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Theorist: Locates theories of development that are portrayed in the video and provide a succinct summary of each theory.

The Perks of Being a Wall Flower According to Oswalt, there have been many theories developed related to child development, but only a handful of major theorists and their ideas that have stood the test of time and have proven to be widely influential. (Osalt) These theorists include Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson and Lawrence Kohlbergwho have all developed substantial theories that explain various stages of child development, along with physical and psychological growth, social conformity, morality, and sexuality. Many of their theories and ideas related to adolescence are radiated within the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main characters in this movie are experiencing adolescence--the period between being a child and being an adult--and these emotional, psychological and physical changes during this growth period impact their relationships with themselves and others in profound ways. The hurdles, questions, and issues these characters face ultimately help shape their individual identities and their place in society. Some of the theories that are found within the movie are explained below: Identity versus role confusion. This is the fifth stage of Eriksons psychosocial development theory. Erikson believes that adolescents are struggling to find their place in the adult world and developing their sense of who they are. (Adolescent development). Struggles such as their likes and interests, future goals, their sexual orientation, religion, and other characteristics that define them are challenged by their peers. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this is apparent with the characters Brad and Patrick. Brad is a popular jock from a well-to-do family, who is socially expected by his friends to associate with other jocks, date a popular girl, etc. Patrick belongs to another high school social group, labeled the wall flowers. The jocks typically tease the wallflowers, so Patrick and Brad do not socialize during school. However, both of these young men are attracted to each other and both are gay. However, Patrick is willing to express his feelings towards Brad openly, yet Brad will not show affection towards Patrick in public. Brad is very apprehensive of his feelings and how his family and peers will view him if he admits that he is gay. Because of this, Brad is confused about his sexual orientationhe has conflicting feelings about his identity and how he should socially conform. Similarly, this has the same effect on Patrick, who struggles with having the person he loves not accept him in public. Just as Brad keeps this a secret from his jock friends, Patrick also doesnt let his closest friends, or even his step sister, know he is gay. It isnt until his friend Charlie finds outand is supportive of Patrick--that he starts embracing his identity a bit more because of the positive reaction. However, the opposition of gays (Brads sexual orientation) among his peers leads to his role confusion, because he doesnt know what is culturally acceptable and has no adult support. Psychosexual theory: Genital stage Sigmund Freud believed there were several stages that a human went through in sexual, or libido development. The final phase of this development is the genital

stage, which begins at puberty. He believes that people begin to desire members of the opposite sex. (Modules on Freud, 2002) Excluding Patrick and Brad, several of the characters in the movie are introduced to sexual situations. For example, Sam engaged in sex at parties as a way for her to fit in with the other, older students when she was a freshman. I think this was a combination of both her libido development, and also her identity crisis. She wanted so badly to fit in, that she thought that sex was the only way to do this. Mary Beth has sex with Charlie because she feels that is what a boyfriend and girlfriend do, and its also how she boosts her self esteem; by having sex, she feels that Charlie likes her. Again, I feel that this is reminiscent of Eriksons identity theory as well, since Mary Beths self esteem is based on the attraction that is shown to her by others. Conventional/Role Conformity & Pre Conventional/Self-Accepted Moral Principles. Lawrence Kohlberg describes six stages of moral development in children through three levels-- Preconventional/Premoral; Conventional/Role Conformity; and Pre Conventional/Moral Principles. He believes that adolescents exhibit an interest in others mental states and feelings, can understand each others thoughts, and think about individual responsibilities and the benefits to society. (Adolescent development) Some of the characters, specifically the Wallflowers, exhibit an understanding of each others feelings throughout the movie. These adolescents seem to have their own clique, where those who are eccentric, diverse, or not accepted in the normal high school groups band together (hence, wallflowers). Some of them, especially Sam, Patrick, Charlie, Mary Beth and their close friends are very receptive of each others feelings and issues that they experience during the movie. They are supportive and caring, and understand each other in a way that highlights the strength of their friendship. For example, Charlie understands the turmoil that Patrick faces with his closet relationship with Brad; Sam understands Mary Beths pain during her break up with Charlie; Patrick relates to Charlies confusion during his brief fight with Sam and Mary Beth; and Charlie sympathizes with Sams stress in trying to attract a boy she likes (because he is secretly attracted to her). Charlie also demonstrates part of Kohlbergs theoryspecifically level IIconventional role conformity. Kohlberg believes that in this level, children confirm to stereotypical images of majority and doing things that maintain the given social order. (Kohlbergs moral stages) In order to fit in his newly found friends, the Wallflowers, Charlie wants to maintain a role where he is liked and accepted. To do this, he smokes pot, drinks, and attends high school parties that he typically would have never attended before befriending the wallflowers. Sam also demonstrates this part of Kohlbergs theory when she conformed to the older students demands when she was a freshman. In order to be accepted, Sam would drink and have sex with the older students at parties to fit in with the social order of the crowd. The last level of Kohlbergs theory, level III, explains post conventional self accepted moral principles. Kohlberg believes that norms of right and wrong are defined in terms of laws or ruleswhich seem to have a rational basis, and that inner processes of thought help to establish what is moral, right and wrong to the individual. (Kohlbergs moral stages) One of Charlies internal struggles throughout the movie is what he feels is right and wrong in regards to an early childhood incident. The aunt who he seems to idolize throughout the movie (through remembrance, since she was killed in an auto accident) sexually abused him as a child. This is something that Charlie keeps a secret, partially because of his

confusion of the incident. Was it wrong for his aunt to touch him? Is it right to tell? Am I a bad person? I believe these type of thoughts flood Charlies mind as he struggles with how to cope with this situation alonehis inner thoughts and feelings become overwhelming, and he finally establishes what is right and wrong through the help of his parents and doctor. Nevertheless, through this realization and help, Charlie accepts the moral principle of what happenedthat it was wrong of his aunt to sexually abuse him, but his identity as Charlie should not be compromised because of the lack of morality that his aunt displayed towards him. Video Analysis Project Link: References: Adolescent development. (n.d.) Auburn University website. Retrieved from ment.htm Kohlbergs moral stages. (n.d.) Haverford College website. Retrieved from Models on Freud: on psychosexual development. (2002). Purdue University website: psychology. Retrieved from Osalt, A. (2013). Child & adolescent development. MHC: Mental health care organization. Retrieved from