Term Paper: Landon Carter's Character Through Erik

Pages: 14 (5028 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] (McLeod 1) Kids go on to depend on others, have little self-worth and also question their abilities.

A lot of traits exhibited by Landon reflect an unhealthy stage two. Landon depends on his friends and acts according to them. That is to say he is doubtful of himself as a person and his personality. Regardless of the kind of people they are, Landon still hangs out with them. The friends that Landon has do not depict his true personality. There is a scene when Landon is with his friends in school and it's been just a day after him practicing lines with Jamie.

Jamie walks up to Landon: "Hey Carter, So I'll see you after school?"

Landon pauses.

Landon "Yea, in your dreams" [laughter follows]

This scene clearly depicts that had Landon been alone he would have acted differently and talked to Jamie in a polite manner. This shows that Landon's friends influence the way he acts when he's around people. Along with depending on his friends, he also questions his abilities which depict lack of autonomy. Near the end of the movie, we find out that Landon wanted to be a doctor. Prior to meeting Jamie, he did not give attention to his work which showed that he doubted that he could ever be a doctor.

STAGE 3

In this stage, children see how complex things are, they plan it out and judge it themselves. This stage is characteristic of children attempting to take down complex tasks. They began to do actions that require thought and might have good or bad consequences. It is in this stage that children show aggressiveness against their parents. Parents need to play a pivotal role in this stage. Children are praised for the good tasks they do and they should be made feel guilty if they do something bad. In this stage, the questions children have should be answered as well. If treated wrong, the child will progress on to thinking that they are merely a pain for their parents and for the world. Having feelings like these can make them be rebellious which is exactly what Landon is in the beginning of the movie.

This stage again seems unhealthy in Landon's life as his limits of danger are not morally defined. The fact that he jumped into a river and that he drives under the influence of alcohol shows that he is willing to do anything regardless of how risky it is. He doesn't develop a purpose in life thus he goes off and commits acts that could prove fatal. It reflects on his attitude of rebelling and taking charge of his life. Erikson would consider this a result of an unhealthy stage three and thus improper definition of limits. These actions by Landon show that his sense of guilt is not very strong. He doesn't regret the bad things he does which could be because his parents weren't around him to develop a good judgment of his actions.

It is also in this stage that children develop a sense of leadership and to direct others towards different things. (McLeod 1) The fact that his father might have been too controlling is reflected on how Landon tends to do what his friends do instead of being a leader. Landon is very critical and careful about his reputation. He thinks way too much about what people think of him. That is evident from the scene in the movie when Jamie and Landon are on their way back from the Saturday tutoring classes.

Landon: "You don't care what people think about you?" (Surprised)

Jamie: "No, I don't.."

Seeing how Landon is very surprised by Jamie's answer demonstrates that he does care about what people think of him. There is also a part in the movie when Jamie is dropping Landon home and he slouches down so his friends won't see him. This unease shows that he more of a follower than a leader.

STAGE 4

This stage now is affected by both the parents and people like school friends and teachers. In this stage, children are becoming accustomed to the social environment. They show interest in certain activities and become linked to extracurricular activities they are interested in. If children are supported in their activities and are encouraged to make practical things, they go on with a stronger work ethic. On the other hand, when children are put down in their efforts and are discouraged for what they do, they go on with a sense of lowliness.

In the movie Jamie is shown to have interests in books, drama and teaching, Landon on the other hand does not have any productive hobbies or likes. There are no clear cut ambitions in his life which suggest that he might have been discouraged in his elementary school years. Landon is seen as the sort of person who puts his pleasure before work. The group of friends he has isn't the study types thus he becomes like them as well. This reflects Landon's laid back attitude and a poor work ethic during child hood as well.

Landon ( to his mother): "Mama, Jamie has faith in me, she makes me wanna be different. Better."

This scene shows that Landon becomes more competent after meeting Jamie. With encouragement to do whatever he wants, Landon begins to focus more on work and productive activities. This attitude of Landon's changes over the course of the movie which is quite evident from the following scene in movie:

Landon's friend Eric puts on loud music when he's trying to fix his car.

Landon: " Can you turn down the soul train just a notch alright, some of us are actually trying to work."

This statement really shocks his friend as Landon was never like this before. This clearly shows that subsequent to the play, Landon's ego towards work and life has been altered. It is possible that his interactions with Jamie have caused him to focus and become more ambitious towards things. Just a mere action like fixing your own car reflects independence and motivation, something that Landon lacked in the beginning of the movie.

STAGE 5

This stage has been given the most importance out of all the stages of life and this is the one highlighted in the movie. In this stage, the individual tries to find out who he or she is in the world or in the society. They try to put together all the previous stages in place and figure who they are and where they are going. They explore and try out different attitudes and cultures and see which one fits the most. In all the stages, the individual is trying to maintain a balance between what he or she wants and what is acceptable in the environment he lives in. (Beaumont and Zukanovic)

If looked at Landon's personality through Erikson's eyes, it is very clear that in this stage in his life he does begin to experiment. Landon had been hanging around with the same group of the people all his time in school. His friends affected his ideals and attitudes and made him into a rude and inert individual.

The actual identity crisis is faced by Landon when he meets Jamie. The time of identity diffusion is evident in the scene is when Landon is mean to Jamie but regrets it later. In that scene, Landon is confused on how to react to Jamie's question. Even after he answers it, there is confusion and regret on his face. Following that, Landon himself tries to put an effort and learn the lines well. That was something he wouldn't have done before. The individual himself rarely sees that he is changing and it is the people around him that let him know.

Eric: Well, you know you got Belinda thinking that little lip action between you and Jamie was real.

[Landon looks nervous while he still works]

Eric: What's with you, man? It's like you don't even have time for your real friends anymore.

Landon: I don't know man, I'm just tired of doing the same old shit every day.

Eric: This girl is changing you and you don't even know it.

Landon: Hah. Did Belinda say that too?

Eric: No, I did.

This scene is a good illustration of how Landon is trying to get his identity sorted out. It is in this part in the movie that Landon is seeing the world around him differently. Peer pressure or feelings of guilt don't affect his actions and personality anymore. Following the play, Landon starts to realize that he has fallen in love with Jamie. It is then that he comprehends that he isn't really the person he was pretending to be. This is a healthy part in this stage of Landon's life as he is exploring new identities and trying to figure out who he really is.

For Landon to like Jamie, he definitely has to have evolved as a character… [END OF PREVIEW]

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