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During his time on the island in Cast Away, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) never opens up one last FedEx package, even though it could have made his escape or his survival easier. Why is this?

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Some people are a stickler for integrity! Guess Tom Hank's character was one of those... – KeyBrd Basher Jan 7 '14 at 5:31
Actually, he opens all the packages except one – Tom Jan 7 '14 at 12:52
Where did the ice skates come from? Or his "fishing net"? Or... Wilson! – his Jan 7 '14 at 19:50
in an earlier draft of the movie, he eventually does open the last package, and it contains something mostly useless (some salsa I think). As @SystemDown points out, leaving it unopened makes a much bigger point about his character. – KutuluMike Apr 24 '14 at 22:50
To restate what was already answered, but in different terms, it gave him something to hope for, a sense of urgency and a distraction. Protecting the package so that he may finally deliver it is a good way to stay sane. – DustinDavis Apr 25 '14 at 14:42
up vote 31 down vote accepted

Tom Hanks's character works for FedEx, and sees it as his job that the package reaches it's intended destination safe and sound, and most importantly unopened. While the package remains closed he still has a chance to deliver it. And delivering it means that he gets off the island.

It was a way of keeping himself sane and keep his hopes up.

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Sane, in contrast to going nuts and talking with Wilson the face-ball – nilon May 22 at 0:23

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