Character "Little Miss Sunshine" Case Case Study

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Secondly, Richard and Sheryl, Olive's parents are going through some major issues as Richard's plan of selling his theory is failing badly as a result of which he is going bankrupt. Due to Richard's childish and stubborn behavior, Sheryl decides that she can't live with Richard anymore and she wants a divorce. However, both of them decide to deal with this problem later once Olive is done with her Little Miss Sunshine Beauty pageant.

Thirdly, Edwin, Olive's Grandfather passes away because of an overdose of heroin. The whole family goes into a state of shock as they all love Edwin very much. However, the family decides to deal with this death in a very bold way as they all understand that "taking Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant" is what Edwin wanted all along. Therefore, they carry the dead body in their bus and decide to deal with the funeral once Olive's dream is achieved.

Fourthly, Dwayne, Olive's brother who wants to be a pilot very badly, finds out that he is color blind. His dream of becoming a pilot is shattered and he faces a temporary "mental breakdown" as a result of which continuing the trip becomes difficult for the family. However, Dwayne eventually decides to deal with this problem later on as his sister's dream is the family's priority at that time.

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Lastly, Dwayne and Richard, after watching the atmosphere and competitors at the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant decide not to let Olive take the stage as they do not want Olive to embarrass herself or get hurt. They believe that Olive might not be good enough for this competition but in the end, Sheryl supports Olive and claims that if Olive wants to take part in the competition, the family does not have the right to stop her as she has worked extremely hard to get there.

Family Resilience was the only reason why Olive gets to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant and performs in the most awaited "talent show" of the competition. If her family did not sacrifice or support her, she would not have been able to live her dream and have fun despite the fact that she fails to win the competition.

Psychoanalytic Theory

TOPIC: Case Study on Character "Little Miss Sunshine" Case Assignment

Psychoanalytic theory is the theory that was developed to define and understand the psychological process called Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic theory defines the dynamics of the development of a person's personality which underlies and guides psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. (Ormrod, 1999)

This theory was at first laid out by one of the most profound psychologists known to mankind, Sigmund Freud. However, with due time, psychoanalysis and its theory have been modified and altered as technology progressed and the human race evolved. (Laplanche & Pontalis, 1974)

Psychoanalytic theory is about the conscious and unconscious decisions or thoughts a human being has. The processes of free association, dream interference and analysis of resistance and transference are used in psychoanalysis as Freud believes that a psychologist can understand a human being's thoughts and intentions only when the patient expresses his/her desires freely and honestly. These processes are used to explore repressed and unconscious impulses which help psychologists understand internal conflicts. (Berzoff et al., 2011)

In Little Miss Sunshine, analyzing Olive Hoover's character from a psychoanalytic point-of-view, we can say that she is confused and scared at times as well. Since she is just a young child, under 10 years old only, she dreams big and she wants to achieve those goals but she does not know whether she is good enough to achieve those goals or not.

She is scared from the inside as well as she does not want to disappoint her family, especially her father who wants Olive to be nothing but a winner. Hence, we can say that psychoanalytically, Olive unconsciously, throughout this film knows that she might not be good enough to win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

Olive does not understand what to do as a result as she is only a young child but her family is aware of this confusion that she is having which is the reason why they keep asking and telling her again and again that she does not have to compete if she does not want to. The family tries to make her realize that taking part in that competition is not obligatory by any means but the fact is that she wants to participate in the contest very badly.

Olive does not want to waste all her hard work that she has put into her performance as a result of which, consciously, she knows that despite the fact it is going to be an extremely difficult task for her, she still needs to get through her performance. We can say that it is like a mistake that she wants to make.

Other than that, the moral of the film "Little Miss Sunshine" is that a person should accept who he/she is and he/she should live with it. Whatever a person desires unconsciously or consciously, a person should accept that and deal with it instead of carrying a fake personification.

That is what is shown by the end of the movie where Olive decides to perform despite the fact that she is a little confused and the whole family supports her and performs with her even though all of them are kind of making a fool out of themselves in front of the rest of the people. However, they accept who they are and they are not afraid of letting out their unconscious desires.

Social Cognitive Theory

Social Cognitive theory was proposed by Neal E. Miller and John Dollard in 1941 and this theory helped sociologists and psychologists understand and develop the social learning theory on a broader scale. This theory is used to in identifying the learning the following four behaviors.

1. Drives

2. Cues

3. Responses

4. Rewards

According to the Social Cognitive theory, each particular behavior is inspired or motivated by observing and learning the behavior of the people around in the surroundings. It can be proved if a person's day-to-day behavior is observed carefully. An individual thinks that if an observed action is learnt or imitated, that learnt action can be rewarded as well. (Santrock, 2008)

Social Cognitive theory is used mainly in psychology, education and communication. We can describe the Social Cognitive theory as the theory which defines and explains how human beings are inspired by one another and that every action a human being performs is learn through observation or understanding of the people around that respective human being. This means that the more a person interacts with his/her surroundings, the more he/she learns.

However, this theory explains that a person does not "solely" learn every behavior himself/herself. This means that some of the behaviors or actions are self-learnt but there is a factor of inspiration in every learn action. According to this theory, the survival and evolution of mankind is dependent on Social Cognition as each person learns from the people in his/her surroundings as a result of which, the learning process is increasing rapidly and if there are no human beings around, the learning process would be dented heavily. (Miller & Dollard, 1941)

The learning of each action relies on the response that action receives. This means that if a person does something and he/she gets rewarded, then the people around him/her would want to imitate that action in order to get the reward. If an action leads to punishment, then the people in the surroundings would not want to imitate that action as they would know that they might get punished if they imitate that respective action.

In the film Little Miss Sunshine, the Social Cognitive theory can be applied as Olive tries to imitate and learn the actions that surround her. Since Olive is a very active and cooperative girl, she talks to almost everyone in her family very intimately as a result of which, she picks some of the actions from each member of the family.

We can say that in the beginning of the movie where Frank, Olive's uncle moves in with the family, Olive tries to understand why Frank tried to commit suicide and learn the reasons why a person would want to kill himself. She then comes to the conclusion that suicide is silly hence she learnt that suicide would result in a negative response therefore according to her character, she might not consider suicide ever. This experience helped her learn about this negativity.

Other than that, she also learns that there is nothing bad in being a winner and she understands the true meaning of being a winner through her father. By observing "Dwayne," her brother's behavior, she understands what kind of a person he is and that sometimes, silent gestures are the best way to cure or handle someone.

"Edwin," Olive's… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Character "Little Miss Sunshine" Case.  (2012, November 27).  Retrieved December 8, 2021, from

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"Character "Little Miss Sunshine" Case."  27 November 2012.  Web.  8 December 2021. <>.

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"Character "Little Miss Sunshine" Case."  November 27, 2012.  Accessed December 8, 2021.