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Benh Zeitlin's Film 'Beast Of The Southern Wild'

Good Essays
Benh Zeitlin’s film, “Beast of the Southern Wild,” represents the interplays between the human adaptive systems in response to risk and how individual resilience is developed throughout childhood development. The three developmental concepts shown throughout the film were the development of human adaptive systems, the idea of environmental risk, and the capacity to learn and gain resilience through adversities. Throughout the film, Hushpuppy was exposed to several environmental risks. According to Ann S. Masten’s article, “Resilience over the Lifespan,” living in poverty, growing up with discrimination, or living with a dysfunctional parents struggling with mental illness or substance abuses” are risk factors that could adversely affect a…show more content…
Luthar’s article, “Maximizing resilience through diverse levels of inquiry: Prevailing paradigms, possibilities and priorities for the future,” Luthar emphasizes the idea of gene environment interactions, or how both genetic and environment factors play a role in shaping childhood development. According to Luthar, “good” genes are able to buffer the effects of environmental stress. The results of Luthar’s experiment with Rhesus monkeys showed how early rearing experiences can beneficially alter gene expression, genetically giving the individual resistance to risk exposure. This would explain how Hushpuppy, despite her exposure to environmental risk, was able to mature properly. Towards the end of the film, it could also be inferred that, throughout the film, Hushpuppy was progressing through the resilence pathway in response to various adversities. The first indication would be her steady positive adaptions in response to the threat of the flood, her father leaving her and her trying to find her mother when her father was dying. As her relationship with her father recovered Hushpuppy attempted to transform and restart her life by blazing her father’s funeral pyre. Despite the adversities, she was able to mature through challenging herself constantly. In the process, she was also able to reconnects with the different aspects of her life: her memories of her mother and her sense of community after the…show more content…
Whether developmental influences are derived from environmental influences or developmental factors, such as harsh caregiving, or communal factors, resilience was developed as coping mechanisms in response to stress. According to Masten’s article, resilience “refers to positive adaption in any kind of dynamic systems that comes under challenge or threat.” In other words, resilience symbolizes “patterns of positive adaption and development” in response to challenges. The four explanatory models for human adaptive systems also support the idea of how Hushpuppy resist negative risk influences and mature throughout the film. Her mother’s good parenting and Hushpuppy’s cognitive abilities are examples of compensatory, or main effect, factors that helped neutralize her exposure to environmental and familial stress. Self-sufficient, Hushpuppy not only exhibits healthy psychological well-being, but it can be inferred, from the school scenes, that Hushpuppy had good peer-relationships with other children at school. Furthermore, throughout the film, it can also be inferred that Hushpuppy has several protective factors that enables her to develop resilience, such as how her memories of her mother’s parenting helped her throughout her journey, her intelligence, or the ability to make the correct choices, and her ability to be able to find meaning in life,
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