maybe you shouldn't try to sound quite so intelligent and regurgitate some random theory that you read on another webpage.
lol. That one was a little below the belt, even aimed at him.



I don't get angry over arguments or anything. Everyone entitled to their opinion but I strongly believe that's what he meant about the cigarettes and I'm not the kind of person that is naive to believe far-fetched theories. Also, I did not read it anywhere as I stated before. It was my own comprehension of what the author was trying to get across. And I don't believe for a second that writers don't write with the intent of a purpose or message. That's preposterous and a load of BS. It's true that many movies are greatly admired for the world the author had envisioned and brought to life through words or on the silver screen but there are many many many movies that have a message and are trying to make a point. And when a writer is trying to make a point, you can't debate on what the point really is or if he was making a point at all, it's eaither he was making a point about a specific topic or wasn't atall. It's as simple as that. It's true for the people that didn't fully understand or comprehend the message, so they can debate and try to peice together the message with theories. But there is always a true message the writer was trying to get across if he was trying to get across a message. That is many times why they wrote the story in the first place which is why Ken Kesey wrote the book. Given there can and usually are several messages in a movie, the underlying message that forms the course of the plot, the message the main character gives to the story, the message the ending has, etc. That doesn't mean however that an author didn't have a clear idea of his message which is what you're saying if you're saying a message is debateable. I'll admit it's debateable about the cigarettes specifically because I haven't gone through the trouble to research it but I guess all I'm saying is watch the movie and if you ever do and have an inquisitive mind, pay attention to the cigarettes and what they say about them. That's all. I hope I made myself clear on what I was trying to say. God, I hate arguing.



The Emperor of Ice Cream
Isn't this just your interpretation of what the writer was attempting to propagate? Unless you're the writer, I'm fairly certain that your entire statement was hypocritical.



The Emperor of Ice Cream
I strongly believe that was the message the author or writer was trying to get across.



Originally Posted by Shaolin
Unless you're the writer, I'm fairly certain that your entire statement was hypocritical.
You meant hypothetical.
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The Emperor of Ice Cream
No, I did not.



The Emperor of Ice Cream
This should clear things up:

It's not symbolic of anything a person interprets it as.
I strongly believe that was the message the author or writer was trying to get across.