Human Lifespan Development
Adulthood Paper: American Beauty
According to Berk, 2012, “Middle adulthood, which begins around the age 40 and ends at about 65, is marked by narrowing life options and a shrinking future as children leave home and career paths become more determined. In other ways, middle age is hard to define because wide variations in attitudes and behaviors exist.” American Beauty is a movie created by director Sam Mendes in the late 1990s. The movie focuses on the character Lester Burnham, a man in his mid-40’s going through an intense midlife crisis; he's grown cynical and is convinced that he has no reason to go on. Lester’s relationship with his wife Carolyn is quite dysfunctional, while Carolyn works hard to make it seem as if she has full control of her life, she is going through her own crisis as well; feeling empty and desperate (MSN Entertainment, 2013). Although American Beauty focuses on other characters as well, including Lester and Carolyn’s teenage daughter Jane, Jane’s shallow friend Angela, the next door neighbor Colonel Fitts, and his son Ricky; this paper is mainly going to focus on Lester Burnham, his adulthood, and life transition. The purpose is to discuss how the main character can be viewed from a biological, cognitive, and psychosocial perspective. The paper will also discuss how the main character copes with biological changes as a result of aging, what changes occur in the family composition and lifestyle of the character, how the character copes with the idea of death, dying, and any theories on “the afterlife”.
Each character within the movie has their own idea of what path they need to take to achieve happiness and what choices will lead them there. Lester is quite impulsive and makes many choices that lead him down the path of destruction. The first event that leads Lester into a midst of horrible decisions is...