Gilbert Grape Analysis: Family Dynamics

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Gilbert Grape Analysis: Hardship and Triumph
Natalie Ckuj
FCNS 284; Summer 2014

Gilbert Grape Analysis: Hardship & Triumph
The film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape revolves around a single-parent household and four children. The narration is from Gilbert’s perspective, the third eldest brother of five, and his transition into adulthood as well as figuring out his life goals. Due to psychological stress on the children’s mother and financial hardship, the children have more responsibility than most children their age, and this responsibility interferes with their goals for the future (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?). The content areas of focus are, Gilbert’s quest to find his purpose in life, as well as a healthy romantic
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Gilbert and Becky were initially physically and sexually attracted to one another, and sharing several kisses as their attraction grew for one another, this portion of their relationship representing passion. Gilbert became intimate with Becky by sharing deep thoughts about his father’s suicide and his struggle to take care of family members. Prior to meeting Becky, he did not share thoughts about his familial issues, though they impacted his life in many ways. Becky also opened up to Gilbert about her parent’s divorce and goals. As their intimacy grew, they became comfortable with one another and developed a mutual understanding of commitment. They were committed in the short term through Gilbert asking Becky to come to Arnie’s 18th birthday party, and Becky committing to this request, depicting loyalty within the relationship. Another sign of short term commitment within their relationship was Gilbert introducing Becky to his mother. If he did not have strong feelings for Becky, he likely may have not introduced them to one another. In the long term, Gilbert and Becky eventually stay together and travel with one another, illustrating their love did not end after Gilbert’s mother’s death (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?). Sternberg’s triangular theory of love (as cited by Seccombe, 2012) solidly represents three
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