Reflections on Easy Rider- Jasmine Omorogbe
In the end of the film when Wyatt says â€śwe blew itâ€?, he is definitely talking about more than just their trek to Mardi Gras. In an attempt to be so different, they ended up being the same as what they were originally rebelling against. In â€śFrom Counterculture to Anticultureâ€? by David Costello, Costello argues that those words serve as a caution to those within the counterculture. According to him, the Wyattâ€™s words â€śare a warning for a counterculture that can't really be counter if it accepts the values of the dominant culture into which it enslaves itselfâ€? (190). In such case, the whole purpose of the movement is defeated, and instead of being free, they are still bound, just bound by a different yoke that of the mainstream. Costello poses some essential questions about this freedom sought out by counterculture followers:
â€śAre they blowing their freedom, are they, after all, not the stuff of counterrevolution, but merely a sold-out generation? An easy rider is a pimp who lives off a whore-slave: Is the new generation made up of pimps who live off dope-slaves, whose ride is easy, without commitment, whose enslavement to easy money and instant pleasure means that when real values--of the past or the present-are there to be chosen, the only reply can be "We blew it"?â€? (190)
This brings up important issues surrounding the counterculture. What is the point if at the end, no gain has been made and nothing has been achieved? This was certainly illustrated in the film. At the end, after much time (and gas) had been wasted, Wyatt and Billy were really no better off than when they began this journey. In fact, they had even put someone else in danger. Costello mentions that, â€śCaptain America and Billy carry George only to his violent death. Captain America and Billy learn nothing from George's death on the road to Mardi Grasâ€? (190). There is no epiphany or great reflection on the matter, they just keep on going.
At the end of the film when they become â€śmartyrsâ€? for the counterculture, it does not seem as if living within the counterculture was worth it for any of them. At the end of their lives, what did George, Billy, or Wyatt have to show for it? How had this lifestyle helped anyone, or even themselves for that matter? The answers to these questions do not have positive responses, which makes one wonder if it all, the whole movement, was really in vain.