March 6, 2012
The Five Stages of Grief: My Girl
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler came up with the five stages of grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Although grief is individual depending on the person and the situation, these stages help organize the process of grieving. The stages act more as tools than a timeline. The movie My Girl portrays these stages after the death of Thomas J., Vada’s best and only friend.
Denial is the first stage. In denial one feels numb and emotionless; the world becomes pointless. One feels overwhelmed and pushed to the limit. The initial reaction to the news is shock. Vada demonstrates denial by isolating herself in her room for an entire day. In the scene of Vada alone in her dark room she isn’t crying or screaming, but rather very calm and blank. The lack of emotion in Vada demonstrates the emptiness and numbness she feels with her loss. Vada also at first refuses to attend Thomas J.’s funeral, which is an example of denial as well. To Vada none of the situation makes sense, and she shows her confusion in her initial reactions to the news. Her last portrayal of denial is when she finally goes to the funeral and talks to him as if he were still there; saying that he needs his glasses and asking if the wants to go climb trees.
The next stage is anger. Anger proves itself as one of the hardest stages to allow oneself to feel. Anger is the mask of many underlying emotions, especially pain. One feels like they are facing this challenge all alone. Anger can be used to avoid actually grieving the loss and feeling any real emotions. Anger is the purist indication of one’s love for the person lost. Vada demonstrates anger when she runs away from Mr. Bixler, the teacher she has a crush on. Her excuse for running away from him initially is when she finds out he is engaged to someone else, but the underlying reason she runs away is because she is not ready to...
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