American Beauty - Analysis

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I had seen the movie American Beauty when it was first released, however it was a different experience for me this time. I was closely examining the interpersonal conflict in the movie. The movie is based around the Burnham family. Lester and Carolyn are husband and wife, and they have a teenage daugther, Janie. On the outside they appear to be a normal family. As the movie plays, it is obvious the characters are all a negative result of interpersonal conflict. "Conflict is a critical event in the course of a relationship. Conflict can cause resentment, hostility and perhaps the ending of the relatonship"(DonnaBellafiore). Carolyn is extremely self-centered and demanding. She controls the family with her underlying anger. Lester is a shell of a man. His self-concept is very low and he is depressed. This undoubtedly due to his lack of communication with his wife. "Self-concept is the idea you have of who you are and what makes you different from everyone else"(Sole,K). In part of the movie he realizes he has lost something, but he doesn't know what. He has lost his self-esteem due his interpersonal conflict with his wife and daughter. In one scene Carolyn and Lester have arrived at a party Lester doesn't want to attend. Carolyn tells him to act happy, but sadly she never wonders why he is not happy. In another scene the family is at the dinner table. Carolyn is talking about her day and Lester informs her that he has quit his job. She mocks him for doing so and tries to get Janie into the conversation. Lester becomes extremely angry, and they begin to blame each other for their lack of communication. Their behaviors not only affect their relationship negatively, but has weakened the relationship they have with Janie. Carolyn handles her conflict by having an affair rather than communicating her frustrations with her husband, Lester. Lester black-mails his boss, quits his job and demands a years pay and benefits. This is one way...
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