Erik Erikson was a German developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings. Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of eight stages over the lifespan: Trust vs Mistrust, Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt, Initiative vs Guilt, Industry vs Inferiority, Identity vs Role Confusion, Intimacy vs Isolation, Generativity vs Stagnation and Ego Integrity vs Despair. Examples of these stages can be recognised in the ﬁlm Looking For Alibrandi. Looking For Alibrandi follows Joesphine Alibrandi at her ﬁnal year in high school, the year she meets her father, falls in love, looses her best friend and ﬁnd the truth about her family. By reﬂecting on my own life experiences and the characters in Looking For Alibrandi, I am able to see how the theory applies to the process of growing up.
Eriksonʼs theory is evident through Josieʼs character in Looking For Alibrandi. Due to her age, Josie is classiﬁed in the ﬁfth stage, Identity vs Role Confusion. This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles they will occupy as an adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine their identity and try to ﬁnd out exactly who they are. Josie is a confused girl, searching to ﬁnd where she belongs in two different cultures. It is during Tomato Day where Josieʼs negative feelings towards her Italian culture are expressed, “this might be where I come from, but do I really belong here?”. However, out of the resolution of her family conﬂicts she ﬁnds a sense of belonging and commits to her own sense of identity “whatʼs important is who I feel I am”. Josieʼs new acceptance of her culture is shown in the closing scene, in contrast to the opening, where Josie invites her friends to celebrate Tomato Day rather than leaving with them. Thus, Erik Eriksonʼs theory accurately applies to the process of growing up.
Identity vs Role Confusion is also shown through John Bartonʼs character in...
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