Stand by Me Journey Essay

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By Gillian Ferguson

The film Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner explores ideas of both physical and inner journeys. The plot revolves around four 12 year old boy’s journey to find the body of a missing boy. Through this quest each of the characters goes through an inner journey and grows emotionally. The filmmaker uses a variety of techniques to illustrate the theme of journey including voiceover narration, metaphors and flashbacks. The film is told through voice-over narration by a middle-aged Gordie. He reflects on the central plot as the defining event of his childhood, and the inner growth he and the other boys experienced. An example of this is when the voiceover states before the journey “I was living in a small town in Oregon called Castle Rock. There were only 1281 people, but to me it was the whole world”. This quote in contrast to what is said after the journey ‘Even though we had only been gone for a few days, the town seemed different. Smaller” illustrates the inner journey that the boys have experienced and the self-actualisation of their small town not being the whole world. Stand By Me also uses a visual metaphor of the train tracks the protagonists follow on their journey to illustrate the personal growth they experience. An example of this in the film is the decision the boys make to stop following the tracks and instead forge their own path. This choice symbolises the characters emotional growth and their decision not to follow the set path and conform to society’s expectations. It also symbolises their growth and maturity in moving from childhood to adolescence. The filmmaker uses the techniques of flashbacks to provide context and perspective to the journey the protagonists take. For example the film flashes back to a scene in Gordies home that depicts his overbearing father lecturing his older brother about his football game while ignoring Gordie telling him about a story he wrote. This scene depicts the family dynamic...
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