Our past experiences, especially in our formative years as children, shape who we are, how we experience the world, and how the world sees and labels us. We are born being thrown into circumstances we have no control over and are not of our our own choosing. Our birthright is our race, class, gender, and parents. All these factors play a crucial role in determining the type of person we become, our personalities, our careers, and our life chances. In the movie Antwone Fisher Antwone is born into circumstances which put him at an extreme disadvantage.
Without a stable lunching point, he must spend his life dragging himself out of the predicament and misfortune chance placed him in. The film Antwone Fisher begins with Antwone viciously attacking a fellow soldier in the Navy for seemingly nothing. At the beginning of the movie, I did not like the character of Antwone at all. He had a ridiculous temper, was very disrespectful, had no regard for authority, and seemed to lack character in general. The term deviant would definitely have applied to the character of Antwone.
In our book, deviance is defined as behavior that is recognized as violating expected norms and rules. His behavior at the beginning of the film characterized that definition, especially considering that he was in the U. S. Navy where there are strict code of conducts for everything especially behavior. The military is also a hierarchical society in which you must pay the upmost respect for those in higher rank and authority than you, which Antwone did not do.
After he assaulted the soldier, he was required to meet with a psychiatrist, Dr. Jerome Davenport, who after three visits was to recommend whether Antwone should be discharged from the Navy or allowed to remain active duty. Antowone denied to speak for a great while but when he did, the horrors of his childhood started to emerge, explaining the reasoning behind his actions. It was explained that Antwone’s father was killed by a girlfriend and his mother was sent to prison when he was a infant, never to make contact with Antwone again. Antwone was then placed in a orphanage for two years.
These factors play a major role in the development of Antwone’s self worth and identity. Being forsaken by one’s family will leave one with feelings of worthlessness and unimportance. Your parents are intended to be the ones who love and value you most in the world and if they don’t or are not present it can cause some sever self worth and esteem problems. Also without parents or a family, one will lack a sense of identity not knowing who you came from. It can also lead to confusion in terms of knowing your place in society.
The immediate family is where you first begin your understanding and being taught the rules of society like who is in authority, what your responsibilities are, and what your role is. The family is a microcosm, preparing you for the greater world. After being in the orphanage for two year, Antwone was sent to a foster home with two other young boys, a domineering woman named Mrs. Tate, and another woman named Nadine. Mrs. Tate would beat the boys, punish Antwone by exposing him to his greatest fear of fire, and speak to the boys using the “Nword” instead or their names.
She would also play favorites with one of the other two boys who was half white, saying that he had the nice hair and nice skin. All of this treatment would have caused serious harm to Antwone. It showed him that those in authority over him would hurt him and were not to be trusted, leaving him with many problems with authority. And with the racial slurs and favoritism towards the mixed race boy, he was socialized to believe that “whiteness” was preferred over “blackness. ” And as he was black, he was imprinted with an inferiority complex.
He experienced even more trauma in the foster home at the hand of Nadine. When Mrs. Tate and the other boys would leave and he was left alone with Nadine, she would force him to perform explicit sexual acts. Sexual abuse horrible leaving the victimized child with many traumatic experiences to overcome that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Antwone’s abusive past greatly affected him. At the age of 25, he still had not been with a woman consensually, even though he desired to the fear and trauma he was left with was too great to overcome.
After all of the events that Antwone experienced were shared with the audience, it was much easier to understand why he was acting the way he was, and I looked at him as a victim of circumstances rather than a heartless and disrespectful aggressor. It was implied throughout the movie that because he had been victimized and abused sexually, physically, and psychologically as a child, his conditioned response was to protect himself whenever he felt threatened. This was shown when he attacked a fellow soldier at a nightclub for making light of his inexperience with women and calling him a homosexual.
After Antwone shares his childhood experiences with Dr. Jerome Davenport, the rest of the movie is spent showing Antwone overcoming the the trauma caused in his childhood with Dr. Jerome Davenport’s help. Dr. Davenport helps Antwone as he tries to start a relationship with a woman he is interested in, but is held back by his experiences as a child. Dr. Davenport also invites Antwone over for Thanksgiving dinner, including him in his family events. Dr. Davenport is the first and only person in authority over Antwone who has shown him love, kindness, encouragement, and stability.
He helps Antwone to learn that people in authority can be trusted. The major thing that Dr. Davenport encourages Antwone to do is to find his family. Antwone does this going back to the town he grew up in with his new girlfriend. He returns to Mrs. Tate’s home, where he confronts her about all of the abuse he was put though and stands up for himself. Antwone is finally able to find his father’s family who lead him to his mother. His mother totally rejects him and refuses to speak with him but Antwone forgives her.
His fathers family, however, embraces Antwone having a large meal in celebration of his return. I believe that you wanted us to analyze this movie, because it helps us to understand that they way people act can be a result of the way they grew up, the way they were socialized, the society and the norms surrounding them, and how they were treated. I had a lot of empathy for Antwone and this movie displayed a great lesson of redemption after terrible and uncontrollable life circumstances.