Spreading Your Own Jam

“Leaving home.”

These two words combined could possibly be either the scariest or most exciting thing you could do in the course of life.

For me, I think of leaving for college, because I’m a teenager, and that’s the stage of life I’m in right now. For others, it could be moving in with a new spouse, or simply just moving to start a new, independent life. How exciting, right? Here’s the catch though, the scary part.. living on your own means new responsibilities.

On a normal, sunny day, a father sits in his chair reading a newspaper, a mother does the dishes, and a son.. stares confusingly at a piece of toast? I guess that’s what it’s like in this household.

The mother comes over to help the son, who looks a little bit too old to not know how to spread jam on toast. In the video description on Vimeo, it says that his name is Richard, so that’s what I’m going to be referring to him as from now on! So, the father, after witnessing his wife help his son spread his jam, comes over and gives the boy a gift-wrapped present. Man, what a wonderful and considerate family! When Richard opens his new present, he finds a little sack. He’s confused so his father gets up and shows him that if you attach a stick onto it, it turns into a hobo sack! The father opens the door and Richard is terrified. Today is the day he starts to be independent. 

As Richard leaves the house, his mom wraps a scarf around his neck and encourages him to go. I think his facial expression makes it  look like he’s saying “do I have to?” Yes, it’s finally time. When Richard takes his first steps away and leaves, his mother cries, as all mothers would when their children started growing up and leaving the house. Unfortunately, we all can’t be young forever like Peter Pan.

As Richard gets farther and farther away from the house, he experiences more and more troubles. Winds start getting violent and he’s somehow blown back to his house. Richard is warmly welcomed back by his mother, but his father is a little disappointed that he didn’t even last a day living on his own! Later that rainy evening, while his mother is knitting, Richard asks her to spread his jam, and of course, as a loving mother, she accepts. Upon seeing this, the father gets irritated and makes Richard leave again… and again and again, as we can see when the story progresses. Every time Richard tries to leave, he somehow ends up back at his house, whether it’s because of a flood, aliens, or something else crazy! He even ends up in the family’s fish bowl, once, when he falls into a pond!

Now, Richard’s father is getting really impatient and annoyed. Pacing around the house thinking of what to do, his wife suddenly has a heart attack and immediately dies. 😦

While getting ready for the funeral, Richard experiences trouble trying to tie his tie. When he asks his father for help, he declines. Finally, Richard has to do something by himself. When the father and son go home, the house is less lively without the loving mother and wife, but both are still in their usual routines, reading newspapers, and still, staring at toast.Finally realizing that his mother is really gone, Richard, makes an attempt to spread his own toast. He does a mediocre job too! His father walks over proudly, pats him on the back, and hands him the hobo sack. It’s finally time to go.

When Richard’s father pats him on his back and gives him the one last “I’m proud of you, go on now” look, he surprisingly pulls his father into a hug instead. He finally leaves and we can see him successfully crossing over the hills. Later that evening, the father is reading his newspaper again, but he’s a little surprised that Richard hasn’t come running back yet. As he looks out the window, realization suddenly hits him — Richard has finally moved on.

I really enjoyed this film because of how closely everyone can relate to it. One day, everyone will have to experience independence. No one, especially our mothers, will be there to wipe our butts for us anymore. This little story was so touching and emotional, but it was also very bittersweet. I thought it was really sad that his mother had to pass away in order for Richard to finally start doing things himself. It’s true though, that things happen for a reason, but it really was sad that the mother couldn’t see her child grow up and become independent. The whole animation, with the music, graphics, and plot line, was very beautifully written, overall!

This film reminded me of a project I’m doing for my English class. It’s an innovation project, and it really is difficult, because there are no guidelines — you have to do everything yourself. Innovation is “the act of introducing something new” so that’s exactly what I have to do — something that no one has done before! There are no worksheets or lessons or textbooks to teach me what to do, everything is on my own. I need to be independent and do this one on my own. I guess we all were, are, and will be “Richards” in everything we do, whether it’s leaving home, doing an innovation project, or anything else life throws in our ways.

-Dorothy

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2 thoughts on “Spreading Your Own Jam

  1. I’ll be honest, Dorothy, I didn’t read the whole thing, sorry! Don’t hate me, but the little part at the end where you said “I guess we all were, are, and will be ‘Richards'” was very hard to explain. It gave me chills, sort of, I guess it just struck me as very true, a little ominous and foreshadowing, and somewhat nerve-wracking because I am the most indecisive person in the universe. But I loved it.
    PS: I also love your background :)!

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