The smooth peaceful appearance that touches ones soul when entering a flourishing small town often instills the idea of the most appropriate setting for a child to develop. However, many will find that this environment will quickly try to make or break the human potential for success as harsh view points on what perfection should be emerge from all directions. This case could not be better depicted than through the tale of Simon Birch's childhood where he encounters the feats of overcoming the disability of small stature in a town were any defect is looked down upon. Meanwhile his close friend Joe, who seems to receive all the love that Simon is missing, looses it all in an entangled array of events. While the two friends search for Joe's father, an unknown man residing within their small town, Simon searches for the answer to his existence on earth. Although he is only a few feet tall he has a strong faith that God planned something big for him. Through his tremendous battle with what the socialization of his town tries to do with a defective child, he manages to hold onto hope that, in what will be a short life time, he will achieve something honorable. The theme of socialization and what it does to a child could not be more prevalent than in the transition from the limitations Simon started his life with, the growing struggles that surrounded himself and Joe, and finally his ability to override the looking-glass self that his small town had bestowed upon him.
Simon Birch's journey stands as excellent evidence that as the viewer witnesses his life they will realize that society as a whole does not, and can never change. The fact that through the process of socialization although certain norms may change, their will always be a negative push on those who do not meet the proper standards of the time. Due to this, certain individuals will not be permitted to reach their potential. While society does not change, individuals perspectives on how socialization should occur, will change. By the end of Simon Birch's trial he is able to succeed in altering the views that many in his town have placed upon him. Unfortunately, many moons after Simon's departure the society that he tried to change in order to make a name for himself, will fall back into what can be described as raw human nature. Meaning that they will be quick to look down upon anyone who appears to be defective from their norm. The strong theme of socialization is portrayed all throughout the film as a type of conflict perspective. From the very moment Simon's father sees that his son has been born in a very defective size he is instantly as hard as a rock to his new born. Because of the fathers reaction we know that he is realizing that his son has already been eliminated from any successful group. With the father standing as a perfect example of the rest of the community it is now known that because Simon is in the group of handicaps, he will receive less acknowledgment as a human being than the cohort of other children within his age group. This alone proves that, at least prior to his achievements, the film is based on a conflict perspective.
The family that surrounds a child is known to be a major affect on socialization in many ways. Many times this family unit is more important than any other human interactions that will occur. With taking a look at the most basic unit of socialization the viewer can first pick up the beginning of what will become struggles for both Simon and his friend Joe. Simon's parents appear to be the kind of rugged folk who would have desired a son that could go on to make them proud. With him being of such small size and also having an undersized heart he is not predicted to live far into adulthood. Due to this his parents do not want to waste a second of their time transforming him into the socialized human that he deserves to be. In the case of Simon's best friend Joe, whom is the narrator...
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