If there ever was a time when being stranded on a desert island was a good thing, this was not one of those times. After lightning blows one of its engines, a FedEx cargo plane plummets into the South Pacific brightening the night sky with flames. The lone survivor manages to inflate one of the sinking plane’s rubber rafts to save him. He doesn’t know it, but his life has changed forever.
When Chuck awakens the next morning, he drags his stomach along the white sandy beach to lie in peace while the sound of the waves entertains his ears. The sweater he wore on his ill-fated flight suddenly becomes much too hot to bear. He sheds whatever semblance he held of his former life and begins a journey into self-discovery.
The first thing on Chuck’s agenda is realizing he doesn’t have an agenda. The pocket watch, given to him by his wife, no longer works. He will never surrender it though. It contains a photo of his beloved, the only thing that reminds him of how things used to be.
There is no electricity. There is no civilization. Chuck quickly learns he’s alone on the island. His steady diet of coconuts and fish provides for a fraction of the nutrients he needs to survive, but not enough to prevent losing a tooth along the way.
Having trekked through the island multiple times, he comes to know his surroundings, the borders and his own limitations. He understands he can’t go beyond the tide without an adequate floatation device. His understanding also grows regarding time. In his former life, time is what made Chuck’s life complete. Without time, it’s a disorganized life. He keeps time in a cave by etching notches on a wall, presumably trying to make sense of it all.
As part of his survival, he learns how to build a fire, make shoes and work on a plan of action to get off the island.
Chuck’s biggest enemy, however, is much more than he could have ever imagined. His enemy is his loneliness. To be the only living and breathing person stuck hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles in the middle of nowhere, makes him desire companionship with the least likely of objects.
He calls it Wilson.
And as Wilson soon becomes Chuck most treasured friend, his outlook changes to a more positive direction.
If anything is true about Chuck it’s that, he’s a survivor. He could sling a noose around his neck and end his turmoil, but he doesn’t. He overcomes all obstacles and lives each day with the hope the next will bring him the freedom he desires.
Not all things are easy for those willing to endure until the end.
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Have you seen Cast Away? If so, what do you think of the movie? What do you think of Chuck Nolan?