Film Analysis Of The Movie: Imitation Of Life

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Imitation of Life Zakiaya Telfort Alabama State University Abstract This paper entitled, Imitation of Life is based on the movie Imitation of Life. This movie is set in the 1940s. In the movie, an African American woman by the name of Annie becomes the care taker of a Caucasian woman's (Lora) daughter, Susie. In the movie, the caretaker Annie has a daughter named Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane is the product of a rape, performed by a Caucasian man, which results in her being fair skinned and able to pass as a Caucasian woman, which she does for a long time. Due to the fact this movie focuses on the themes of identity and class, I will use the following psychological views and tests to discuss how psychology can be demonstrated every day. The Kenneth…show more content…
It was at this point in life where Sarah Jane truly thought white was beautiful. This was solely because majority of the boys growing up complimented Susie on her looks and the fact that Sarah Jane correlated Lora’s financial status with her skin color. In Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll test, these psychologists tested children at their keen developmental stages (ages 3-7) to see how they viewed race (LDF). Performed during the same time as the setting of this movie, it was concluded that children were fonder of the lighter to white dolls because of societal views. As stated before, during this time period white people were seen to be superior to all other races. Just like in the movie, when Sarah Jane’s self-esteem was low because she felt as if Susie and Lora were better than her because they were white and well off financially, the children in the study felt the same. In the study, the results showed that children correlated positive attributes to the lighter to white dolls and negative connotations to those of the darker complexions. Kenneth and Mamie Clark concluded that this was primarily due to both segregation and discrimination, which ultimately lessened the self-esteem of other races and made them feel inferior to whites (LDF). Like this study, the movie Imitation of Life shows how segregation and discrimination negatively affected Sarah Jane, which results in her passing herself as a white woman…show more content…
This is the last part that comes with Sigmund Freud’s structural theory as it is usually the last to develop as well (“Examples of ID Ego and Superego”). In the film, Sarah Jane’s superego is shown during the final scene. After passing as a white woman majority of her life, she finally realized that it was wrong. When Annie passed away from a broken heart, Sarah Jane truly realized that what she was doing was hurting more than helping the people she loved. Riding away in the Hurst, Sarah Jane weeps over her mother’s death and the audience notices a sudden change in her whole persona, as she has finally seen the consequences of her actions that she now knows is morally
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