My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Directions – Using the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding
For this assignment, imagine you are a counselor working with each of these three characters. Now, conduct the following analysis for each character:
Identify the life stage he or she is in, along with the psychological crisis each is experiencing.
Apply psychosocial developmental theory to the situation presented, from the perspective of a counselor:
Conceptualize your ideas for the developmental tasks of each character selected, grounding your conceptualization in your own area of specialization.
Include a discussion of the character’s life and factors that might affect behaviors, including cultural and other influences related to the stage of development assessed. To the extent that it is relevant for each character, include an analysis of interrelationships among work, family, and other life roles. Include an analysis of the impact of cultural influences, as well. Refer to specific actions and words of the characters in the movie as evidence for your analysis.
Support your ideas with specific lifespan theories discussed in this course, citing and referencing your sources.
From a clinical perspective, assess how these three characters function as a family unit:
Examine their functioning in relation to a model of resilience appropriate to your specialization, and evaluate their challenges and strengths related to wellness and resilience. As each character transitions to his or her next developmental stage, how will the transition impact the functioning of the family unit?
Support your ideas with appropriate sources on the model of resilience you chose.
Use the document Unit 8 Assignment Template (given in the resources) to prepare and submit your report. Do not include a synopsis of the movie in your paper. Instead, follow the template. Focus on the three selected characters, and the realities of their functioning as a family unit and transitioning within the family unit, as described in the template. Then, provide your assessment of how well they are functioning in relation to your choice of a model of wellness and resilience, as described in the template. Your summary, at the end of the template, should provide a brief, focused review of the key insights in your assessment.
Your paper must meet the following requirements:
Resources: Cite and reference at least three resources from the professional literature that you use as the basis of your ideas related to life span theory and resilience models.
APA formatting: Resources and citations must be formatted according to current APA style.
Font and Font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
Length of Paper: Doing a thorough job on this assignment is likely to require approximately 7–10 typed, double-spaced pages.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Greek Wedding is a film which centres on Toula, a 30 year old woman who is still not married. Toula is constantly reminded by her family, particularly her father, about her failures in life and this affects her psychologically. She eventually comes to believe that she is worthless and is doomed to spend the rest of her life working at her father’s restaurant. This makes her to have low self-esteem and as such, she does not try to improve her life. However, she meets Ian, a school teacher, and falls in love with him (Tzanelli, 2004). This marks the beginning of her transformation. She eventually manages to overcome her low self-esteem, gets a job as a travel agent, and develops a successful relationship with Ian. While My Big Greek Wedding is portrayed as a comedy film, it addresses the psychological challenges that the characters in it go through and how they overcome them. In this paper, a psychosocial analysis of three characters, Toula, Gus, Toula’s father, and Maria, Toula’s mother will be carried out. The analysis will be based on the psychosocial development stage that each character is in.
Toula is the main character in this film. She is one of the characters whose psychological problems have been portrayed significantly. Toula is in the intimacy vs isolation stage in her life. Toula is confused in terms of how she should conduct herself (Tzanelli, 2004). She has come of age yet she is not married. Her parents are putting pressure on her to settle down. However, they do not want her to settle down with any other person but with a Greek man.
Toula has been brought up in a Greek culture and her parents frequently tell that she needs to be proud of her Greek culture and heritage. However, she is living in a society where there are other people from other culture. Toula is thereby living a life of isolation. She is stuck in a culture that she does not understand well. Yet she is compelled to live it because she wants to please her parents. This also makes it hard for her to develop any relationships outside her family. She thereby leads an isolated life and this affects her psychologically (Newman, 2015). Her inability to please her father because of her limited accomplishments makes her to have low self-esteem.
The inability of Toula to move to another step in her life and adequately fit in her Greek culture makes her to be depressed. She convinces herself that she is worthless and that she will never be anything better than a waitress in the family restaurant (Tzanelli, 2004). She even stops taking care of herself which makes her to look older than she actually is.
There are a number of factors which affect Toula’s behaviour. One of them is family. Toula’s family plays a significant role in influencing her behaviour. Toula’s family constantly reminded her of the need to marry and start a family and why she is a failure due to the fact that she is not married. This has a negative effect on her and it reduces her self-esteem (Newman, 2015). Another factor which influences Toula’s behaviour is cultural conflict. Toula is of Greek origin. Her parents are staunch adherents of the Greek culture and want their children to live according to this culture. However, the family lives in Chicago where there are other cultures. Toula is used to the American culture even when her parents insist on her observing the Greek culture. This makes her to be confused and isolated. She is unable to adequately adapt to either of her two worlds (Newman, 2015). In trying to follow her Greek culture, she finds herself isolated from other people in society. On the other hand, she is not able to adequately adapt to the Greek culture and its requirements as demanded by her parents. She is unable to perform the social roles which are required of her by the Greek culture. This thereby makes her to be confused. It also frustrates her parents making them to declare her as a failure. As such, Toula becomes depressed and develops low self-esteem. However, Toula eventually manages to turn around her life. She enrols for computer classes in a college and gets a job as a travel agent. Toula performs well in her new jobs and this boosts her self-esteem. She eventually realizes that she can do something good with her life. She meets and starts dating Ian but has a problem convincing her parents to allow her to marry him (Tzanelli, 2004). She feels that she still owes her allegiance to her parents and she cannot go against them. For instance, when at one time she overhears her parents talking against her relationship with Ian, she tells Ian that they need to end the relationship because while he makes her happy, her parents are unhappy. However, she eventually manages to overcome her fears and convinces her parents to allow her to marry Ian. Her increased confidence in herself enables her to make decisions and stand by them forcing her parents to support her.
Gus is Toula’s father. He is deeply embedded in his Greek culture and requires all his family members to behave and act according to the Greek culture despite the fact that they live in America where there is a different culture. Gus is in the Generativity vs Stagnation stage of development. For example, in this film, Gus is seen trying to guide his family, and particularly his daughter Toula, in what he perceives as the right direction. He wants his daughter to live according to the Greek culture and marry a Greek man. Gus is experiencing some form of stagnation in his development (Newman, 2015). This is because he is unable to accept that times have changed and that he lives in a different generational and cultural environment. He tries to force an ancient way of life on his daughter and when she fails to behave and act the way he wants, he is left frustrated. This makes him to brand his daughter as a failure. The stagnation makes Gus to be reluctant to change. He fails to recognize that his children have brought up in a different cultural setup and that they are likely to be influenced by this culture rather than the Greek culture which they have limited interaction with.
One of the factors which influence Gus’s behaviour is culture. Having been brought up in the Greek culture, Gus believes everything else that is contrary to the Greek culture is wrong. He abhors everything and everyone who is not Greek (Tzanelli, 2004). This thereby makes him to insist that his family must observe the Greek culture. To him, his Greek heritage is so important and wants it to be maintained through his daughters marrying Greek men.
However, Gus eventually comes to accept that change is inevitable and opens up to the relationship between Toula and Ian. However, he does this reluctantly because he still believes in the supremacy of the Greek culture (Newman, 2015). He finds fault in the behaviour of Ian and his parents. But for the sake of his daughter, he learns to adjust to the different cultures and behaviours. In his speech, he states that he has accepted Ian in his family which shows an eventual acceptance of the inevitability of change.
Maria is Toula’s mother. She is seen as a supportive wife but also a loving mother. She helps Toula through her challenges as tries to discover herself. She also helps Toula to overcome the opposition by her father to chart her own way of life. While she follows the Greek tradition as required by Gus, her husband, she is not against other cultures or people (Tzanelli, 2004). She supports Toula’s decision to date and marry Ian. She argues Toula’s case to join college with Gus and manages to convince him to allow their daughter to go college.
Maria is also at the generativity vs stagnation stage. Maria is seen contributing actively in raising the family. She works at the restaurant and takes care of the family. She wants the best for her daughter Toula and this is the reason why she convinces Gus to allow their daughter to join college (Tzanelli, 2004). She also encourages Toula to marry and start a family although unlike Gus, she does not dictate the person Toula should be married to.
There are a number of factors which influence Maria’s behaviour. One of them is flexibility to change. Maria is flexible to change. She has good knowledge of the generational change that has taken place and appreciates the fact that His daughter Toula does not live in the same generation as she did when she was her age (Newman, 2015). Another factor which influences Maria’s behaviour is cultural adaptation. In this film, Maria is seen to have adapted to and embraced the new culture that she and her family found themselves in. This thereby makes it easy for her to accept it when Toula dates and proposes to marry Ian who is an American.
Basically, While My Big Greek Wedding is portrayed as a comedy film, it addresses the psychological challenges that the characters in it go through and how they overcome them. For example, Toula, unable to adequately fit in the two cultural environments that she is exposed to, becomes isolated. She is unable to develop intimacy with either of her two worlds. For example, she is unable to adequately adapt to the demands of her family and at the same she is unable to develop lasting relationships with people outside her family for fear of offending her father. Gus, on the other, is unable to adapt to other cultures due to been deeply embedded in his Greek culture. Maria is the only character who is shown to have the ability to live in both worlds. However, eventually, Toula and Gus manage to overcome their challenges and live fulfilling lives.
Tzanelli, R. (2004). ‘Europe’within and without Narratives of American cultural belonging in and through My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). Comparative American Studies An International Journal, 2(1), 39-59.
Newman, P. R. (2015). Development through life: A psychosocial approach (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage