Life Span Development

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Oprah
Any person experiences growth of different aspects of personality during various points of time. In fact, it is the day to day good and bad experiences that shape the personality of an individual. There are different theories of growth of personality of an individual. In this assignment, I will take up the case of well-known figure Oprah Winfrey. Based on different theories of personality, I will study the factors which contributed to the growth of personality of Oprah Winfrey. I will discuss Oprah’s family issues and support systems that may have influenced her developmental growth and adjustment. I will also distinguish between the influences of heredity and environment on her psychological development. Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954), often referred to simply as Oprah, is an American television host, media mogul, and philanthropist. Her internationally-syndicated talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, has earned her multiple Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television. She is also an influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and the world's only black billionaire for three straight years. (Wikipedia, 2008 ¶ 1) Oprah was born in rural Kosciusko, Mississippi to a poor teenaged single mother, and later raised in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood. She later explained that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter that her two teenaged parents had; they quickly broke up not long after. There are conflicting reports as to how her name became “Oprah.” According to a 1991 interview with the Academy of Achievement, Winfrey claimed that her family and friends' inability to pronounce “Orpah” caused them to put the “P” before the “R” in every place else other than the birth certificate. However, there is the account that the midwife transposed letters while filling out the newborn's birth certificate. Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a housemaid, and her father, Vernon Winfrey, was a coal miner and later worked as a barber before becoming a city councilman. Winfrey's father was in the Armed Forces when she was born. After her birth, Winfrey's mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, causing the local children to make fun of her. Oprah was reared by her grandmother on a farm where she "began her broadcasting career" by learning to read aloud and perform recitations at the age of three. (Academy of Achievement, 2006) When Oprah was a child, her grandmother would take a switch, which is a flexible rod, typically used for corporal punishment of the birching type, (Wikipedia, 2008 ¶ 1) and would hit her with it when she didn't do chores or if she misbehaved in any way. From age six to thirteen, she lived in Milwaukee with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, due in large part to the long hours Vernita Lee worked as a maid. Oprah has stated that she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first revealed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse was being discussed. (Wikipedia, 2008 ¶2) Oprah was raped at the age of nine. Oprah skipped two of her earliest grades, became the teacher's pet, and by the time she was thirteen received a scholarship to attend Nicolet High School in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin. After suffering abuse and molestation, she ran away and was sent to a juvenile detention home at the age of thirteen, only to be denied admission because all the beds were filled. At age fourteen, she got pregnant and gave birth to a son who died in infancy. As a last resort, she was sent to Nashville, Tennessee to...
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