The Journey of Cast Away

The Journey of Cast Away

Life is a constant internal and external battle, whether it be in a movie or real. These struggles are what define a person’s character, these conflicts can determine the heroic traits of a person. A hero’s journey is one of these instances, a person can either rise to the challenge of their battles, or become engulfed in agony. In Robert Zemeckis’s film Cast Away, produced by Twentieth Century Fox, Chuck Noland, the protagonist, is challenged for his survival and embarks on a hero’s journey to return home.

In Cast Away, Chuck Noland lives a normal life, he has a family, friends, and a job. He has a romantic relationship that is a driving force in his motivation. The difference between Chuck and other people is that he is very punctual with his work, he cannot be late nor can his work be anything less than perfect. In addition, Chuck is more clever and strong-minded than other men, which will help him in his journey. Chuck is a FedEx executive that is called into work in Malaysia, but on his way there his plane crashes and he begins his long and painful journey. Chuck realizes that he must do something to find his way back home, originally he does not have hope. He sees a glimpse of a boat and is filled with hope, he tries to paddle out to it, but is stopped by large waves that will be the antagonist throughout the film. From that point forward Chuck is constantly in an internal struggle with his past experience, though eventually comes to terms with reality and decides to do something to better himself.

     Also in Cast Away, Chuck Noland befriends a volleyball that is his support throughout the duration of his journey. Since Chuck was on a flight with packages, he collected all of the packages he could find, one of which was a volleyball that he paints with blood and names Wilson. Even though Wilson is an inanimate object, it still provides the moral support that Chuck is longing for. Chuck talks to Wilson, consults with Wilson, and does everything with Wilson. Wilson provided focus and some sort of mental stability that aided him on Chuck’s hero’s journey. Wilson cannot help with everything though, Chuck must overcome physical and mental barriers. The main antagonist throughout the story are the natural barriers that block him from making his way out to sea and a chance at being found. Another enemy is himself; Chuck contemplates the idea of suicide multiple times and even does a test of suicide. This mental obstacle is one that requires an immense amount of strength to overcome, he can end his own suffering on the island, or suffer trying to leave. 

Additionally, in Cast Away, Chuck’s romantic life is one of the biggest incentives for him to make his way home. Kelly Frears is the woman that Chuck is in love with before his plane crashes, before he leaves she gives him a Christmas present with a picture of her inside a pendant. He keeps this as a memory of her and keeps it with him for the entire duration of his journey. Overall, Kelly was a significant character in the sense that she was the reason Chuck chose to fight for his life every day. Kelly means so much to Chuck that he finds the strength to battle against the large waves that once defeated him. Chuck comes to terms with the reality that he can suffer on the island or suffer attempting to see his normal life once again. The climax of his journey is the second attempt at freedom, he builds another raft and sets out once again to face nature’s obstacles. This final battle is the deciding factor of the future and his fate.

At the end of Cast Away, Chuck must journey home after his climactic confrontation with the waves. He endures another physically and mentally draining journey back home. He loses his friend Wilson, his raft is almost completely destroyed and he is physically and mentally drained. Chuck is stuck at sea for days before he is found by a ship passing by. Through all of his pain, sorrow, and challenges, Chuck’s courage and bravery have finally paid off. He is put on another flight back home, where he sits still, unsure of what to say to his significant other that he last saw 4 years ago. Chuck continues to feel pain after that point, his life will never be the same since the hero’s journey he endured.

Throughout Robert Zemeckis’s film Cast Away, Chuck Noland must endure conflicts for survival on the hero’s journey to reach his destiny. Chuck’s journey home is impacted by a lot of outside influences and internal conflict. Chuck has heroic attributes that help him on his hero’s journey. Altogether, Chuck’s hero’s journey is one that leaves the reader depressed and uplifted at the same time. 

Brian Lopez-Author