In the movie Easy Rider, we see two characters with two different personalities, as well as with two different outlooks on the purpose of life and what it means to be free. As the story continues, we see that Wyatt is a man of self-discovery and personal fulfillment who searches for a life different from the structural ways of society during the 60’s. Consequently, Billy searches for the same types of things as Wyatt, but leans closer to finding his happiness through luxuries that only society can provide. I believe that these different mindsets are what create a sort of alienation between Wyatt and Billy. This further explains why Wyatt and Billy have two different experiences by the end of the film.
The need to want “more” is a strong attribute that is shared by both Wyatt and Billy. However, when it comes to Billy, I believe that his search for “more” is greatly centered on things mainly available within a societal environment. For example, Billy’s main interests lie with money, drugs, and women. Wyatt however, shows a lot of interest in building relationships with other fellow hitchhikers and hippies who live off the land. Wyatt also seems to find a great amount of peace and happiness by just interacting with the individuals he meets on the road. In contrast, Billy shows little to now interest in getting to know anyone, unless there is a women involved. In addition, throughout the film Billy is extremely impatient and eager to make it to New Orleans for Mardi gras (which later gets the two characters thrown in jail.) I feel that this turn of events illustrates how Billy is still somewhat a “prisoner“ to the mentality of the structured world and its luxuries, while Wyatt is one who seeks a completely natural and much more independent lifestyle. We can see Wyatt’s dedication towards leaving his old life and desires behind in the early scenes of the movie when he casts his watch away, which is symbolic of his freedom from structural time constraints. Wyatt and Billy both want a peaceful and easygoing life, but I feel that their means of how to require that are divergent.
When Billy tells Wyatt “ we made it,” Wyatt responds back with a “No, man. We blew it.” I believe that this further explains how indifferent both Billy and Wyatt’s initial goals and mindsets are. Both men found themselves traveling across the country in order to get away from society, but only one man found the freedom he was looking for. In Billy’s case, the money Wyatt and him received from the drug sale, was considered “making it”. However, towards the end of the film, it seems that Wyatt begins to realize that he missed out on the long-awaited opportunities that were presented to him throughout the film. The film was very impactful Ideologies of the American Dream is an extended theme represented through these two characters.