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In the analysis of the star character Rachel in the 1968 movie 'Rachel Rachel' by Paul Newman I have used the Theory of Personality Development by Freud Sigmund(1856-1939).
Sigmund developed this theory about psychoanalysis from his works on patients with mental problems several years back.
In this theory, Freud Sigmund believed that allthe spheres ofsomeone'spersonality were in one way or another determined by the sex of the person and aggression.Sigmund believed that other factors that shapedsomeone's character also developed during this period of personality development which in totality determined the adults' personality and how well they relate with the world. According to Freud Sigmund the three elements that make the personality are the Id, the ego and the superego.
The Id is the part we are born with and is the part of us that wants us to be comfortable. For instance children will cry when they are hungry until they are fed in complete disregard of whether there is food or not or even whether the person attending to them is busy or not. As we have observed around us, a child will always cry until what they want is done for them or given to them.
The Ego is believed to develop in children from three years of age onwards. This part enables one to realize the realities of life. At this stage of development a child can very clearly understand the consequences of their actions. For instance they can understand that some unpleasing actions can make them to be punished or rewarded.
The Superego is the part that develops by the time a child reaches five years. Once the superego develops the cycle of personal development is completed and one attains a balanced personality. The superego is also known as the conscience because it helps us distinguish between wrong and right actions and it also defines for us the ethics and morals by which we live.
The movie 'Rachel Rachel' based on the novel 'Jest of God' by Margaret Laurence is about a 35-year-old schoolteacher Rachel Cameron who is unmarried and is portrayed in the movie as feeling terrible that she has wasted her life.
The star character Rachel lives with her mother in an apartment that was once owned by her late father in New England. It is time for the summer holidays and Rachel is not excited like the other teachers about the vacation as she figures it will just be another holiday when she will be bored and she will have to put up with her demanding mother in the house.
In the movie, another character Calla Mackie who happens to be Rachel's best friend,a lesbian and a fellow teacherpersuades and invites Rachel to attend a religious meeting with her. Rachel is convinced into attending the meeting and while there she is touched by the sermon delivered by the guest preacher who is a young man.
This incidence marks the beginning of a series of several other events which will convince Rachel to get out of the cocoon she was hiding in and live in the real world where she can freely express her emotions and desires. Calla also feeling touched by the sermon confesses her feelings for her best friend but she is turned down by Rachel who does not have lesbian tendencies.
After the religious meeting and Rachel feeling that she can express her emotions and love to those she cares about she gets involved in a short lived sexual relationship with their old family friend Nick Kazlik who was back in town to visit his folks. Rachel then has her first sexual relationship with Nick;she falls in lovewith him and starts thinking of a future with Nickmistaking the lust they have for one another for love. Nick on the other hand on noticing that Rachel is treating their relationship more seriously than it ought to be treated ends the fling because to him it was just a casual affair.
Shortly after Rachel suspects that she might have fallen pregnant and this really makes her happy as she imagines having a baby of her own.Rachel therefore plans to relocate elsewhere to a place where she can raise her child now that her relationship with Nick is short-lived. Her best friend Calla helps her get another teaching job in Oregon but Rachel soon finds out that she is not pregnant but has a benign cyst. A surgery is organized and after having the cyst removed Rachel still decides to move away with her mother to Oregon and even though she is feeling alone and empty because of the loss of the man she loved and her supposed baby, she has a strong will to continue with her life.
'Rachel Rachel' is a very moving romance, classic and drama themed movie that shows the loneliness and existence of some ladies in real life where someone does not get what they have always wanted or where life seems so unfair to someone. The problem could be in our personalities where we have internal battles within us over what we want and what society or everyone else will say about us.
In emotionally sound persons, the ego normally comes out as the strongest element of personality taking care of both the Id and the superego. When these three elements are balanced someone is able to survive and exist well without taking undue advantage of others.
Unfortunately not all of us can have the ego coming out stronger than our Ids and superegos. For some the Id is stronger and such a person will be self-centered and concerned only with their wellbeing and if the superego also happens to be stronger such a person can be too hard on themselves, have judgmental tendencies and relating with others would be extremely difficult for them.
Like mentioned earlier the three elements are driven by sex and aggression. Sex which Freud calls the Eros stands for our desire to reproduce and live. Aggression on the other hand represents our need to acquire more wealth and protect our lives.
According to Freud'stheory, our ego therefore has so many tasks. It is charged with the duty of checking that everything is balanced, it deals with life's challenges and ensures that our actions do not hurt those we care about and all this is done by employing ego defense mechanisms like:
Denial- where we pretend that a problem does not exist.
Suppression- where we consciously block out some thoughts from our minds especially thoughts that can hurt our feelings.
Regression- where we can go back to decisions we had made earlier on.
Rationalization- where we come up with logical explanations to problems or difficult situations instead of admitting the truth.
Projection- where we put behaviors that are unpleasing on other people.
After looking at the storyline of the movie briefly and having explained the theory of Personality Development of the psyche by Freud Sigmund, we can say that Rachel the lead character in the movie had a personality problem. This is evident in several ways:
First at 35 years of age, Rachel was still a single woman never married before and still a virgin. This shows that Rachel's ego could probably be weaker than the other two elements of her personality because in Freud's explanation there reaches a point in life when every human being of reproductive age would like to procreate and have offspring of their own. And that is why when Rachel suspects that she is pregnant and her belly starts swelling she is so excited. Even though she could have ended up being a single mother she does not seem bothered at all. All that seemed to pre occupy her mind was the fact that she would have her own baby finally.
This shows that Rachel's super ego couldbe much stronger than her ego and her Id and that is why she was a virgin till late into her life.
Secondly Rachel looks like she has a personality development problem because she had not known who she was or what she wanted in her life before she and her friend Calla attended the crusade. It is while at the crusade that Rachel decides to have a free spirit.
Rachel looks like she was hiding in some shell and it was the young preacher who helped her get out of it after which she had a sexual relationship with Nick.
In this case we conclude that it is Rachel's superego which was dominant once again because her morals were probably too uptight that she could not have sex before marriage.
Rachel also does not seem to enjoy her life. Schools have closed and people are happy to be going on vacation but Rachel on the other hand is just there not excited about the holidays like everyone else.
The issue again could be that her superego dominates over the other elements of her personality so much that Rachel is uptight and her conscience cannot allow her to indulge in activities that are fun even during vacation.
Rachel does not seem to make decisions or to be in total control of her life. When she gets invited by Calla to attend a revival meeting Rachel goes just to please her best friend not that she really cared what was going to happen at the meeting. Fortunately for Rachel, it is a time she gets to discover herself and start doing things that other normal adults do without feeling guilty about anything. She even gets to fall in love for someone something she had never done all her entire life.
The best thing is that the movie ends when Rachel seems like she is beginning to have a grip of her life and that her own life is beginning to bring meaning to her and excite her as well. Hopefully she found the love of her life where they relocated to.
In the movie 'Rachel Rachel', several people are struggling with personality issues. The theory by Freud has helped us to study an individual's character and to be able to draw a conclusion concerning the level of development of the Id,ego and superego.
Calla also seems to be struggling with her sexuality. She is a lesbian but before the Christian revival she cannot confess her feelings to Rachel because of the society's views on the subject but after the meeting everyone is feeling like they can open up and that is when she openly tells Rachel of her feelings even though she is turned down.
In conclusion we can say that the three elements that make up someone's personality are very crucial in molding the character of someone and greatly influence what someone turns into when they are adults. We should therefore strive to help the Id, ego and superego to grow well and the ego especially should be nurtured to surpass the other two in dominance, because as research has shown for a sound thinking adult, the ego should dominate. As much as this may not be achieved in all people, those who hang around children should motivate them so that they do not have problems in adulthood in identity or of self-esteem like was the case of Rachel and Calla.