Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Hugh Poole
Last updated: May 15, 2019
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? – Written ResponsePsychodynamic: Gilbert’s development can explained through Erik Erikson’s developmental stages. When is father died, he encountered the initiative vs. guilt stage. If he is not able to make his own decisions, he may develop guilt over taking initiative. He also encounters the identity vs. role confusion. Although he wants to live and be his own person, he has to play the father role in his family and take care of his mentally disabled brother.
The psychodynamic theory focuses on the importance of early childhood experiences and plays a big role in determining personality. His father dying so early in his life continued to stick with him in the future. His personality can also be explained by the id, ego,and superego.
He develops anxiety as a result of his repressed feelings. The conflict between the id and the superego causes anxiety, which could be lessened by defense mechanisms. He eventually gets triggered by Arnie’s mishaps and takes his anger out at him, physically hurting him despite saying that he would protect him.
This inner conflict is shown throughout the movie. One scene describes the inner conflict he has with his family when Becky uses a form of free association to let Gilbert speak his unconscious thoughts- “I want a new thing. House. I want a new house.
And a family. I want Momma to take aerobics classes. I want Ellen to grow up. I want a new brain for Arnie.” Cognitive:Gilbert Grape might be affected by the fundamental attribution error, which is the tendency for observers to underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the impact of personal disposition. He is ashamed of his family and believes that his family members’ social inadequacy is correlated to their laziness or lack of care for others.
He always jokes about his mother’s weight by calling her a “beached whale” despite the fact that she is facing depression after her husband’s death. Gilbert is also affected by stress, which is the process by which we perceive and respond to stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging. His stressors include being ashamed of his family. Because he believes he has no control over his situation, he uses emotion-focused coping, which is attempting to alleviate stress by avoiding a stressor and attending to emotion needs related to one’s stress reaction. He cannot get along with most of his family so he searches for support from Becky, knowing that she is able to comfort and understand him.Social Cultural:Conformity is the adjusting of behavior thinking to coincide with a group standard. As a result of his wanting to conform to social norms, he often makes fun of his mom. One example of him doing this is when he lifts a child up to let him look at his obese mother.
He is responding to normative social influence, which is the influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. He is ashamed of his family and tries to belong with everyone else. Another important concept to note is that role playing affects attitudes. Gilbert adopted a new role as a father after his actual father died.
A role is a set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave. This caused him to believe that he is the family’s father and that he needs to to take care of the family and make money making him very stressed.