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Clark Psychological Analysis

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Regression is a defense mechanism resulting in an individual returning to a childlike state to cope with unpleasant thoughts or stress. Regression occurs when an individual faces a particularly stressful or tense situation, and instead of handling said scenario in a mature and adult manner, an immature, childlike technique is employed to handle the anxiety. While a psychoanalytic analysis is more difficult given the subconscious nature of the tensions and resulting anxiety, there are several scenes through the movie that indicate Clark Griswold regresses to handle unpleasant and anxiety-inducing situations. In one example, Clark has been stringing lights on his house for hours, and upon attempting to light them comes to find that none of…show more content…
To understand the root causes of Clark’s behaviors throughout the movie as they relate to his relationships, beliefs, and perceptions of the world, one would need to utilize another approach such as Bowlby’s Attachment Theory which attempts to understand how adult relationships are influenced by interactions with parents as children, and could be useful in enhancing the interpretation of Clark’s personality. The three types of attachment are secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant; in Clark’s case, observations of his actions throughout the movie could lead one to speculate that he had an avoidant attachment given his hostility, defiance, and ardent, passionate self-reliance throughout the film. He shows hostility and defiance toward his boss and Eddie, and also seems to be ardently self-reliant in his efforts to follow through with the Christmas tree venture by cutting down the tree, stringing excessive lights on the house, putting in a pool, and so on. Analysis of Clark’s relationship with his parents at a young age could provide a better understanding of his actions and current personality which is lacking through use of any other psychological approach in…show more content…
The Big Five Theory can be used to identify Clark’s low conscientiousness, demonstrated by his irresponsibility, low self-discipline, and erratic behavior. The psychoanalytic approach, with a particular emphasis on regression as a defense mechanism, helps explain why Clark has such enormous emotional and mental breakdowns when his idea of the “perfect Christmas” fails to come to fruition. Of the two, the trait approach is preferable due to the ability to better predict Clark’s personality and future behaviors, though additional analysis from Bowlby’s Attachment Theory would offer useful insight. Given personality is a complex combination of factors that converge to create the unique identity of each individual (also applicable to entertaining and unpredictable characters such as Clark Griswold), it makes sense that multiple approaches and analyses can yield useful insight regarding
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