Throughout Stand by Me we see the four boys Chris, Gordie, Teddy and Vern mature as they overcome their problems and fears. Chris is the leader of a group of town boys. He under-estimated and doesnt believe in himself. Gordie is the main character and the more mature boy of the group. He lacks in self confidence and is made to believe that he isnt as good as his deceased brother. Teddy is the craziest member of the group. He constantly feels as though he must prove his man-hood through-out the movie and acts dangerously and carelessly. Vern is the wimp of the group. He is cowardly and sensitive, lack of self confidence and the ability to defend himself. Vern learns to stand up for himself and be less cowardly in difficult situations. The boys learn about each other, lifes difficulties and most importantly themselves as on the journey to find the dead body.
Chris was a compassionate, honest, brave leader of the group of boys. He didnt demand respect, he was just given it because he was such a good friend to the other boys and they looked up to him because he was such a genuine person. Chris was always sticking up for others when they needed it and he was always doing selfless things e.g. the hat incident with the 2 gang members at the start of the movie when he stuck up for Gordie. Chris also has a reputation of being the bad boy the one who always gets in trouble and is never expected to do any good. While camping out in the forest Gordie helps Chris to see that he isnt a bad person at all but its made to seem that way by people brand him. Chris learns to believe in himself and gains confidence in his personality. He always helps the boys get out of trouble when needed. It was ironic that he died trying to help someone else out of danger. Chris later became a lawyer.
Gordie was a low self-esteemed boy who was confused about his life and where it would take him. He was Chris best friend in the group and the most mature one. He was a very loyal friend and stuck up for Chris when Ace threatened to stab him. He was made to be ashamed of his natural talent for writing by his father who resented him because he wasnt as good as his brother. During the movie Gordie has a flash back to when his brother was alive. They are all sitting at the dinner table talking about Gordies brother when being the typical football jock once again just talking about his brother when his brother says look Gordie wrote a story the mum praises him and the dad buts in and directs the conversation back to how proud he is of his elder son Gordies brother. Gordie learns to stand up for himself when he is being put down by others and just to be himself. Gordie then peruses the career of becoming a writer.
Teddy was a very odd and fearless boy who was always trying to prove how manly he was e.g. playing dodge the train and nearly getting himself killed. He was neglected by his father who was in a psychotic ward and had burnt Teddys ear on a stove before being taken to the ward. We learn throughout the movie that he has a sensitive side and is very fragile when people say things about his father despite what he did to him. This shows he was a very proud person. Teddy learns to act more sensibly and to use his head and be more careful. Teddys behaviour in his childhood reflected on his adulthood as well; he ended up in jail.
Vern was not very bright, he was shy and just a plain coward. He showed no defence for himself when bullied and was afraid to put across his opinion. He found significance in a comb for items to bring on the journey to find the dead body. He was the follower of the group and didnt really have an impression of individuality. Vern learns to stand up for himself and be less cowardly in difficult situations. His lack of confidence as a child reflected on his adulthood when he became a father of 4 kids, opposed to Chris who became a lawyer, and Gordie who became a writer.
It was important that the boys went on the journey to find the dead body because not only did they learn about each other and themselves, but they also learnt about the difficulties they will have to face throughout their lives. All the boys gained different values from the situation and all matured in their own different ways, but together they learnt of what is yet to come and to make the most of life, with the exceptions of Teddy and Vern, though maybe they thought they had led great lives. That was their choice of life and who are we to judge.