Stand by me tells the story of four friends, who embark on a journey in order to become heroes. They are searching for a corpse outside their hometown. As we follow their journey, the characters’ personalities are revealed and their development in adolescence is explored. Gordie, the narrator of the experience of his childhood friend’s with him, is the primary focus in the story.

In the film, we get glimpses into each character’s life. Chris Chambers leads the group, and is Gordie’s closest friend. Chris Chambers is compassionate and kind, but he comes form a bad family. In the film, it is repeatedly stated that Chris comes from a bad family and everyone expects Chris to end up bad. According to a department of health report, there are different types of abuse of children, including physical abuse, neglect of the child, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. Chris and Richard’s father abused them both. Chris did not turn out too badly, but Richard hung around with a gang of delinquents who vandalized their town. Richard uses his rebelliousness as a way to let out all of the hate and anger that he has been experiencing from his father’s abuse. This can be seen in a scene when Richard and his friends are bullying Chris and Gordie. They take Gordie’s brother-given hat and allow his friend to hold a cigarette to Chris’ eye while pinning him to the floor. Richard’s bad behavior comes from his environment, which is evident in the way he behaves.

Teddy Duchamp is another character that is exposed to a violent family. The film suggests that Teddy Duchamp’s father served in the military. However, this is bad because Teddy is an alcoholic and crazy person. He burned Teddy’s right ear during a rage.

This reminds us of a topic that we studied in our textbook about abuse. There isn’t a single thing that leads to child maltreatment. Rather, there are a number of things at play, such as stress, alcohol abuse, poverty, and social rejection. Teddy’s dad might be stressed out from his military service and use alcohol to escape. However, this causes him to become abusive and angry with his son. This rubs off onto Teddy who is impulsive, prone to anger and behaves in a way which makes it seem like he doesn’t care about life. Chris intervened and lifted Teddy up before he was hit. Teddy’s tendency to be impulsive, and take risks is the result from his environment. A journal of research into adolescence states that children who have been abused are more likely to engage in risk-taking, violent relationships, substance abuse, and delinquency (Trickett 2011). The movie also supports this fact, as it says at the end that Teddy worked odd jobs and spent time in prison. This shows how Teddy’s environment influenced him.

Vern Tssio is a comedian in the group. His weight is often a source of ridicule. Obesity is an important issue in a child’s development, and the text explores this topic. According to the textbook, obesity is a problem that is growing among children in America.

Gordie the main character has an intriguing psychological development. After watching the film, I noticed that the textbook explored a few concepts. Diana Baumrind parenting styles were the first concept I came across. Gordie’s neglectful parenting is revealed in this movie. Diana describes the parenting style of this couple as being uninvolved with their child. This parenting style can cause children to feel that their parents are more important than them. Gordie, in the film, says that he felt invisible in his own family. Gordie’s family adored Gordie, but they regarded his older brother more highly because of the fact that he had brought fame to their home as a professional footballer. Gordie believes that the parents of his older son were all they cared about, and that it was just luck he had been born. Gordie’s inferiority complex is a result of this parenting style. He feels that he lacks the talent his brother has. Gordie did not have a loving family, but he did have a loving older brother. His older brother’s love was the only thing he knew. Therefore it came as a huge shock when the older brother was tragically killed.

Gardner’s eight Frames of Mind was another concept which I recognized. This theory suggests eight frames of intelligent, namely verbal. Gordie’s verbal intelligence was evident in this movie. He is also a talented writer. Chris will also become a lawyer one day. Teddy began as a naturalist before becoming a truck driver in a lumberyard. Gordie has a brother who is Bodily-Kinesthetic and an athlete. This trait was valued more by his parents than Gordie’s verbal IQ. Gordie’s parents are not interested in his writing skills, which contributes to his neglectful environment. This was evident in a scene at the dinner table where Gordie tried to get his father to pass him the potatoes, but no one paid any attention to him. It was as if he didn’t exist. Gordie’s dad doesn’t think it’s smart that Gordie has a blog and Grodie believes that writing is stupid. Gordie’s brother and three of his friends are the only ones who appreciate his talent. This movie shows the real treatment of some children.

This film is a good example of some struggles children have to face every day as they seek to discover their place within the world. Rob Reiner has adapted a story well and created a masterpiece.


  • noahtaylor

    Noah Taylor is a bloger, teacher, and writer living in upstate New York. He is the author of the highly successful educational blog, Noah's World, and the creator of the popular teacher resource, Noah's Notes. He has also written for many online publications, including Parenting, The Huffington Post, and The Learning Place. Noah is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.