The Straight Story: Pilgrimage by Elvin Strait

There are different kinds of short stories which are called educational or moral stories. More like the story of Aesop. In a similar story, a philosophy teacher stood in front of a class full of bright students.
He put pretty big stones in a glass jar. Then asked the students, ′′ Is the jar full?”
The students said, ′′ yes. full. ′′
Then the teacher filled small crumble stones with jars. Small stones take place in the gaps of big rocks.
The teacher said, ′′ What this time?”
Students said, ′′ This time also full. ′′
The teacher has now poured sand into the jar. Shake a little. The sand gathered in the gaps of big stones and small stones.
The teacher said, ′′ This time also the jar is full. But when the sand is removed, the jar will be full. Even if the small stones are removed, the jar will remain full. This jar is actually like our lives.
The big stones in the jar are the most important things in our lives. Family, health, relationships etc. Life is full if you don’t have everything else and only these things.
Small stones or crushing stones are work, school or academic education etc.
And sand is more small things like material achievements.
If we filled jars with sand first there would be no room for big stones or small stones.
So, first give importance to the big stone i.e., your health, family, relationship with family members. Don’t underestimate the big stones and the most important things in life while running towards the sand and crumbling stones. ′′
In general, the original story of this philosophical professor would seem to be the main story of David Lynch’s ‘The Straight Story.’
David Lynch is one of the greatest filmmakers in the world and due to a lot of obscurity in his film it is jokingly said that presumably, David Lynch is the only person who can fully understand his films. Lynch thinks that if a mystery is more unknown then it is more beautiful. He said life is very confusing, so the film should also be allowed to be confusing.
But if you see the Straight Story in general, it is absolutely straight and simple story. Not much character, not even the frequency of events.
At the beginning of the film, one of his friends discovered old Elvin Strait lying on the floor of the house. He was taken to the doctor. The doctor talks about his various health issues. We can see that Elvin Strait can’t stand properly. He has to move with two sticks.
This old man got the news at night that his brother had a stroke. Elvin decides he’s going to see his brother. His brother lives 240 miles away. Elvin doesn’t have a driving license because he has an eyesight problem. He doesn’t want anyone else to keep him going. So, riding a lawnmower he started his journey. Speed is only five miles an hour.
It’s unbelievable that Elvin can go 240 miles Because he’s in the bad physical condition and by riding the lawnmower he can’t cover such a long distance.
Everyone is surprised to see the old man’s act when Elvin starts his journey. But the old man didn’t have the time to pay attention to it. He continues his journey.
He met a young girl on the way. The one who ran away from home. She sits by the fire at night talking to her. He told him to understand the importance of family a game he played with his children when they were young. He told them to break each stick separately. They would have broken it. Then he would tie the sticks. Children couldn’t have been broken. Then he told them, ′′ That’s family. ′′
The next morning that girl left. Elvin Strait gets up and sees she left a few sticks tied up. So, it turns out that the old man’s story worked. It is guessed that the girl has returned to her family.
Elvin took a break with some young cyclists on the way. He didn’t continue his journey at night. He took rest at night and continued his journey in the day to reach his brother’s residence at Mount Zion.
The young men once asked him, ′′ What’s the worst thing about getting old?”
Elvin Strait replies, ′′ Remembering the memories you were young. ′′
The conversations in the film are awesome. Film critic Roger Ebert called as Hemingway dialogue. And the whole film has amazing camera work.
He finally met his brother Lyle Strait.
But since David Lynch’s film contains many metaphoric, this film is also has a little deeper meaning.
A few questions to ask about the life of Elvin Strait. Like, why does Elvin Strait take his daughter alone? Where are the rest of his fourteen children? Why doesn’t he have contact with them? One of her daughter’s children burned in a fire, then the state took the rest of the girl’s children. Elvin Strait said one man was supposed to watch them. But that one guy gets drunk. The fire goes on. One of his daughter’s children burns. The happy family of a girl is broken. Did Elvin Strait explain himself to that one guy?
What happened to his brother for which she has not had any contact for ten years is not known even in the whole film.
These questions are very important. I think there is some answer in the film. As in one scene, a woman is delirious after pressing a deer by her car. Elvin Strait go stand up to her. The woman said she used to come and go on this road for his work. Thirteen deer she pressed by her car in the last week But he loves deer.
The woman says these things like delusion. Then looked around and wondered, where do the deer come from?
Lady then goes away. Her leaving shows she drives very badly. So, it doesn’t seem unusual to press deer. But the lady’s last quote is where the deer comes from. She wanted to give the deer more importance than her own fault. But he really loves deer. Really when a deer dies, he cries like an inflammation. But she doesn’t understand that her speed or careless driving is the reason behind the deer pressing.
This woman or dark satire is like Elvin Strait’s life story. Elvin Strait wages World War II. A young boy used to work for them during the war. Elvin was a skilled sniper. One day he wrongly shot and killed that boy.
This incident has a huge impact on his psychology. Because he was the only one who knew the boy was dead in his gunshots. Others of the group knew the boy was dead by the Germans.
He returns from the war being an alcoholic. Behind her alcohol addiction, the attempt to forget the fact has been revealed. But again, one of her grandchildren burned and lost her daughter children because of the same alcohol addiction.
The stubborn and one-eyed Elvin Strait has always made different excuses like the woman who’s been chasing a deer behind her actions. Probably the reason for the conflict with his brother is also his stubborn and one-eyed attitude. In the end, he told a pastor that the reason for conflict with the brother is anger, vanity, alcohol etc. This is his confession at the end. Of course, the entire journey of Elvin Strait is a kind of confession. It can be called a pilgrimage.
He made mistakes in life. Now he wants peace.
The journey of meeting with his brother is not from affection towards his brother. His guilty conscience came up with different conversations throughout his journey. How people live with their guilty conscience is an important issue and another great director Michael Haneke has done a great job in his hidden film.
Elvin Strait’s journey for his own peace. Even though we don’t know much about the life of a gentleman, it shows that he has no interest in meeting the rest of his children. The reason he wanted to solve all the issues with his brother is that he said, ′′ Your brother knows who you are and what you are better than anyone else. ′′
Maybe this is true. So, the two brothers meeting at the last scene doesn’t seem to be too excited. The expression of joy and sorrow can be seen in the eyes of both. Which cannot be expressed in words.
M M Shahria

Director & Head of Planning

An overall generalist and tolerant person. Director of many futuristic megazic pieces of art. A covert observer and analyzer. A family-oriented person. Shahria loves to criticize the traditional norms logically.

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