Introduction of The movie Kite Runner
For the entire development cycle; changes occur, both internal and external to an individual’s life that shapes the mental and physical attitude and approach to life. During the early stages of life, a child struggles in this kite runner movie, to understand the life within him and his environment. As a result, both Erickson and Ainsworth have developed different but related theories regarding development stages from childhood to adult stages of life. During these stages, various defining moments are discussed by the two approaches.
The movie is a depiction of racial discrimination of the highest order. The movies emphasis on the social evil and how various characters struggle to cope. One of the lessons of the movie is that one must be informed about the signs, effects, and manifestations of this vice in society to overcome it. Racism is typical man-made and requires the efforts of every race to overcome. It is experienced globally in workplaces, learning institutions, law courts and healthcare centers to mention a few; as is depicted in various captions of the movie “the kite runner.” The film captures essential traits of determination, strength, and survival through its characters who eventually emerge as heroes and heroines in the face of this vice, through their encounters and development of survival tactics. Abandonment and betrayal are the two central themes of the movies and forms key lessons learned based on how the characters featured face and turn the same to their advantage.
Erikson’s psychosocial development theory
Stage 1: Trust vs. Mistrust (0–1 years)
Within the movie, the development of both Amir and Hassan has different nature because of the different nature of childhood treatment which Amir and Hassan received. In reality, for example, after the birth of Amir, his mother died and the father started blaming Amir for the death of his beloved wife. After the death of Amir’s wife, he did not ever receive any kindness and love from his father. Therefore, Amir developed over the notion of mistrust throughout his life, because he never gained support and affection from his father. While, on the other hand, Hassan developed differently, as he received love and affection of Amir’s father due to which Hassan developed over the trust of Amir’s father. In short, at early stages of the development of both Amir and Hassan, Amir failed to develop hope within his personality, whereas Hassan developed over the hope with his relationship with Amir’s father.
Stage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt (early childhood, 2–3 years)
After watching the movie, ‘The Kite Runner,’ it becomes clearer that Amir never gained autonomy of his personality, during early stages of his life, as Amir always received highest level of criticism and limitations over different matters of his life, and somewhere in his heart and mind, he always felt doubt and shame because of the lack of affection and love from his father. While, on the other side, the personality of Hassan developed over his autonomy that father of Amir always granted to Hassan, whereas offering him the freedom to do whatever he desires for his life. For instance, the father of Amir never offered Amir blue kite, as a sign of honor, but Hassan, as father of Amir always regarded Hassan as a person with honor. Therefore, Amir failed to develop over his personal will, at early stages of his childhood, but Hassan.
Stage 3: Initiative vs. Guilt (3 – 5 years)
At this stage, as Erik also explained within his theory, a child tends to seek, knowledge whereas interacting with other people of different ages. Also, at this stage, a child also learns about the way to use his interpersonal skills, especially those which are linked with the personality of a person at early stages of his life. For example, within the movie, Amir always found guilt over his personality because of the lack of skills to promote his personality among others like he fails to fly kite in a proper manner so that he can win the kite flying fight. However, Hassan developed at this stage as he identifies his interpersonal skills whereas interacting with other children of the town and that he has personal skill to fly kite in an effective manner. In short, it would not be wrong to say that the whole display of the movie shows the fact that Amir failed to have any purpose in life, but Hassan who always knew about the purpose to live among others.
Stage 4 : Industry vs. Inferiority ( 6 –12 years)
Erickson’s 4th stage discusses the feelings inferiority complex versus competition. As I watch the movies, this stage comes to mind as I see the struggle between inferiority and industry in the lives of Amir. He is not in a position for self-defense and resorts to using his friend Hassan as a defender before others. By baba making, comparison of him to Hassan in most situations creates a feeling of inferiority in the movie. This affects his development stages; at adulthood when he received a beating by Asef in the film.
Stage 5 : Identity vs. role Confusion ( 12-18)
At this stage, a child is faced with changes with leaves him confused over his identity and self-concept about his personality. In relating this to the movie “ the kite runner,” Amir is faced with the challenge of confusion regarding role identity. This period is usually characterized by dilemma and a poor attitude towards problems and relating positively to their environment becomes a challenge. There is a struggle to assert oneself to be accepted and affirmed. The inability of Amir to reconcile himself with the context in which he lives is a recipe for disastrous lifestyles through the lifespan. This is one of the significant issues addressed by Erickson in his eight stages of life theory. The inter-dependability on of these stages cannot be ignored since failure to develop in one entirely affects an individual in the next step. Erickson outlines the symptoms and the action plan regarding intervention at each stage in life which is critical to Amir’s in the movie.
To fully develop this reflection paper further, two psychological development theories are of crucial importance (1). Erickson’s opinion which is one of the highly regarded principles in the psychology of life stages development. The fact that life presents humanity with critical lessons and challenges in the growth process is reason enough to initiate a fact-finding mission to unravel the mysteries behind these challenges; this is the primary factor which led to the development of the Erickson’s theory. Erickson categorizes human development into eight stages with a title “the eight stages of man.”
Stage 6 : Intimacy vs. Isolation ( 19 – 30 )
While continuing to watch the movie, I notice that the sixth stage of Erickson’s development theory is also brought up in Amir when he seeks a wife. (After watching the movie, it would not be wrong to say that Hassan married with the mother of Sohrab, wife to Amir, and the name of the wife of Hassan is Farzana who appeared for some moments within the display of the movie and she showed extreme love not only for Hassan and his son, Sohrab, but for others like neighborhood.)This stage discusses isolation versus intimacy; he decides to settle with a wife who had past questionable issues. (The nature of the relationship between Amir and father, Baba, showed extreme level of isolation between them, as Baba always considered Amir the reason behind the death of his beloved wife. Therefore, Baba never showed love and affection for Amir, but Hassan, due to which Amir also showed the isolation from his father, lacking love from Baba)
Stage 7 : Generativity vs. Stagnation ( 30 – 50 )
(At this stage, the idea of generativity developed within the character of Amir, as he desired to fully establish his family structure, whereas treating Sohrab like Baba treated Hassan during his early childhood. For instance, at a point, Amir realized that he cannot have a baby with his wife and he decided to have Sohrab as a way to recover his guilt and his immoral conduct with Hassan that he conducted within the childhood time with Hassan, like observing him being raped.)
I also describe Amir’s act as he saves his nephew as one of a person at the average level, a stage referred to by Erickson as system morality because his act surprised many who did not believe in his ability. The development of the selfish man at a younger age when he wanted to have Hassan thrown out of the family to a selfless man able to save his nephew at adult age.
The developmental challenges evidenced in Amir’s behavior:
The movies show them start an intimate relationship with a lady who has seriously questionable past; this was an indication that he was undergoing hormonal developments triggering the desire for opposite sex. He also developed tendencies to push back what is necessary such as in favor of less important
Hassan- There isn’t much development seen in Hassan since during his entire growth stage; he remained loyal to baba and kept his friendship with Amir intact. He portrayed a more stable development compared to Amir who was relatively unpredictable through the same process. His character stability is further shown by how he reacts to the rape by Assef; despite this heinous act, he stayed intact. Majority of those who have undergone rape cases always experience trauma and disorders, however; he decided to stay indoors as if he was just sick, after which he went about his duties as though nothing had happened. Maybe this is due to his cultural background; the Hazaras being a minority group are used to such mistreatments. The movie shows the vast difference between the privileged families where Amir comes from the poor where Hassan is from, the stages of development are affected by these factors as portrayed in the movie by the two actors.
State 4 types of attachment:
1\ secure attachment
Secure attachment is the attachment style over which a child develops a sense of being attached and that a child’s needs are secure over the attachment nature. In this regard, within the movie, Amir did not show this attachment, as he remained detach from his father. Whereas, Hassan shows the secure attachment style as he developed over the firm support of Amir’s father.
2\ Avoidant attachment
Over this attachment style, a child show emotional and physical isolation from attachment figure. In this regard, within the movie, Amir shows the avoidant attachment in terms of his both emotional and physical attachment with his father. For example, when a kite flying event occurred at one moment of the movie, Amir shows emotional avoidant attachment towards his father as his father only talk s about the kite flying talent of Hassan.
3\ Ambivalent attachment
This style of attachment talks about the way through which a child shows dependent conduct towards attachment figure, but avoid the attachment figure within real interaction. For instance, within the movie, Amir at various point tries to show Hassan that he is dependent on his father and that his father loves him, but in reality, whenever Amir’s father approached both Amir and Hassan, Amir never tried to be attached with his father, whereas avoiding him.
4\ Disorganized attachment
Over this style of attachment a child shows high level of distress because of the attachment figure. For example, within the movie, Amir developed over this style, as he always showed distress towards his father especially whenever he go out and found his father waiting for him in his new car, whereas Hassan always shows happiness towards the father of Amir.
I have learned from both Erickson and Ainsworth development stages theories are practically applicable to the main protagonists in the movies as the movie develops, are the developments stages in these characters exposed. The only main point relevant to Ainsworth theory of development to the movies is the separation anxiety and reunion behavior. The friendship between Hassan and Amir Causes mixed reactions of anxiety and fear in equal measures. Their friendship develops actively as they grew up. The fear of Hassan being considered a standard of perfection by baba on Amir is a perfect example of anxiety and fear themes in the movie. The concern of reunion between Hassan and Aimer after the rape case is another excellent example of how the development relates to Ainsworth theory.
The evidence that an adolescent is struggling by not meeting the milestones of Erickson’s theory of adolescent development. For example when Amir begins to exhibit signs such as rebellion and isolation which was a sign that something wasn’t working right in his life regarding required developments associated with this age and therefore an intervention needed to be initiated. In a nutshell, this movie has impressed me greatly. It exposes the value of life and love. After I watched this renowned movie, I realized that friendship is so precious, and also we need to appreciate our rosy lives.
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