Frozen River

Topics: Mother, Family, Illegal immigration Pages: 5 (926 words) Published: October 14, 2014

Frozen River Learning Integration Paper

This essay analyzes family methods of interaction, strengths, and barriers of Ray’s family and Lila. It describes the family and community roles, rituals, and belief systems that sustain their life processes. It also identifies the role of grief, values, and symbols that describe the family and community system. Lastly, the paper targets systems for intervention.

From a micro/mezzo perspective the methods of interaction between Ray and her family appeared to be short and emotionless. There appeared to be conflict between Ray and Troy, based upon Troy leaving the home. Ray seemed to have little interaction with her kids TJ and Ricky. However she showed desperation to fulfill their dream of owning a double wide trailer and looking out for their wellbeing. When working with Ray she is attentive and cooperative. The family eats meals together. The family states they have a strong bond despite their hardships. The family is attentive and cooperative. Ray is a strong single mom, fearless.

Family barriers are very pertinent throughout the movie. Ray is faced with the risk of smuggling in illegal immigrants to pay for the Eddy’s new house because her husband fled with the down payment. Ray is in denial about their lack of ability to pay for food in the house. TJ quotes in the movie “that would be miraculous since there no food in the house” Ray says “There’s food” and walks away. TJ questions “Popcorn and tang”? Ray and TJ are grieving the loss of their Troy and are resentful he left with the down payment for the house. Ricky becomes upset in the beginning of the movie when the man drives away with the doublewide because of lack of payment. TJ appears resentful towards his mom assuming she is why he left. He states towards his mom “What about dad? What are you going to do? You’re always on him… You’re still bitter.” She explains later in the movie “He is a good dad, when he’s not gambling”.

The family roles, rituals and beliefs are
Ray is a single mom who works part time at the local Yankee dollar. She always sure he kids went to school and stressed the importance of getting a good education. The family ate meals together despite it wasn’t much, they did eat something. Ray met Lila after searching for her husband. Realizing he was gone she saw opportunity through Lila to begin to routinely smuggle illegal immigrants to the US which became a routine. The women began to form a ‘sister’ like bond over time working toward their goal of providing for their families. Ray and her family did not show any religious beliefs other than celebrating Christmas. They lived in a Native community just outside of the Mohawk reservation. The community reflected cultures of white working class and excluded underclass Mohawk natives.

Ray and her sons all experience grief of the loss of the dad, Troy abandoning them. Despite her anger, Ray did not talk bad about Troy in front of the kids. She simply stated the facts to TJ, and addressed their dad leaving in an age appropriate manner to Ricky; clearly conveying family an important value to them. Ray’s most prominent values throughout the movie seemed to be providing for her kids. She showed much desperation smuggling in efforts to get sufficient housing, insisting TJ get an education rather than work to help support the family, and fulfilling Ricky’s dreams of a good Christmas.

One of the symbols in the movie was the climate; the movie had a winter setting with no sun light. It seemed as blue as the main color which gives an oppressive, dramatic, and sad feeling. The river was also a symbol as Ray and Lila crossed it each journey to smuggle illegal immigrants, they risk having the ice break at any moment, just as they risk getting caught by the police and have their family lives fall apart. The river plays a bigger symbol by representing how hard it is for poverty ridden immigrants to cross over the border into what they are deceived to be...


References: Levine Coley, R., & McPherran Lombardi, C. (2014). Low-Income Women 's Employment Experiences and Their Financial, Personal, and Family Well-Being. Journal Of Family Psychology, 28(1), 88-97. doi:10.1037/a0034998
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