The movie “Joy Luck Club” depicted different characters of women from China who underwent difficulties in their lives. One woman had to bare the scorn of her family for being a concubine, another woman had to leave behind her twins under a tree during World War II because of an illness and later when she died, her daughter met her older twin sisters, these women were made to think that Chinese women should be meek and gentle, therefore, expecting their American born daughters to be the same. The daughters would retaliate about these expectations from their mothers.
They have asserted their own identities and stood up for what they wanted for themselves (Wang, 1989). Eric Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development can be aptly applied to the Joy Luck Club’s heroines. They were able to recover themselves and assert their individualities in the end. Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory states that ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through interaction with our environment and that our personality constantly changes as we go through our daily activities.
We are exposed to new experiences that contribute to the development of our personalities. Each stage, according to Erikson, is concerned about competency in a particular area in life that if handled well, the individual will have a sense of expertise, which he termed as ego strength (Funder, 2010). I quote from Erikson, “Ego identity, then, in its subjective aspect, is the awareness of the fact that there is a self-sameness and continuity to the ego’s synthesizing methods and a continuity of one’s meaning for others” (Funder, 2010).
If this is managed poorly, the individual will feel inadequate. We experience conflict that becomes a turning point in development which is for his view, these are focused on either developing or failing that quality. During this stage of conflict, there is potential for growth but also for failure. For B. F. Skinner, operant conditioning or instrumental conditioning is to associate behavior with a consequence: reward or punishment. In the movie, these theories of Skinner and Erikson were depicted by the mothers who give punishment or reward for certain behaviors manifested by their daughters.
They were formed according to the cultures they were exposed to: Chinese traditions upheld by their mothers and the American culture they grew up in. Here conditioning came by way of cultural constraints. This explains the difficulties that the women underwent because they were also a product of their own culture. In the end, they were able to transcend cultural barriers and have developed their own personalities independent of their mothers. One can say that these girls have bloomed and acquired personalities after stages of conflict that resulted from a culture imbibed by their mothers and a culture they had to embrace.
Another good theorist is Carl Rogers who is best known for a non-directive approach in the therapeutic process. He espouses Humanism in psychology, that believes that all people are essentially good and healthy. According to him, “In my early professional years, I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth? ” All the women in the movie were all good, the woman who was judged by her family because of being a concubine, is essentially good.
The mother who left her twins under a tree is essentially good. Often, we misjudge people for certain behaviors we think are improper or inappropriate. But if we examine the circumstances and we know all of the circumstances, we may be careful in judging other people’s behavior. Personally I have learned in my own life that there is such a things as hope and grace. No matter what happens to you, life has a way of resolving things and healing emotional and psychological pains so that one can eventually move on celebrating life.
In many ways, the culture of my family and society formed me through negative and positive reinforcements. At first I was afraid to assert myself and I would always conform to what society wants. Erikson’s psychosocial development made me realize the challenges that I have to overcome through life’s challenges and passages. My own realization is that even if I had failed an earlier stage, life’s lessons always come back so that eventually I would know the truth and move on to a higher level.
Carl Rogers’ assumption that man is basically good is refreshing as this has become a steady source of inspiration that no matter what I did or failed to do, I am basically a good person and that I will triumph in the end. I quote from Funder, “Every man is in certain respects (a) like all other men, (b) like some other men, (c) like no other man. ” Funder has indicated that everyone is like everyone else, or similar with some, or similar with nobody. He is saying that all men and women are the same in their basic needs for food and shelter.
We are all similar in our interests and other things in common, but we are also not similar any other men/women because of the traits that each of us possess, which is what we call personality. Our minds may be the same with other minds and are also unlike any other mind. The set-up of our brains have similar structures but our brains can also be similar some other brains in terms of some disorders, for example. Individuals who are depressed will have neurotransmitter concentrations that are different from those of non-depressed people. We have different abilities academically or athletically, and these activities are controlled by the brain.
But abilities are different from everyone. He has stated that, “Constructivism is widespread throughout modern intellectual life. This attitude, slightly simplified – is that reality as a concrete entity does not exist. All that does exist is human ideas or constructions of reality. ” He has also stated, “To some degree, the judgments of personality rendered of you by the people who know you not only reflect what you are like, but can lead you to be what you are like. ” We have different mental construct of impressions of what we see around us.
The concept of beautiful may be different from someone else. Our realities like our view of the world are not a reality. These are interpretations of what we see around us that make sense within our observations of our surroundings and of impressions by people about us. The reality of our personality was also created by the ones who know us which we sometimes affirm. But this is not necessarily the truth of our real personality. Works Cited Funder, D. C. (2010). The Personality Puzzle. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Wang, W. (Director). (1989). “Joy Luck Club” [Motion Picture].
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