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The 6 Inspirational Lessons 'The Polar Express' Can Teach Us All

"Believe" Me, The Polar Express is A Pure Christmas Classic!

By Lewis JefferiesPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

Twelve years ago #ThePolarExpress chugged into cinemas in style. The Polar Express is a live action and animated film with the main star being Tom Hanks. The film follows the journey of a disillusioned little boy, jump on board a magical train in his pyjamas, and heads supposedly to "The North Pole" to meet Santa Claus. The film certainly takes its viewers on a bumpy and icy ride, from almost drowning in a lake to tumbling down never-ending shoots which land directly in Santa's workshop. However, there's one thing that stands in the little boy's way; "the end of the magic", as he no longer believes in Santa Claus and realises all of his faith has gone. It isn't long until he meets the ghost of the Polar Express who taunts him by telling him that everyone he knows will take him for a fool or duped. Towards the end of the film, the conductor asks this boy to BELIEVE and not let anyone judge him for believing in Santa Claus or anything else mythical or something from a story. The boy remembers this and follows this instinct to believe for the rest of the film.


Throughout the film the "Hero Boy"/Chris (protagonist) encounters a number of characters that remain a highlight and key moment to the film. The encountered/majorly key characters are:

The Know It All Boy

This boy has never felt so proud of proving how smarter he is than the other children on board the train. The irritating boy is also portrayed to show the audience that he cannot appreciate the magic of the ride and simply refuses to help others when needed. The one and only cure to this boy is to LEARN to appreciate what he gets in life and learn to respect others. The boy realises this when the conductor punches this key word into his ticket at the end of the film.

The Poor and Lonely Boy

Having a hard and depressing life is never easy for a child. Especially on the other side of the tracks in the more run down areas. We learn that faith and the Christmas period just doesn't appeal to this boy after his past experiences. With him having no hope and struggling to take all the festivity to heart, he learns he needs to COUNT ON and RELY ON himself in order to regain his hope and faith in order to enjoy the beautiful time of year. The conductor teaches the boy this lesson by punching the words onto his ticket.

The Girl With the Christmas Cheer

A young girl who cares for others, listens to others and helps people feel extremely welcome by having that natural Christmas cheer inside of her. As the girl has that Christmas cheer inside of her 24/7, she can hear the iconic sleigh bell from long distances, even when it's not in sight. The conductor teaches the girl to LEAD at the end of the film, and teach her to lead the way by constantly caring for others, no matter what state they are in.

The Taunting Hobo of the Polar Express

At first this guy seems frighting to the audience and rather off-putting. The Hobo also resembles a ghost (maybe the ghost of Christmas past?) as he magically disappears into the snow and reappears again. The Hobo then becomes rather friendly by explaining to the "Hero Boy" that seeing is believing and never have doubt on yourself.

But What Is The Key/Hidden Lesson To This Film?

Throughout the film a sleigh bell becomes the main symbol of the film. All of the children on board the Polar Express can hear the iconic bell. Whereas, the "Hero Boy" cannot hear it due to having no faith in Santa Claus. Despite the conductor and the ghost hobo helping the boy all the way through the film, he still had major issues in regaining his faith and believing. When the train arrives at "The North Pole", the boy begins to get caught up in a stampede of people ad then realises he won't be able to see Santa. Coincidence? Of course it is. Due to not believing, it was inevitable that the boy would never actually see Santa at all during his trip. When he notices he'll never see Santa, the boy grabs the bell off the floor and begins to think deeply and persuade himself to believe in Santa Claus despite him knowing, he's not actually real. Us as the audience are sat on the edge of our seats at home praying the boy begins to believe in himself to believe in Santa Claus. When he (finally) persuades himself to believe once again, Santa approaches the boy as a reward for putting the magic back in his head again.

We all believed in Santa Claus when were children and our faith was rewarded with presents on Christmas Day every year. For a child, having faith acts as music in their lives. When they hear the music, everything about Christmas and the Christmas period begins to sink in and becomes a magical story deep inside their minds. A story in which a child loves to retell themselves every year. It's something to get excited over. On the other hand, when children grow up, they forget to listen to the music during the festive period and everything deteriorates in their minds and they see reality. When the moment comes and the music is gone, it's a major struggle for them to regain it again as they've seen the truth. But believing in what they choose, children can hold onto their stories in their minds throughout their childhoods, into their teen lives and even into the adult years.

So the main lesson taught in The Polar Express is; don't let others judge you and believe in what you wish. Even if it a fairy tale and isn't true...

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About the Creator

Lewis Jefferies

MA Media and Communication graduate from the University of Portsmouth - Massive Doctor Who Fan.

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    Lewis JefferiesWritten by Lewis Jefferies

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