People cry for endless amounts of reasons: pain, sadness, sickness, and even happiness. In The Body by Stephen King, a motif of crying is used throughout the novella. Teddy is moved to tears when someone insults his father. Chris cries because he realizes he cannot be a hero. Gordie has tears because he ultimately realizes what Chris said about the body is true. In this novella it becomes apparent that the crying motif reveals insights into our major characters. Teddy, the boy with hearing aids and thick glasses, cries over something someone says about his father.
When the boys were at the dump getting water and waiting for Gordie to come back with the food, Milo Pressman shows up and makes a comment about Teddy’s father. “’Your dad was a loony’” (347). This enraged Teddy and got him furious. The word alone led him to cry. Because Teddy’s father stormed the beaches of Normandy, Teddy feels he has to live up to that and take risks with his life. By Milo saying this to him, it was like he was pissing on Teddy’s father’s grave. Teddy holds his father in high regard and thus cried when a brutal statement was said about him.
Another character who cries is Chris. Even though Chris is considered a very tough kid, he is even brought to tears. Chris who is looked down upon by the community saw an opportunity to be a hero by finding and returning the body if Ray Brower. His opportunity was stolen when his brother and the rest of the juvenile delinquents showed up to the body as well. The argument between the boys made both sides realize neither of them could have the body. “’Nobody gets last dibs’” (419).
Chris knows deep, down inside that the older boys could make up any story they want and possibly get him and his friends in trouble. He breaks down and cries because he is frustrated he cannot return with the body as he intended to do so at the start of the adventure. A third incident of crying is when Gordie gets beat up by Ace Merrill, one of the juvenile delinquents. He got kneed in the crotch, punched in the face multiple times, and scraped his chin hard on the cement sidewalk. These are obvious physical reasons to cry, but there is an underlying reason hat supersedes the physical pain. That reason is the realization that Chris was right about Ray Brower’s body being theirs. “Chris was right. He had been ours” (428).
It pained Chris and especially Gordie in that moment of clarity that they could not have the body. Ray Brower belonged to them and only them. All three boys react with tears because they experience anger. The differences, however, reveal that the boys react to the situations on a personal level. Teddy cannot stand when someone mocks his father and is extremely overwhelming. Chris knows he cannot be a hero and break away from his family name. Lastly, Gordie cries because he knows that Chris was right all along and that the body should have been theirs.
In The Body, by Stephen King, tears are a prevalent motif throughout the text. To understand someone, you have to relate to their emotions. It is human nature to be able to recognize and have relationships that have meaning. Through tears, the characters Teddy, Chris, and Gordie reveal that personal disappointments can lead to better things down the road.