What does Ray Brower's body symbolize in Stand By Me?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The body represents the sum total of the boys' journeys.  It represents the culmination point of their travels.  At the same time, I would suggest that it holds a sense of personal meaning for Gordie, as he is instantly reminded of how his parents view him as nothing more than "a body."  The body also represents a point of convergence of the boys.  As it represented the entire reason for their journey, the body represents a point where the four of them come together.  Their journey cannot be undertaken without the body being present, the bonds they forge unable to be as developed without the body being present.  At the same time, I believe that the body is also the point of their departure.  When they decide to leave the body after seeing it and scaring off Ace and his thugs, they are silent in returning to Castle Rock, noting that something "had changed" in both the town and in them.  The separation that happens to all of them take place in life after seeing the body.  The body thus represents a point where there is convergence and a sense of divergence in consciousness.