Toy Story’s Life Lessons, per Woody

Tom Power wrote a great summary of the Toy Story franchise (movies 1-4) from the perspective of Woody, the main protagonist in the series. Here’s a quick summary of Tom’s observations about each movie, recapped because it helped me appreciate the fourth movie with this perspective.

Toy Story 1: Child
“As kids, we don’t understand the hurt we cause others with our immature, coercive personalities. We can’t grasp how big the world is, and the dangers that come with it. We fall out with friends, get jealous over the attention given to others, and lie to spare ourselves from being punished.”

Toy Story 2: Teenager
“In Toy Story 2, Woody faces challenges during the turbulent teenage years. We might find that our friends aren’t the people we thought they were and tests our devotion to them. We experience changes in our familial relationships as we selfishly and stubbornly go against our parents’ wishes. Our need for approval means that we do things we shouldn’t, especially where peer pressure is concerned.”

Toy Story 3: Young Adult
“Andy’s own journey shows that we eventually have to grow up, even if it isn’t easy. We’re conflicted over changes in our lives, such as getting a job or heading off to college. We also experience loss, including friends moving away from home, leaving our own families for pastures new, or the death of loved ones.
Woody proves that we have to accept these situations. We can’t live in the past forever, and sometimes change is necessary to grow. Without it, we’re destined to remain selfish and not selfless.”

Toy Story 4: Adult
“This is adulthood. We fall in love, have our own children, and experience our own midlife crisis. In bringing up our own children, we learn to be responsible for someone other than ourselves. We sacrifice everything for them and, once they’re old enough and leave home, we prioritize our own happiness and do the things we want to before we retire and grow old. This proves to be the final batch of life lessons that Woody symbolizes; an apt end to his and our own stories. “