Film Analysis: 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape?'

849 Words Jan 13th, 2018 3 Pages
Heteronomy is characterized by egocentrism, unilateral respect (where the child respects the parents' authority but is not respected in return), rigidity of rules (as given by adults and therefore not changed), and objective responsibility (action judged according to consequences (Ruffy, 1981, p. 61). A child is morally autonomous when s/he can establish relationships with others based on mutual respect. Moral autonomy also means the child places more importance on the intention leading to an action than on its consequences (Ruffy, p. 61). In other words, the child does the right thing because s/he understands what is right and makes a conscious decision based on that knowledge, rather than refraining from doing the wrong thing simply to avoid "getting into trouble." Arnie Grape, the younger brother in the film What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, has not attained an age-appropriate level of moral development because he is at the low end of the autism spectrum. He is incapable of understanding others or considering the consequences of his actions. At the beginning of the film, Arnie captures a grasshopper and is giddy after he smashes it in the door of the mailbox. A moment later, it appears he is filled with remorse. This demonstrates developing empathy, although it is unrealistic (particularly after learning more about Arnie as the film continues).…
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