Research Paper: Media Review the Black Swan

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Media Review

The Black Swan is a movie full of psychosis, adolescence and ballet. It has the aspects of a girls struggle to become an adult and her confusion between choosing between the right and the wrong. Even though the psychological disorder is not specified in the movie, it is quite obvious that Nina does have psychological issues. Even before the movie and the actual story start, the main character is seen to dance on glass in order to attain perfection in her ballet dancing. Apart from dancing on glass, Nina is also shown to have self-mutilitative behavior. This is visible when she is seen with multiple scratches and injuries on her back. This might hint at obsessive compulsive disorder. Nina's main problem isn't to be the perfect ballerina rather she wishes to find popularity, stardom and an actual identity. Nina's emotions and ideals are basically conflicted between the innocent and naive Nina she used to be and the aggressive and rather sexual Nina she wants to be. This conflict manifest inside Nina more when she begins to take up the role of the twin swan princesses in production of the Swan Lake.

Hall viewed the time of adolescence as one of storm and stress. Even though the label of storm and stress were borrowed from a German author, it basically went on to emphasize on what a person feels while changing into adolescence. In other words, a person is flung into numerous contradictions and a big range of emotions and moods. (Hall, 1904) the thoughts, feelings and actions basically go on back and forth between what a person wants to do and what the person should do. There is contradiction between goodness, temptation, happiness and sadness. For instance, a person who is becoming an adolescent can be nice to a peer one day and the next day he or he might be very mean. This theory and the storm and stress can be quite rightly depicted in Nina's character in the Black Swan.

Amidst this confusion, Nina finds freedom and ultimate happiness when she thinks of becoming the popular Swan queen. She hopes to gain stardom, respect and love in all the wrong things. Thus, this can be seen as a rather defensive mechanism that the character tries out. She goes for sublimations and attempts to change herself only to fight off the anxieties she is feeling. Here again we see how biology tends to affect Nina's reaction to whatever is going on. It has been stated that biology affects a person's physical and mental health. (Stangor, 2011) the social cultural approach to psychology states that a person's culture has quite some impact on the way they think and behave. (Stangor, 2011)Thus, we see that Nina is fed up of the babying at a subconscious level and she feels free when she rebels against this.

However, in going for stardom and perfection, she ends up compromising her sanity and her morals to distinguish right from wrong. Her ambition and the ambition of her director, Thomas basically drives her to torture into further psychological problems.

It is seen in the movie that right in the beginning, her relationship with her mother is quite friendly and both of them are seen laughing and smiling. Her mother still believes that Nina is still child and a "sweet girl" This is quite obvious with the way she pampers her and how her room is decorated. Even though all this might appear comforting, this has a rather oppressive action on Nina. Nina wants to break away from this role of a little sweet girl that her mother is forcing on her. Even though the relationship appears protective and caring, it provides Nina with more and more stimulus to go on and rebel against her mother. There is only a limit to the kind of pampering and babying that any person can take. It appears that Nina's mother has always been quite controlling in her daughter's development. Her intrusion and love has been rather suffocating than comforting. When Nina is attempting to attain an orgasm, she turns around to find her mother sitting on the chair fast asleep. When Nina is in the bathroom, attempting to take a bath, her mother continues to come and disturb her. All this basically shows that her development as child and an adolescent was quite constricted. Nina was never really allowed to be free or do whatever she wants to do. All the frustration and the suffocation are apparently taken out when Nina goes on to injure her mother while attempting to close the door. She refuses to listen to her mother and goes out with her friend Lily hoping to be free and adventurous just like Lily is.

Thus, even though Nina was not subject to any sort of abuse by her mother. Her mother was the cause of social and psychological trauma. It appears that Nina's mother wanted her daughter to do and accomplish all of the things that she couldn't ever. This builds up the pressure and the frustration inside of her and causes her the different sorts of mental torture that she experiences later on.

There are different factors that affect and ultimately give stimulus to the development of the psychological features in Nina. The pressure of getting the role of Swan queen is getting to her as she wants to be the perfect ballerina. Here we see that her mother's failure to pursue her career is a major factor in this battle she has with herself. She knows the struggle that she went through and doesn't want to repeat it. Due to this reason, Nina forces herself to develop into any role and any sort of character that is required. There is a scene in which Nina slips during the dance practice and goes to Thomas to tell him that she is done. In that scene, Thomas basically tells her that she the skills but she needs to develop into character. He tells her that she is very much able to do the role of the white as she is as soft and innocent as her. However, she needs to loosen up and try out different things if she were to success as the Black Swan. To attain the perfect role of the Black Swan, Nina is basically caught between two extremes and doesn't really know what to do. Nina's consciousness gets altered because many a times she is not sure whether something is merely a hallucination or if it is actually happening. Stangor (2011) has stated that consciousness can become aversive when people feel that they are not living up to the expectation. Possibly due to this reason, Nina would break away from reality and act odd at times in the film.

It is seen in the movie that she is quite influenced by sexism and thinks that being more sensual and sexual will give her what she needs. Thomas, the director, even tells Nina to go and excite herself and open up sexually. Since all of this is a major conflict between her, Nina is confused between what to do. She wants to stay within the comforting and protective shell that her mother offers her but she wants to explore her aggressive and explore whatever she can become. Nina tries to listen to the director and even attempts to dress proactively at times. The scene where Nina and Lily share an intimate moment is quite delusional because the audience is not sure whether this happened for real or in Nina's dream.

Thus, it is seen that the character develops in this way due to many different factor. The primary factor is her mother's upbringing and imposition of dreams. After that, we see that environment and the pressures given by Lily and Thomas… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Media Review the Black Swan.  (2013, May 4).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

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"Media Review the Black Swan."  May 4, 2013.  Accessed August 20, 2019.