At a first glance, Sam Monroe is a character who one could easily assume is a very angst-filled, lonely, and misunderstood teenager. This being said, it is no secret that Sam is quite troubled, in fact his appearance and moodiness are a clear cry for help and attention and could be signs of severe depression. His cry goes unanswered as his family is too busy and selfish to be bothered with his needs, turning him into an equally selfish person. Sam takes out his frustration by doing drugs, as seen in his first scene in Life as a House. He dresses in very attention grabbing ways, with very dark clothing, eye makeup, and facial piercings, yet still goes ignored. He spends most days alone in his room blaring his music and hiding away, which could further contribute to his psychological issues.
Family life has a major impact on an individual, as best said by Morrie Schwartz, "If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important. " (Mitch Albom, 1997) Sam's family life was severely disrupted when his biological parents got divorced when he was still quite young. His father stopped giving Sam the attention he desired as a result of the separation, and his mother neglected him as well when she became too focused on her own needs to give her son the excessive amounts of love and attention he required. This point in time is likely the period in which Sam started to exhibit bouts of moodiness and destructive behavior. As the years passed and Sam's needs went further ignored, his behaviors became habitual, and his mother lacked the devotion to push him out of the behaviors. Some of Sam's behaviors as seen in the movie were his frequent drug abuse, lashing out at others when he did not get his way, and prostitution.
It is quite possible that Sam suffered from depression which could have started when his parents first got divorced. In the movie, his father says...
References: Lesia Oesterreich, M.S. (1995). Divorce Matters A Child’s View. Retrieved from http://www.nncc.org/Parent/childview.html
Melinda Smith. (2010, May). Teen Depression: Signs, Symptoms, and How to Help. Retrieved from http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm
Mitch Albom. (August 18, 1997). Tuesdays With Morrie. New York: Random House
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