Cast Away

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Cast Away

The main character Chuck survives an aircraft accident in Robert Zemeckis’ well-known film Cast Away from 2000 and ends up by himself on a barren island. Chuck has various challenges, including being alone, locating food, surviving on an island, and eventually returning to America. After working at FedEx and interacting with his family, the character struggles on the island until returning and settling into life in Memphis. When closely examining the film, the students can examine various interpersonal communication theories. The movie investigates what transpires when someone is cut off from society and forced to start over, finally demonstrating what occurs whenever one loses everything one holds dear.

The movie’s opening scene takes place before the plane disaster. A FedEx truck is seen traveling down the street as the movie opens with an empty field, an empty road, and no one in sight. Loneliness and isolation are hinted at in the initial scene. The traits of Chuck can be seen at work as the film goes along. His main concern is time, and he is highly authoritarian. Schutz’s theory of interpersonal needs includes the demand for control.

According to the lecture in class, the theory holds that humans require affection, control, and inclusion. The movie incorporates all three facets of the needs theory. After a business trip to Moscow, Chuck returns home to the devotion of his fiancée, who is delighted to see him. As they watch TV together on the couch, they pass out. The family gathers for supper the following day, but Chuck appears to feel more excluded.

Before Chuck boards the aircraft that will permanently alter his life, the film’s second act opens with the line, “I’ll be right back.” Chuck’s fiancée handed him her grandfather’s watch for Christmas, along with a picture of herself on it. The watch’s significance, which stands for affection, is revealed throughout the film. The watch, in my opinion, symbolizes battling for what Chuck cherishes and holds dear because it gives him a reason for optimism and ultimately enables him to leave the island.

The watch indicates that Chuck had faith in his ability to return home and that his willpower was strong enough to enable him to endure on the island and return, which makes it possible to view it as a component of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the self constantly evolves and adapts, the concept of self can be plainly seen throughout the film.

Once on the island, Chuck had to battle for his life while simultaneously learning how to survive, acquire food and water, find a place to sleep, and construct a raft.” The motivational needs for safety, belongingness, and love, as well as esteem and self-actualization, were arranged in an ascending order in Maslow’s (1943) positive theory of motivation. (Otway) “This examines Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as he initially battles for survival. His physiological needs are to light a fire and find food, like coconuts. Finding a cave on the island that would protect him from storms demonstrated his need for protection.

A study examining how one’s self alters during a crisis found that “Additionally, it introduces fresh ideas about one’s identity. Such a process involves the meeting and setting in motion of new and old I-positions or characters. To restore the self’s dialogical potential, the self may need to restructure positions in the service of integration and centering ” (Grill).

Chuck demonstrates this in the movie, who felt compelled to forge a new “person” on the island. Once Chuck is alone on the island, human isolation can be studied. He is the only person on the island, and it may be difficult for humans to remain alone. “The negative effects of intellectual and moral isolation are evident on both sides in the deeper and more significant debates. Isolation may result in fanaticism that borders on lunacy. (Yarros)” This is demonstrated in the film when Chuck makes Wilson his “imaginary pal” to have company while on the island.

Chuck could only have his one-sided conversation with Wilson to satisfy his craving for social interaction. Wilson not only kept Chuck in check and made him feel less alone. When he confides in Wilson, attachment needs like inclusion might be found. Wilson served as a kind of friend and middleman even though he didn’t have the personality to give Chuck the confidence and fortitude to leave the island, something Chuck wouldn’t have been able to do on his own. This was crucial in assisting Chuck to overcome the physical isolation he felt on the island.

Wilson could merely listen and not answer; hence it might be inferred that Chuck was speaking to himself. Wilson provides Chuck with companionship, demonstrating how the self emerges in communication with others. With Wilson’s help, Chuck is less isolated, able to interact and build a life for himself on the island. Wilson functions as a vision of Chuck; if Chuck had never washed ashore on the island, Wilson wouldn’t have existed.

After spending four years on the island, Chuck has constructed a sailing raft to leave. When a storm destroys his sail after setting sail with Wilson on board, Chuck replies, “I’m sorry, Wilson.” I took this as Chuck’s way of saying sorry for working so hard and not spending enough time with his partner, especially around the holidays. After building a new life and self on the island, a boat eventually passes him, and he is ultimately saved. After losing control of the situation on the island, Chuck could only control his escape.

The Johari Window is repeatedly referenced throughout the film. When people start seeking Chuck after the plane crash, concepts from the class lecture familiar to oneself and others can be seen. They know his height, weight, flight number, intended destination, etc. After Chuck returns, we know he is traumatized and doesn’t talk about his experiences, such as having his tooth pulled out with an ice skate, which is known to himself but unknown to others. Unknown to himself and others, he returned, not only surviving four years on an island by himself but also returning to his home country (a huge success).

A study on the Johari Window (known only to oneself and unknown to others) claims that “A variety of strategies, including residents’ willingness to explore new aspects of themselves, direct performance observation by several supervisors, and multisource feedback, would be used to reduce this area. (Ramani) “Because Chuck was forced to combine talents he was unaware he possessed and had no one else to support him, this study is connected to his experience.

Kelly is now married; therefore, there will be nonverbal cues, notably silence, when they reconnect. This represents the unfinished love between Chuck and Kelly but was shattered when he was lost. A closer examination of the transactional model reveals that the surroundings and social context impacted how they behaved when he returned. Chuck’s communication style altered due to becoming accustomed to life on the island and interacting mainly with himself.

Chuck can return home thanks to Wilson’s portrayal of intrapersonal communication and the watch Kelly gave him, which serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy as he struggles on the island. Being compelled to satisfy his physical and attachment needs while on the island, Chuck has experienced what it would be like if everything they had come to rely on was suddenly taken b them away. Chuck had a difficult time surviving on the island, but he persisted and eventually returned to society. The people believed that adjusting to island living would be just as difficult as adjusting to life in Memphis.


Grimell, Jan. “The Story of the Self in the Aftermath of Crisis: A Case Study.”Journal ofConstructivist Psychology, vol. 29, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 66-79.EBSCOhost,doi:10.1080/10720537.2015.1079509.Otway, Lorna J., and Katherine B. Carnelley. “Exploring the Associations betweenAdult Attachment Security and Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence.”Self &Identity, vol. 12, no. 2, Mar. 2013, pp. 217-230.EBSCOhost,doi:10.1080/15298868.2012.667570.Ramani, Subha, et al. “Uncovering the Unknown: A Grounded Theory Study Exploring theImpact of Self-Awareness on the Culture of Feedback in Residency Education.”Medical Teacher, vol. 39, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 1065-1073.EBSCOhost,doi:10.1080/0142159X.2017.1353071.Yarros, Victor S. “Isolation and Social Conflicts.”American Journal of Sociology, vol. 27,no. 2, 1921, pp. 211-221.,

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