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John W. Santrock's Film Rebel Without A Cause

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As children move from childhood into adulthood, the years between the onset of puberty and the late teens to early twenties are most commonly ones of contemplation, decision making, and growing self-sufficiency. They can, however, also be a time of profound crisis, rebellion, and turmoil. According to author and psychologist John W. Santrock, one of the most critical influences in the life of an adolescent is “long-term support from adults who care deeply about them” (Santrock 249). When this is lacking—or otherwise ineffectual—the results can be disastrous. Perhaps nowhere is this adverse outcome more profoundly manifest than in the 1955 movie, Rebel Without a Cause. Arguably one of the most iconic cinematic representations of the complexities …show more content…
Jim can’t bear the fact that his father is subservient to his mother. He sees his father as being henpecked and wishes his dad would just stand up to his mother—even suggesting that his dad should just hit her and that would make her happy. Jim has been in trouble before this and his parents’ solution has always been to move to a new school. In their attempts to protect him from the consequences of his actions, they are missing the opportunity to let Jim learn from his choices—a lesson he wants to learn as evidenced by his insistence on going to the police to explain his part in the deadly accident following the chickie-run. Before the run, Jim cries to his father that he is struggling with having to perform an act to prove his honor and he is torn as to what to do, but his father provides no guidance. Jim begs his father for the answer of what it means to be a man, but his father mocks him by pointing out how laughable the question is and how he will look back in ten years and see that for himself. “I just want to show you how foolish you are. When you’re older, you’ll laugh at yourself for thinking this is so important.” Lacking the support and guidance he so desperately needs, Jim, heads out to the chickie-run—an event that will have an effect on the rest of his

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