Cast Away Hierarchy of Needs | Teen Ink

Cast Away Hierarchy of Needs

February 12, 2014
By Anonymous

In the award winning film, Cast Away, Tom Hanks stars as the main character Chuck who becomes stranded on an island after a horrific plane crash. In the beginning of the movie Chuck has a high self-esteem and he believes he has power over everything. Since he is a high ranked FedEx executive he chooses to travel on an airplane with his packages to resolve a problem in Malaysia. Chuck leaves his girlfriend, Kelly, and boards the plane unknowing that it was destined to crash a few hundred miles later. As the plane goes through a thunderstorm, something mysteriously happens to it and everyone including Chuck goes down in the plane. Chuck finds a life raft and drifts ending up on an island. At the end of the film he creates a boat and he is found by a crate ship returned to his home. Each event has an effect on Chuck’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Chuck’s basic physiological needs lack after he becomes stranded on the island. Once Chuck becomes castaway, he goes out searching for water and he finds coconuts which contain water inside of them. Another physiological need Chuck desires is shelter, so he ties the raft he drifted on to trees to protect him from rain and other natural storms. Also, one of the biggest basic needs for humans is the need for food and Chuck lacks food. He attempts to create a spear which will allow him to spear fish in the ocean for him to eat. Chuck lacks many basic physiological needs while he is stranded on the island, but he attempts to meet every one of them as he adapts to the “stranded on an island life”.
Next on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is safety and Chuck is with or without safety throughout the movie. Chuck creates a shelter, his raft, to protect himself but towards the middle of the movie he attempts to go out to sea and the raft he used is impaled and he can no longer use it as shelter which restricts him of safety. Although his shelter is ruined, one night a dangerous storm comes and he searches for a safe place to hide; he finds a cave in which he climbs into to get away from the storm. Another example of when Chuck’s safety needs are not met is when he is attempting to make a fire for his warmth and he accidentally stabs his hand with the stick and he bleeds, which is a risk of infection.
Another level of Chuck’s Hierarchy of Needs is belongingness and love. Chuck demonstrates his lack of companionship when he finds a package with a Wilson volleyball inside and he creates a face out of his blood onto the ball and he begins to talk to it. Towards the end of the movie Chuck has become best friends with the ball named Wilson and he cries when the ball accidentally gets lost at sea. Also, Chuck’s wife, Kelly, had given him a clock with her picture inside and he keeps the clock open so he can see her face and talk to her because his lack of love and companionship.
Chuck’s esteem drops while he is stranded on the island for five or more years. Before Chuck was stranded he was a very high ranked executive at his company FedEx and he believed he had power over everything. At the end of the film Chuck’s perspective changes as he speaks to his friend/co-worker and he says that while on the island “[he] had power over nothing”. Chuck also attempts to achieve his esteem needs when he returns from the island. Once Chuck returns from the island many years later, Kelly is married and has a child which causes him to be upset. Although he was upset about his ex-girlfriends marriage, he chooses to leave her be and Chuck decides to move on with his life.
Maslow’s final level is self-actualization and Chuck does reach this level at the end of the film. At the beginning of the movie, before the accident, Chuck took his entire life for granted and he did not know what he had until he lost it. At the end of the movie Chuck realizes how lucky he was to survive and that none of the useless objects he had before mattered to him. Chuck achieves his self-actualization when his empty life is partially fulfilled when he comes back to the real world realizing he is content with his life how he is.
My general opinion on the film is that it was superb. I liked how throughout the entire movie there was little suspense and then one huge suspenseful event of the plane crash. Adventurous movies always interest me because I like to see how some people attempt to survive and I like not knowing what is going to happen next. One thing I disliked about the movie was how most of the time Chuck was stranded on the island, the directors chose to not show him during a few of the years. Also, I did not like how they did not show what was inside the package at the very end that Chuck was so desperately trying to deliver. C’mon! I want to see what was in the box since it was so important!

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

sshurtte said...
on Feb. 17 2014 at 11:04 pm
Congratulations!  You are a published author!  I really enjoyed your story. I am a fan of Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs and enjoyed reading your analysis of Maslow with respect to the movie "Castaway."  You make some very salient points.