This Boy’s Life

Dwight and Carolines 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 couples 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. Carolines 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 Jacks 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 Jacks behavior of smoking and cutting school. Jacks 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. Jacks 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 Jacks 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 Dwights 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 Mcdougalls 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 McDougalls 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 Dwights 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 Dwights 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. The last and most probable theory is the instinct theory of motivation. McDougall had said, humans have instincts that foster self-survivalJames had said we have social instincts, one of which is fear. Jack was in fear of his life. One of these days Dwight may have lost it and taken it all out on Jack. Jack needed to survive and protect himself. I believe that this is the reason why Jack left. Had Dwight been a loving and caring father, Jack would have no reason to fear Dwight and survive (pain avoidance.) I doubt that Jack would resort to applying to the prep schools if Dwight was not the psycho he was. Without being accepted to the Hill school Jack had no where else to go, so he probably would have stayed in Concrete, even after the kitchen incident with Dwight. In conclusion I believe that Jack was more extrinsically motivated. From the school cutting, to the cigarettes, to the final decision to leave, which was caused by the way Dwight treated Jack. All these factors come into play, but the years that Jack spent in Concrete, Jack was extrinsically motivated by his environment, his friends (the bums) and Dwight.

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Caroline engaged in behaviors, both advantageous and unstable because of the way she thought. The way Caroline interpreted a situation would determine how she would react to it. If she thought rationally then she would act rationally, if she thought irrationally then she would act irrationally. Her feelings of self-doubt and self-confidence would determine her behavior.
-Tobias goes through troubling times while he is growing up in the 50s. Being a teen is hard enough, but Tobias also has to face life without a stable home. Although he is constantly blaming his mother for leaving his father, he knows that it isn’t her fault. His father was the one that left them.
Carolines decision to end her marriage can be explained by her perception of her husband and what she thought about the marriage before the time of the divorce. Her feelings of self-doubt would cause her view the reason her husband left as her not being good enough, or that he had found a bimbo to run off with.

She made a rational decision to date Roy because he provided for her and Tobias. She left Roy because he had nothing to offer her. He was a dead beat and he was only interested in her for one reason (sex) and she knew this. Her decision to leave Roy was rational, however her sudden judgment to pack up and leave everything and just move to Seattle with Jack was irrational, even though she moved to Seattle with Jack in pursuit of a better life. The way Caroline processes information, and the way she perceives things is the way she will react to these things. She thought of Seattle as a fresh start with many new opportunities for both of them. Caroline dreams of having a better life, a life more fit than what she had with her ex husband, Roy, and more fit life than she has now. After moving to Seattle and meeting Dwight she decides to marry Dwight Hansen. She marries Dwight because she is thinking rationally. He can provide for them and she knows that Jack needs a father. Dwight seems to be the perfect husband…at first. Tobias soon finds out his stepfather’s act of being the “perfect suitor” was just a mask. Only after moving to Concrete do things unfold. Dwight is unnaturally strict and selfish, and does everything in his power to make Tobias’s life a living hell. Just when Caroline thinks she has escaped the feeling of loneliness and insecurity of Tobias’s future, she realizes she trapped herself into yet another obstacle. In the end, Caroline decides to leave Dwight. She knew that he never loved her and that he only needed her to cook and clean. She knows that he never even liked her to begin with. Caroline realizes that all her decisions up to that point backfired on her. Now she understands it is time to do, and with her newly gained confidence she makes the decision of leaving him and moving to Florida. Up to this point her low self-efficacy led her to make unwise decisions. Only after observational learning and building up her feeling of self-confidence does Caroline make a truly substantial decision.
Arthur and Jack were both similar and different. They were different in both boys came from completely opposite upbringings. Arthur was raised to be polite and courteous, where as jack had those qualities in him but chose to act more macho and less considerate of others. It may have been the influence of the crowd, which Jack hung out with. Arthur was also more open and carefree. He chose to dress, talk, and act the way he did, because that was how his mother had raised him, even though he knew this excluded him. Jack tended to blend in with the crowd more. He needed to make social bonds and belong, whereas Arthur may have wanted to but he didnt conform to fit anyones image of what they expected him to be. They have more similarities than differences. Their mothers had raised both boys. I think the reason the boys got along and formed a friendship was because they were both outsiders. Neither one really belonged in Concrete. A town like Concrete has a certain image of what its boys are to be like and Arthur and Jack didnt fit into that image. Also Arthur did not have any friends, and Jacks friends were only guys who he horsed around with. He and Arthur saw something in each other, which they based a friendship on, that something was that they were outcasts.
I would have answered Arthur with a simple smile and We can both leave together! Not to just convince or trick Arthur into getting me the transcript, but to show him that he to didnt have to stay. Since neither of us truly belonged then it would have been rational for both of us to leave together. If we were true friends then we would both look out for one another and help each other on out way. I would have meant it, to ask Arthur to leave with me, because his life in Concrete would be wasted if he didnt realize that this is his opportunity to leave. I would also tell Arthur that he can succeed and make it big because hes a smart kid, and that he shouldnt let his mind and talent go to waste, especially not in a crude town like Concrete.
In a way I seized my chance when I made my decision to move to Danbury. Things werent going to well for me back in NY. I was hanging out with too many people from the wrong crowd, and that eventually put me in many uncomfortable situations. I was lagging behind in school and I kept getting into trouble. Had I stayed in NY I probably would be up to the same things now as I was before. I would be cutting school and causing my mother even more grief. Since I moved here I have brought up my grades and am preparing for the SATs. That is another thing I doubt I would be doing if I were in NY. Eleventh grade is the most important grade, and I knew I needed to do well if I wanted to go to a good college and make something o myself. The opportunity arose when my aunt moved here and I seized the chance. Im glad I didnt decide to stay, otherwise I would be wondering if I could have pulled it off.