Nebraska

March 28, 2014

Before entering into the cinder box, and being cast down into the wormy soil with those we surrounded ourselves with when our hearts murmured shedding tears and saying their remembrances, we want those remembrances to be of large statute. We don’t want to be remembered for how we ate apples, or how quirky our personalities were during football season. To have our funeral audience smirk at those little things means there was not much to say about the big things. We were simply just passing through this world, leaving a small carbon footprint onto the Earth, versus a historic and heroic permanent marker etching.

 

And so this is what irks the father, Woody, in Nebraska. It’s what motivates him to get to Nebraska and collect his nonexistent $1 million. His closest family members don’t understand the reasoning behind the man, who half the time is dazed and confused. It doesn’t occur to them that they are dealing with a man who is aware his time on Earth is drawing nigh, and he’s a bit underwhelmed with what he created. True, he has a marriage, two sons, a home, etcetera. But really, they are all just out of convenience or par for the course. There is nothing special that separates him from his neighbor for instance. Even his marriage, his son David soon learns, was just a matter of circumstances.

 

It is David who probes his father’s former life by aiding him on his mission to Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s not as if he tried to talk Woody out of the nonsensical mission. He simply accepted that his father would need to learn the cold hard truth directly. But through this enterprise he learns the underlying motivation for Woody. No, it is not to buy a new truck. It is much deeper than that. And it is a realization on David’s end that neither his mother nor brother nor extended family for that matter can fully appreciate. After all, they are just passing through, being run of the mill. Indeed, one of the charming aspects of Nebraska is the humorous portrayal of the inner core of heartland America and the brutal fact that most families do not reach for more than what they are born into, which is wide open landscape.

 

David does not have this sensation of anxiety about this reality, however. He seems to be an incredibly content individual working at an electronics store. Yet through appreciating his father’s inner, secret ambitions of wanting more out of life than what was available to him in his town and Montana, we may conjecture that his contentment may too be stirred. He may want more out of his life than a small town job with a small town wife. He may want more than what is offered to him – which what Woody must have considered too late in his time.

 

Grade: B+

 

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