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Running head: THIRTEEN

Thirteen: How Does Eriksons Theory Affect Tracys Life? Taylor Dolan 4186968 PSYC 1323 Section 02 December 09, 2011


The average teenage girl worries about their status within society. Every girl wants to be popular. That is no exception for Tracy Freeland, the main character of the movie, Thirteen. At the beginning of the film, Tracy is a straight-A student, who has a close group of friends that still play with Barbies. By the end of the movie, she smokes, drinks, has a whole new attitude and look. What happened to the innocent girl? Where did she go? Innocent Tracy is still there, she has just gotten lost. By examining Tracys development, it will become apparent that she is in Eriksons identity versus role confusion stage. Eriksons identity versus role confusion stage focuses on the individual finding the right path for themselves, and creating an identity. If they do not successfully create an identity, they can face role confusion. Tracy is struggling with this stage of development. On the path to creating an identity, she has gotten lost along the way, causing her to be effected on many levels. She is affected internally, with her schooling and with her family environment. Tracy is affected internally. Due to her new friendship, she uses drugs and alcohol to escape from the reality of her life. She is also struggling with a mental illness that is causing her to result in cutting. She is just a girl trying to fit in, yet she is fitting in with the wrong kind of people. According to Erikson, Tracy is having troubles establishing an identity, so this is her way of trying to create one. She is trying different roles to see what fits and will work for her in the future. Tracys schooling is also affected by this stage of development. She is skipping a lot of her classes or showing up late, causing her to get poor grades. She completely forgot about a


group project, and as a result received no marks for it. She was brought into the principals office where the principal explained to her that she would have to repeat her grade because of slacking. Tracy is not going to class because she is trying to fit in with her new group of friends, and create an identity. By doing this she will probably face role confusion from having to repeat her grade, and not be with her peers that will be moving on to the next grade. Tracy and her family are having a really hard time during this stage of development. Tracy lashes out to her mother and brother frequently through the movie. She can be seen as an out of control child. Her mother becomes disoriented and does not know what she should do with her daughter, and thinks of calling in Tracys father to take her away for a while so the family can recuperate. Tracys mom runs a salon out of her house, and even the clients notice Tracys bad behaviour. Her behaviour is caused by Eriksons stage. She is having a difficult time creating an identity and therefore is frustrated with the process. As it has been shown, Tracy is in the identity versus role confusion stage of Eriksons development system. She is trying to be someone else in order to create an identity and establish what works for her and what will work for her in the future.