The film, Stand by Me, can be studied as an example of good literature by noting the use of well-built characters. An adequate amount of symbolism can also be found throughout the film. Near the end of the story, the main character has an unexpected epiphany that notes a radical change in his character development. The film carries a fantastic example of a coming-of-age theme for each of the main characters.
The use of family dynamics in each character contributes to their strong development. The main character and narrator of this story, Gordie Lachance, tells us this story of his childhood from his own perspective as an adult. Gordie is practically an invisible child growing up and often feels alone in his small hometown. This especially came to light after his older brother Denny passed away. Throughout the story, everyone makes the comparison of Denny to Gordie, and Gordie always falls short. His character has low self-esteem due to the comparisons and he urgently needs the acceptance of his parents. It is evident through flashbacks that Gordie has always fallen short to everyone. That is, with the exception of his older brother Denny who easily recognized this. When he could, Denny built up Gordies’ confidence through his attempts of putting the spotlight on Gordie. Another exception is with Gordie’s best friend, Chris Chambers. He often does the same for Gordie, but through many of their heart to heart talks. He believes in Gordie and wants to see him succeed with his writing talent.
Chris Chambers can also be viewed as a main character because he is Gordie’s best friend and has such an impact on Gordie’s development. Chris also struggles with a failed home life. His father is an abusive alcoholic and his siblings have a reputation of being thieves and trouble makers. He feels that he will never be good enough, no matter how hard he tries to have people see him differently. Chris is generally a good kid, who sometimes struggles with his family’s stigma. The stigma causes him to behave badly. However, he usually tries to make things right. For example, when he stole the milk money, he attempted to return it to the teacher. His teacher bought a new skirt with the money and allowed Chris to be suspended anyways. Recounting this story, Chris ends up in tears. It shows how much pain he carries from the way other people view and treat him, due to his family’s reputation. His tough guy persona quickly diminishes in these heart-to-hearts with Gordie, because their conversations usually involve tears. Another example of Chris’ caring heart can be viewed as he pulls Teddy off the train tracks and repeatedly asks Teddy to show him some skin. He is also present for Teddy when the junkyard owner berates Teddy and his ‘looney’ father. Ultimately, Chris is considered the caring, peace maker of the group.
The supporting characters have their own problems as well. Teddy Duchamp suffers from mental issues, which mostly...