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The Miracle Worker and Pygmalion

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Two of the well sought blockbuster films which struck the arena of conditioning concepts were The Miracle Worker and The Pygmalion. Such films conveyed similar representations on the slight mistakes of human composition. What is being introduced in that certain statement is the perspective of being handicapped in a way that an individual had been living his days. The idea of being handicapped had long been an issue to an individual’s level of confidence and self-esteem that various studies were ventured by researchers aiming to find the cure for the ‘slight’ shortcoming of the genetic scheme (Penn, 1962).

Consequently, for the two movies aforementioned, it gives viewers the formidable sense of hope that not all who were considerably ‘not complete’ in composition of senses are deprived from the rights and privileges this earthly place shall ever seem to offer. It gives the contemporary society a clearer vision of human rationality and gives credit to the higher form of sensibility among human beings as well as with consideration to the inner desires of individuals.

Feminism paradigm view on films

Perceivably one of the most visible outlooks which paved a massive intellect on majority viewers is ‘feminism’. This considered dominant trend is noted to be psychoanalytically formed which comes to a position in the realm of film studies tracing back the era of the mid-eighties. Thus, directors and producers aim in reaching out the hearts of the masses for whatever reason they may have with regards to their own benefit may conceivably fall on the line of profit. Given the fact that most viewers or rather ‘film lovers’ are that of the human race, it is not quite hard to take to assumption that the main target of any Hollywood project is aimed to the ‘soft’ hearts or women, at that.

Analysis on handicap insinuation

The disability on communication does not necessarily imply that the individual may not be able to fulfill its duties and roles within the community. Operant Conditioning stresses that through this kind of mental technique, a handicapped individual shall be bestowed with the senses of that which are required in complying the challenges in daily activities.

However, such method in communication may not basically help the handicap in the most excelling state like that of those which are enjoyed by those who are ‘able’, but then the issue of being deviant among those who are ‘normal’ will primarily expunge the juxtaposition. Since then, given with the certain methods in acquiring the ‘communication’ strategies, it will not only give benefit to the handicap but with the people surrounding the person as well.

Given the fact that a ‘handicap’ is unable to perform tasks, roles and common humanistic activities by which most are able, it can be taken to assumption that they have the raging tendency of feeling ‘different’ compared to other people. In studies with regards to the sociological behavior of such kind, it had been noted that handicapped individuals possess a sense of lowered self-esteem and thus is niggardly depriving them to dwell into activities due to a massive form of inferiority or a self inflicted level of egoism. For such reason, they somehow consider themselves a member of the ‘invisible’ tribe, which poisons their perception on venturing to social events or being with other people whom they perceive to be ‘blessed’ in completion.

Landscape of deviancy among handicaps

Deviant behavior and the situations occurring with the behavior’s premise may well be much more common today than during the earlier years. This is because many of us today pursue large goals with uncertain payoffs due to the circumstances of present living. Attributed to evolutionary psychology is the understanding that behavior is a consequence of the brain processes. With regard to the cited idea, Edward H. Hagen was able to identify the attributes of evolutionary psychology insinuations. (Collingwood, 2007)

The reason primarily concerns the fact that researches can not directly study the complex neural circuits of the individual to discern how deviant behavior works. Thus, there is difficulty in understanding the intentions of the brain and its processes in triggering deviant behavior. Much criticism in this view is that the environment by which evolutionary psychologist are basing their interpretations and analysis from does not evidently exist and are proven, and such assumptions in the field would have to merit proof in humans, rather than depending on theories and assumptions alone. Nonetheless, Hagen bickers that certain behaviors leading to any form of melancholy, in the depths of desperation attempts and premeditated self-harm as cogent bargaining tactics to gain support from others. (Anonymous, 2007)

Many therapists have seen and believe in the value of evolutionary psychology and had set many avenues of treatment that can help solve many psychological disorders. Evolution-based therapies has geared its focus in the individual’s lifestyle and how different it is from the previous generations, the inactivity concerning aspects such as social isolation, overwork and the likes. (Anonymous, 2007)

Evolutionary psychology as grounds for analytic study on handicaps

Evolutionary psychology aims to discern how evolution had initiated the behaviors we characterized as deviance from the norms of society behavior and culture that is considered as acceptable. Many form of deviant behavior can not be attributed alone on the individual; several assumptions had included the influence of society in molding individual behavior. But in this analysis, we will greatly use the conceptual framework and analysis derived from evolutionary psychology. However, it deliberately takes to a point that the latter is considerably the best method in obtaining and internalizing the behavioral queries which may have had evolved.

Memory, perception and language are national selection products in a definite sort. One of the products of the psychological evolution idealism is evolutionary psychopathology which aims to evaluate the abnormal psychology from the perspective of evolution. In line with this, psychological adaptations of deviant behavioral mechanism engineered by natural selection to facilitate individuals’ determinant complexes are socially-imposed and are thus associated in effects of enduring fitness. These psychological adaptation mechanism signals the need and compelling help from reluctant others.

Not only does it affect the concepts of natural science, but also has its resurgence in the field of social sciences despite the connection attributed between Social Darwinism and genocide. It is a continual pursuit for scientist of hard sciences to discern its evidence of intelligent design. On the other hand, psychology and other social sciences had also become acquainted with the idea and seek to explain human behavior in terms of the evolution concept. To this, the result is a new branch in psychology known as “evolutionary psychology”. (Collingwood, 2007)

Suicidal behavior eating an individual’s sanity

Evolution psychology also suggests that suicides are found to be in most highly depressed men compare to women. In this light, Freud’s concept on discerning human motives failed to give psychologists answer to determine the aversion on suicide. A major contribution of Freud however is determining that there exists a death instinct by which social conflicts interplays contrastingly with the asocial id of the individual and the socially imbued superego. The death instinct is now carried on into the egoistically motivated aggressive act outside the self. (van Wormer & Odiah, 1999)

The biological attribution to the deviant behavior of suicide can fairly be related to the murder behavior in the sense that life becomes at stake in this case. Several studies also related the concept of depression the need to let others know they need help is one of the attributes connected to evolution psychology in this aspect. Biologically, there are conclusions that suicidal an individual have a low level of serotonin in the brain and impulsively decide to murder/commit suicide. (van Wormer & Odiah, 1999)

The issue on egoism

The core of the doctrine of egoism is the self or the individual. Central to psychological egoism is the argument that self-interest is always the motive behind all the acts of human beings, including acts which are categorized as deeds of altruism. Ethical egoism, on the other hand, claims that persons ought to do what is essential to their self-interest. To be an egoist would be prudent for several reasons both for the perfectly just and perfectly unjust man.

Generally, an egoist will primarily consider his own well-being in every situation he may be placed. With this prudence, the perfectly just person as well as the perfectly unjust one wills most likely secure benefits for his existence. One criticism which has been staunchly hurled against psychological egoism is that it argues in circles. Thomas Macaulay argues against psychological egoism in such a way that it (psychological egoism) presupposes that people only carry out actions that result to their self-satisfaction, and concludes that people only carry out actions that result to their self-satisfaction.(Macaulay, 1860).

Operant conditioning in overcoming lame conditions

The core tools of operant conditioning are characterized as that of either giving consequences in behavioral defect for the occurrence of a greater frequency in obtaining the self-esteem drive called reinforcement; consequences towards the occurrence of lesser frequencies called punishment; and extinction which is defined as the requirement of certain consequences for an objective of a response, hence, giving an unstable result of either the favorable and vice-versa (Anthony Asquith, 1938).

In the case of Helen (Miracle Worker), Anne Sullivan, though had difficulties in applying her ‘motivation’ procedure to make the pious Helen follow her mandates in uplifting her personality, she used the above mentioned concepts in the most fragile and intellectual way. Day by day, she had been studying the possible reasons for Helen’s unusual actions and later used Helen’s arguments on her behavior to corner her ego so as to make her follow the means which gives mutual benefit to them.

However, Henry in Pygmalion, due to the circumstance that there is already a ‘selfish’ drive within him in his goal to develop Eliza’s personality, his means were all laid on a table of favor and thus the sagacity of punishment had not been able to surface in the clear waters making an echelon of favorable reinforcement conditioning methods in training her.


Sometimes, it is the responsibility of those who are blessed to help those who are “unable” to live the wisdom of life. Jumping out of the conventionality of layering discrimination serves as an important factor in achieving the life which the handicap could have had sought. With the help of the psychological innovative such as conditioning and the higher level of care, they are given the gifts which they thought were taken from them.

Anonymous. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from http://www.bible411.com/evolution/index.htm
Anthony Asquith, L. H. (Writer) (1938). Pygmalion. United Kingdom: Timeless Multimedia.
Collingwood, J. (2007, May 2,2007 ). Evolution and Psychology. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/evolution-and-psychology/
Macaulay, T. (1860). The Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macaulay (Vol. 1): Longman, Green, Longman,
and Roberts.
Penn, A. (Writer) (1962). The Miracle Worker [DVD & Video]. Region 1 USA: MGM.
van Wormer, K., & Odiah, C. (1999). The Psychology of Suicide-Murder and the Death Penalty. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from http://www.angelfire.com/fl3/starke/psychology.html

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