Precious Neurosis by by Lee Daniels Essay

Precious Neurosis by by Lee Daniels Essay

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This essay will use the movie Precious by Lee Daniels to illustrate Karen Horney’s main concepts relating to personality development. The social and cultural conditions experienced by Precious in her childhood will be discussed as well as how it shaped and developed her neurotic personality. Concepts such as basic anxiety, basic evil, neurotic needs, coping strategies and Horney’s self theory will be discussed and related to Precious’s life experiences and the relationships she has with her parents and significant others. Furthermore this essay will discuss whether or not Precious’s neurosis changes over time and whether it increases or decreases over the period of her life shown in the movie.
Horney acknowledged the influence social and cultural forces have on the development of personality. She theorised that it was these forces during childhood and not biological forces that shaped the personality (Shultz). Horney focused on the relationship between the child and his or her parents, and believed that it was a key factor in personality development (Shultz). Horney suggested that there were two basic needs in a child’s life, safety and satisfaction (Davies). Children who’s needs for love and affection are not met by the parents, basic evil, have a weakened sense of safety, and as a result develop what Horney defines as basic hostility towards their parents, and experience basic anxiety (Shultz). This upset development Honey labelled as neurosis.
Taking a look at the life that Precious has we can clearly see that there was a lack of warmth and affection shown to her by her parents. Right in the beginning of the movie we find out that Precious is pregnant with her second child, of which both have been a result of her father raping ...

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...ship, even though it seem insincere, Precious manages to break free from her abusive mother and has realistic hopes for the future.
In conclusion, Precious has a troubled childhood, with a father that rapes her and an abusive mother, which shapes her personality into one with needs and insecurities, she becomes an aggressive neurotic, and is conflicted between dependency and hostility. She has an idealised self and dreams of a glamorous life whenever she feels threatened, but is also troubled by her despised self, where she feels insecure, worthless and helpless. After awhile her relationship with Ms. Rain as well as the birth of her second child, fathered by her father, give her hope, and we can see that her neurosis decreases, and she is able to get herself out of the grip of her abusive mother and stand in her own self, and have an accurate conception of herself.

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