Now, I share some of Syd’s opinions. I don’t like the way Rudolph’s parents push for conformity and I am deeply disappointed in Santa for not loving Rudolph unconditionally—what is Santa for, if not that? But I interpret the end of the story much differently than Syd does.
It is not Rudolph who is redeemed (or any of the other “misfits”) in the story. He’s not accepted on the basis of extreme usefulness. The community feels his absence when he runs away. He’s welcomed back. It is after Rudolph comes back and the community has grown that his difference shines, so to speak. The community finds redemption and then Rudolph, simply by being who he is, ends up excelling.
I think the message is: be who you are and let the world change.