In ‘Stand By Me’ – What Is The Journey Really About?
The boys’ typical journey on discovering Ray Brower’s deceased body was not what they had expected. Throughout the journey, Gordie Lachance, Chris Chambers, Vern Tession and Teddy Duchamp had discovered more about themselves
then they had ever intended. All four boys have dealt with issues; strengthen their relationship and learned how to survive in the future with each other. This was not the adventurous trip the boys’ intended, but on the other hand, it was an emotional, yet, challenging two days.
An important aspect of the boys’ journey was dealing with their issues. Each of them had a problem, whether it was emotional or immature. Chris who had an abusive and alcoholic father was instantly categorised as a ‘bad kid’. With a history of theft with the milk money, people found it hard to trust or respect him.
Chris: I just wish I could go someplace where nobody knows me.
As seen in the movie, Chris was very emotional when he discussed to Gordie about his problem with people automatically disrespecting him. He had tried to do the best but people would just look at his background and immediately label him as a bad influence.
However, Gordie had similar problems with people disrespecting him, but in this case they were his parents. Since the death of his older brother, Gordie had been neglected by his parents because of what he is interests and the kind of friends his with. But the mourning of his older brother was a very emotional struggle for Gordie. His brother was not there to support him and praise him for his stories. Therefore, he had to learn to avoid all those things people call him and question him.
Teddy had a father that was held in a mental institute. His father once burnt his ear on the stove top and practically tried to kill him. Nonetheless, Teddy still defended his father when Milo from the junk yard was making fun of his father and calling him a ‘loony’. Later, Teddy found it difficult to join the army, but he was rejected because of his glasses and his burnt ear.
Vern who was the most immature, yet, self concerned of all was mostly worried about his pennies. He had many little issues such as loosing his comb and not having enough to eat. One can say that his issues were not as serious as the others but on the other hand, seemed like a great deal to him.
Although all four boys had a great relationship, they also portray superficial and altruistic friendships. One can easily tell that Chris and Gordie have a much stronger bond then they do with Teddy and Vern. They have shared deep feelings, stories and support for each other. On the other hand, Teddy and Vern seem like they would rather fool around and not have the same support and courage as Chris and Gordie do. This was proven when the four boys were confronted with the older gang. As soon as Vern and Teddy saw sensed they were in danger, they immediately ran away leaving Chris and Gordie by themselves.
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.
Jesus, does anyone?” (Gordie)
However, despite what happened Gordie believed that he had the best friends.
Throughout the trip, all four boys had to learn how to survive with themselves, mentally and physically. As discussed, Gordie had many issues with his parents neglecting him and the lack of support. However, throughout the movie Chris was the most supportive friend which indeed helped Gordie to get through the journey. Chris encouraged him to continue writing stories despite the attitude his father has against him. Yet, Gordie would compensate and do the same for Chris. With Chris’s reputation, Gordie encouraged him to do and be whatever he wanted, regardless of the negative views.
Chris: I’m never gonna get out of this town am I, Gordie?
Gordie: Yes but you can do anything you want, man.
This conversation occurred when the boys returned to their town. This conversation portrayed the meaning of friendship and support. Without their encouragement, none of the boys probably would of have passed through life. Whether it was trying to stop someone dodge trains or help someone get through situations. Therefore all the boys learnt how to survive in the future by just taking a two day trip.
Finally, it is clear that ‘Stand By Me’ is not really about the boys’ journey but is about a long road where they discover their emotional issues, strengthening friendships and coping to survive. All four boys would have had issues of concern. Although they had they had these problems, the boys learnt how to get through obstacles by looking out for each other. It is also a story about friendship where there were superficial and altruistic. Overall, Gordie, Chris, Vern and Teddy had a magnificent friendship and journey even if they had to pass through life’s many challenges.