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This Boy's Life

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Dwight and Caroline's relationship can be characterized into three stages. From its inception Jack and Caroline had a relationship based on infatuation alone. Their relationship consisted of passion alone for each other. Caroline was sexually attracted to Dwight, as was he to her. Caroline was infatuated with the person Dwight appeared to be. She was turned on that he was nice and charming and knew how to treat a woman. When they first began to go out Caroline adored the fact that he brought her flowers. Dwight was simply interested in Caroline for what she had to offer him. The passion alone is what got him to that level. Soon after their relationship developed into a Fatuous Love. In the beginning of the marriage the couple's relationship had been based on passion and commitment. Both were still physically and sexually attracted to each other but the role of commitment came into play as well. Dwight needed a female figure in the home to do his chores, such as cook his dinner and clean his house, as well as a mother-like figure for his children. Caroline needed to settle down and start her life over. She was tired of always being on the run, and Dwight brought as sense of security and stability into her life. She also needed a father for Jack. This may have driven her into the arms of Jack more than any other reason. Dwight had everything she was looking for in a father for Jack. He seemed caring, authoritarian, loving, and stable. Their relationship would continue to go on in this manner until the passion faded. This led to an Empty Love relationship. The commitment alone is what kept them together. They no longer had any real feelings of love fore one another. Dwight was simply with Caroline for the reason that she kept food on the table and kept his house clean. Caroline on the other hand was still with Dwight because she had no where else to turn as well as what Jack had to offer her son. Dwight was like a father figure to Jack, something that Jack never had before and needed at this age because he was very impressionable. Caroline's commitment, for the fact that he provided for them and supposedly was like a father to Jack kept her with Dwight.

From the time Jack arrived in Seattle to the time he left for prep school Jack's behaviors and life decisions were extrinsically and intrinsically motivated. Upon his arrival in Seattle with his mother Jack made many new decisions. The affiliation motive is what influenced Jack's behavior of smoking and cutting school. Jack's need for social bonds and to belong motivated him to indulge in the activities of the people whom he wanted to form the social bonds with. An example of the affiliation motive is the scene where Jack cut school and met up with his friends to go to one of their houses to smoke and talk dirty, while they were watching Superman. These activities can also be attributed to the stimulus motives. Jack was now in a susceptible stage of his life. He was 15 and curious. His decision to smoke cigarettes can be explained by his curiosity to try new things. He was now in the state of exploration, these activities provided sensory stimulation. In the next scene where Jack and his friends decided to put a car out of its park position, which sent the car rolling down the hill, eventually crashing. This is an activity which they probably did for kicks, but it can better explained by their need for stimulation, this activity provided that stimulation. Jack may have also been influenced to participate in this activity by his need to belong and form social bonds. He needed to maintain optimal levels of arousal, varying his exposure to arousing stimuli did this. The smoking, school cutting, and car prank can all be attribute to the arousal theory. Jack's decision to go live with Dwight was both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated. His mother proposed this idea to him, but I believe that Jack was more intrinsically motivated to go live with Dwight. Jack had been getting in trouble in school, his pugnacious behavior put him into a very uncomfortable position with his mother. Jack knew that he needed to change his ways. His decision to move in with Dwight was humanistic motivation. Jack was motivated by the conscious desire for personal growth. He was not motivated to self-actualize but he was motivated to excel. The achievement motive was half of the reason Jack decided to move in with Dwight. He was also motivated to nourish and protect the emotions of his mother. The stress of Jack's constant mischievous behaviors was getting to Caroline and she could not deal well with stress. She coped with stress by going to sleep and this is not healthy. Jack had decided to move in with Dwight for the sake of his mother. This life decision to move in with Dwight was attributed to the nurturance motive.

In another scene Jack takes Dwight's car out for a ride. He was motivated to do this for many reasons. I think that can be explained by the Instinct theory. Wm. James and Wm. McDougall said that humans have instincts that foster self-survival and social behavior. One of Mcdougall's "basic instincts" is escape. While Jack was on the road, by himself, he had a fake feeling of escape. There was no one around to criticize or tell him what to do. He also needed to feel free, away from Dwight and his controlling manner. This activity provided Jack with a false feeling of having escaped. Jack was also being pugnacious and curious, these are two more of McDougall's "basic instincts". He was defying Dwight, at the same time he was satisfying his curious nature to go out driving alone.

The final and most major life decision, which Jack made occurred in the last scenes of the film. The fight scene in the kitchen between Jack and Dwight was the last straw for Jack. Jack had endured enough of Dwight's unnaturally strict, selfish and abusive manner. Dwight had done everything in his power to make Tobias's life a living hell. In that scene Jack realized that there was nothing to keep him in Concrete. He had been accepted to the Hill school and he made the life decision of leaving. This decision can be explained in one of three ways. The first can be defined by the drive (drive reduction). Jack learned that he did not have to stay and continue to suffer from Dwight's aggressive and abusive nature. He learned to engage in a behavior (deciding to leave Concrete) that would reduce the physiological drive of pain avoidance. The next theory of motivation that influenced Jack to make that decision was the Humanistic Motivation theory. Jack had realized that there was nothing left for him in Concrete. It was either stocking shelves at the supermarket or leaving and making something of himself. He was now at the point where he had a chance to reach his full potential, and become what he was capable of becoming.



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