Human Development Writing Project
In the movie “Thirteen” (2003), we are introduced to a character played by Evan Rachel Wood (Tracy) who comes from what appears as a broken, but loving home. Theorizing, it appears Tracy’s mom Melanie (played by Holly Hunter) has custody of Tracy and her brother Mason (played by Brady Corbet), and that the father remarried and has only visitation rights with his children. Tracy starts off as a normal thirteen-year-old girl who is good in school, has nice friends, and a loving family. The first day of school a girl by the name of Evie (played by Nikki Reed) has apparently matured over summer vacation and is looking and acting beyond her thirteen years of age. This eventually draws Tracy to Evie, as she discovers drugs, sex, and petty crime in the company of her cool but troubled new best friend. This is the point where Tracy begins to go out of control into a bad direction or choice with her life, her family, school, and the direction in which her life is headed. Some of the causes that led to her delinquent behavior are the physical and hormonal changes that take place in an adolescent life, as well as the parent –adolescent conflict and the parenting style she is exposed to. The movie expresses Tracy’s transition from childhood to adolescence, one of the most troubled stages of development, where she undergoes physical and hormonal changes that make her wonder about her identity. Part of Tracy’s problem could be illustrated by Erik Erikson’s Identity vs. Role Confusion (11-18 years old) development stage in ‘Eight Stages of Man’. By looking at the illustrations, the reader will see this manifested in Tracy with the new on the family scene Evie. Tracy is already having problems from nature as she is going through a sexual growth change by going from child to woman. She is having rapid hormonal changes that could lead to bad judgment in her actions with family and peers. Her reference group is no longer her family but her friends and in particular Evie (Erikson, 1950). Tracy is having self-esteem problems as she is going through her painful struggles over self-acceptance. She is achieving her identity through Evie. Evie is very self-destructive and Tracy is learning how to live that kind of lifestyle. Evie has taught Tracy to steal (shoplift), do drugs (both illegal and prescription), and seduce boys and older men to get something. Erikson believed that “adolescence presents a pivotal crisis around the development of a sense of personal identity” (Erikson, 1950). Tracy is showing signs of suspended morality. Tracy pictures herself as being one of the popular girls. This leads her to mimic what they do to gain acceptance into their clique. This then leads into negative identity, whereas Tracy is showing signs of identity or role confusion. To properly fit in with the ‘popular girls’ she has to change her entire moral identity by being a bad girl (shoplifting and theft to name a couple). Tracy is showing negative outcomes like role confusion (Erikson, 1950). Tracy is in early adolescence phase and as she adapts to the changes that describe this stage she explores how it is to be like someone else, and how it feels to take drugs or have sex. Tracy is experiencing everything that she encounters not even thinking twice of the consequences of her actions. These same aspects are explained by the article “Identity Formation in Adolescence: Change or Stability” (Klimstra et al, 2010). The research reveals that on their way to identity formation early adolescents undergo to progressive changes when deal with their crisis and commitments. They go into intense explorations and also reorientation of their commitments. Also, the study reveals that adolescent girls show more maturity and stability on their way to identity formation than adolescent boys (Klimstra et al, 2010), but the movie portrayed Tracy on a different path. Compared to her brother, who is an adolescent as well, she shows more risk...
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Erikson, Erik. (1950). Eight stages of man. Informally published manuscript, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Retrieved from https://email.usc.edu/en/mail.html?sid=mLm8MRtRQJs&lang=en
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