What is a gangster? A gangster or mobster is a criminal member of a crime organization. It is a criminal organization that associates with the Italian Mafia. Its an addictive way of life that leads to two places; six feet under or in jail. However, everyone wants to be a gangster. Is it because of the power, the fame or the fortune. In the classic movie “GoodFellas” the characters Henry Hill, Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito grow up to be gangsters.
They experience many life- threatening situations that ultimately prove they were born to be gangsters.
They become successful, daring and dangerous all at one time. The film takes place in East New York in the heart of an Italian neighborhood. Controlled by the Mafia. Everyone knows the of the criminal organization but no one has the guts to stand up to them for fear of being killed. The neighborhood is taught two vital lessons in life to keep them safe, “Never rat on your friends and keep your mouth shut.
” At a young age, Henry Hill and his friends learn those lessons rather quickly.
The movie begins with character Henry Hill stating, “as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. Not knowing the meaning of a gangster, Henry Hill, was forced to conform to what he observed. Amazed by how much fun and excitement he and his friend Tommy were having, the two young gangsters were influenced to perform deadly task under the wing of the local mob captain, Paul Cicero.
Henry, Jimmy and Tommy were conformed to the life of a mafia members. The great number of people that were already to conformed and the type of responses they received intrigued them. The Solomon Arch Experiment demonstrated the social psychology theory of Obedience.
Obedience is defined as changing one’s behavior at the command of an authority figure. Just like in any organization, there is always one person who is in command. In the movie, Paul “Paulie” Cicero is looked at as the authority figure because he makes all the decision. Henry, Tommy and Jimmy show a great amount of obedience to prove themselves loyal to Paulie. As the movie goes on the mafia encounters lots of criminal activities. Some were influenced by obvious disrespect from others and some just to make a little cash. However, Tommy DeVito ommitted a crime everyday because of the ctions of others.
Tomm, unlike everybody else had a very short temper. The slightest comment could trigger anger. A “made men” of the Gambino family insulted Tommy of his previous life as a shoe shiner. Without hesitation, Tommy with the help of Jimmy brutally beats Billy Batts. With prior knowledge of the consequences that would come with his actions, he felt he had to prove himself. Tommy attributions are based of situational causes. Situational causes is behavior attributed to external factors, such as delays, the action of others, or some other aspect of the situation.
With everyone laughing and joking with Billy Batts about Tommy’s younger age, he reacted the best way he knew how; through violence. William James explained the theory of functionalism. After years of working with the mob, Henry Hill’s mind began to adapt, live, work and play. His life was surrounded by nothing but crime. Freud introduces the theory of psychodynamic. The unconscious mind pushes or represses all our threatening urges and desires. Freud stressed the importance of early childhood experience. Lastly, Erikson’s fifth stage of development Identity vs.
Role Confusion explains adolescents deciding what they want to be in later in life. Most children who are deprived off a childhood grow up too fast. They never get a chance to experience falling, having a dream or playing a sport just for the fun of. Most young adults then settle for less and when they experience failure blame it on situational causes. Henry Hill settled late in the movie to be a drug dealer because he believed that was the only way to get back in life. Instead of listening to Paulie, his mentor, he decided to move past it.
Henry got caught up in the lane of life that he forgot about the risk he was taking. As a result, he failed. He was busted and thought the best way to get out was to blame it on everyone that influenced him in the beginning. The world is full of influence. People all across the world are influenced to do things everyday. Whether they are influenced for good or evil there are numerous factors that contribute to their influence. One factor the Solomon Arch experiment observed was conformity. Conformity is changing one’s own behavior to match that of other people.
People conform to those that surround them because of the number of confederates, type of response given and when the entire group agrees they decide to agree. People also are influenced by obedience. Changing one’s behavior at the command of an authority figure influences many people. The characters of the movie “GoodFellas” were influenced by numerous thing; some more than others. They all learned something from one another. When people learn anything some part of their brain is physically changed to record what they have learned. However, Henry, Jimmy and Tommy never learned their lesson.