The real “castaway” in Cast Away

It’s not when he is marooned…

Come to think of it, when does the character played by Tom Hanks actually gets castaway in the Hollywood thriller Cast Away?

I would like to reiterate, when is the real “castaway” in the Tom Hank’s starrer movie? Every time I watch the movie, it conjures up this very question as to when is the hero castaway in the real sense.

No matter how many ever times I lay my eyes on this movie, the more tenacious becomes my prima facie opinion that the castaway is definitely not when Tom Hanks meets with a plane crash and gets marooned on a pristine island.

Let me ask this question, when is a man castaway?

Here is the meaning of castaway from the ubiquitous WWW.

Definition of castaway. 1: thrown away: rejected. 2a: cast adrift or ashore as a survivor of a shipwreck. b: thrown out or left without friends or resources.

Is it when he is abandoned and stranded on an uninhabited island due to an accident?

Is it when he is separated from his loved ones and is bereft from all the warmth in life that he was endowed with?

Even under such deplorable conditions, what is the only thing that keeps the human spirit maintain equanimity against all odds and coerces us to go on? It’s the survival instinct fueled by HOPE!

Indeed it’s hope. Hope that he can get his previous life back one day…

Hope that he can be among his loved ones one fine day…

Hope that he can do the things he always hankered…

Hope that…

In the movie, the sole comfort that the hero has is that his dearest girlfriend is waiting for him to return. That gratifying feeling is the only hope for our hero. Looking at her photograph fills his dampened soul with warmth. He is sanguine with the hope that one propitious day he will be able to leave the place and get back to his welcoming girlfriend and thereby start a new life. This longing keeps our hero rejuvenated and helps him face all the vicissitudes.

Hope is the beacon in life that propels even the hapless soul to keep moving forward despite any adversities.

Now, what happens when he returns? He learns that his darling has moved on and shares her life with another man. That is no fault of her, for, she and everyone think that our hero is long gone since no one thinks he could have survived the crash.

The movie culminates with the hero standing in the middle of a crossroad junction, flummoxed and “stranded”. Yep, he is literally in the “crossroads”. Directionless and not knowing where to go he just stands there. That moment I think is when the character is really “castaway”. That is when he is really abandoned, knowing that all hope is lost. Not when he is physically stranded on the forsaken island.

The title “cast away” is a metaphoric rendering of the hero’s state when he returns from the isolation is what I feel. Although on the outset it does seem to have a reference to his solitary confinement in the forsaken island due to the crash, it is when he returns back is when he is truly deserted or castaway. Was this a no-brainer and am I overthinking? I wouldn't know unless you tell me. What Y'all feel?