Saturday, February 02, 2008
The Academy Award-winning Hollywood Movie “Castaway,” the story of a crash survivor who learns insights in life while trapped in an island, stars the magnificent actor Tom Hanks as Chuck, a troubleshooter in the global company FedEx and the boyfriend of Kelly, the girlfriend who would marry after hopes of finding the disappeared Chuck waned overtime. During Chuck’s isolation in the movie’s island setting, he invents a friend—the fictitious character Wilson—out of a football in order to preserve his sanity and, in the process, to have something, someone, to keep him company.
The story’s time setting is in the contemporary period, given the circumstances of the modern lifestyle—faster/more-reliable-than-snail-mail FedEx, luxurious Boeing plane rides, advanced level of transportation and telecommunications—being lived in the U.S., the origin of the protagonist before he, all in his lonesome, plunges right into an obscure yet beautiful uninhabited island somewhere in the lonely, vast Pacific, the story’s geographic setting.
The conflict, an external one, is the point wherein the protagonist is face to face in all his humanity against nature, because he does not have any control of the challenging situation of surviving a crash and being naturally forced to live unimaginably in an island widely separated from the modern life he previously leads. The protagonist is presented with the struggle of surviving to the end (meaning, eating with what the wild, vegetation, and sea can offer him, going primitive from his fashion to his sanitation, making up a company to avoid becoming crazy, etc.) or withering away as a result of his accident.
In order to survive my ordeal, I as the main character would have to accept my humanity, that is, my vulnerability in the elements of nature. I could not go on and deny my fate because that would ruin my chance to begin from scratches the way the primitive men survived in the beginning of time. The primitive ancestors lived within their means, so could I despite having been accustomed to the modernity. Only after this would I be able to move along and eat, live and survive in my new environment.
The main character learned through his experience the value of accepting one’s humanity because were he parasitically sufficient (like most modern-time people) in the lifestyle of the contemporary, he would have died a few days on the island after surviving the crash. His humanity taught him that he could survive with all available means, and that modern lifestyle has all its demons snatching people’s humane souls.
I realized that in the process of my getting too involved or being eaten wholly by the modern system, my humanity is being sacrificed. Forced into circumstances beyond my useless control, especially those within the bidding of eternal nature (which can hardly be affected whether or not I or other people live or die), I will be reduced to my basic humanity. Masked with the moral label, I realize that against nature’s power, I can only be human.