Analyzing Essay Example

988 Words Dec 16th, 2012 4 Pages
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Analyzing Essay

Psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman’s article “On Learned Helplessness” talks about what happens when people go through traumatic events and how the handle the situations. Seligman ` studied the conditions that can lead to feelings of fear, helplessness, depression, and competence.
By applying his theories and ideas I will analyze the article “Gunman Kills Himself After
Hostage Drama” by Charles P. Wallace and Tim Waters.
In the article by Wallace and Waters, a twenty-six year old man named Robert Rose killed himself in a Hollywood hotel early on a Saturday morning after a night long hostage situation.
Rose was apparently depressed after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In the article, it
appeared
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Robert Rose continued to attempt to control his fear by extending the hostage situation and making demands. He asked to speak with a Roman Catholic Priest and have food brought to the room. Rose’s actions were not well thought out and ended up being a setup for his death. He was “nonchalant” about the situation because he knew that he was going to die anyway. In
Seligman’s article he proposes that “if the trauma is uncontrollable, however, struggling eventually gives way to the helpless state” (585). Rose became helpless after realizing he would eventually die from multiple sclerosis. He responded by taking action on those around him.
Instead of dealing with the situation he opted for death on his own terms, according to his actions. Not everyone handles traumatic news the same as Rose. People respond to depressing news differently. Some people fight harder when they get unfortunate news. Some people look to find a cure for their disease or therapies to keep at bay as long as possible. Just as Seligman says, “if the subject learns that he can control the trauma, fear is reduced and may disappear altogether” (585).
The drama that unfolded in the article about Rose is equivalent to Seligman’s theory of fear, helplessness, depression, and competence. Rose had been under intensive psychiatric care for many years according to his mother, Mary. Soon after Rose learned that he was
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