Initial Interview Formulation

Initial Interview Formulation



Initial Interview Formulation

The movie Stand by Me focuses on different issues that face four children. It features the themes of alcoholism, parental neglect, physical abuse, delinquency, and bullying. The movie features four main characters. Gordie Lachance, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern Tessio are friends who live in the same town. They are twelve years old and each of them is seeking for an adventure. Gordie is dissatisfied with his life and he has to face the fact that his parents love him less than they loved his deceased brother. They expect him to be like his older brother although he has other interests. Chris is intelligent but he has to deal with physical abuse from his father. His older brother does not form the best example. Everyone expects him to turn into a criminal because of his family’s background. Teddy has faced physical abuse all his life. He seems to live in his own world most of the time as a way of escaping his reality. Vern is the base of all jokes in the town because of his physical appearance. He is fat and other people mock and insult him constantly because of this.

The boys hope to change their life stories. All of them have some weaknesses because of all the problems they face. The idea that they could become the town heroes once they have identified the dead bodies entices them. They embark on a journey intending to be the first to find the body. Their dedication and commitment towards their cause is evident. They are even willing to face the older boys in the village. Along the way, the boys learn more about themselves and about each other. The journey gives them a chance to forget their individual problems, even though it is only for a little while. The boys are at a crucial stage in their lives. They want to search for their own identities and become individuals, yet at the same time, they desire acceptance. They show this through the arguments they have with each other. They show that they are not only willing to compromise, but that they also want to be heard.

It is clear that the movie is told from an older time, based on the liberties that the children have as well as the lack of laws that govern modern day parenting. The idea that children can be physically abused by their parents yet the authorities do not take any action is unheard of in many places today. The children were liberal enough to leave their homes and embark on a journey with the intent of finding a dead body. Many parents today would be reluctant to let their adolescent children travel alone. They would also oppose the idea of children finding a dead body. The children use a lot of foul language in the play and they discuss mature themes. However, it is clear that such discussions are a reflection of what age mates discuss whenever they are together, and the language they use when talking.

According to Erikson, one of the stages of psychosocial development is identity vs. role confusion. It is clear that the boys are passing through this stage. Erikson noted that the stage happens to people between the age of twelve and eighteen (Shaffer, 2008). This stage is a time of crisis for many adolescents. They have to conform to fit in and they often give way to peer pressure. They want to do what their friends are doing so that they can be accepted. At the same time, they want to know their identity. This can be conflicting because what a person wants contradicts to what a group would want. Gordie shows this in the movie. Even though he objects to what the others want to do, he does not oppose them and he chooses to conform to their demands and suggestions.

            During adolescents, young people become more interested in the realities of their lives. They begin to recognize that a difference exists between the way things are, and the way they could be and they develop a new sense of idealism (Mandleco & Mandleco, 2004). They begin to notice the world around them more distinctly. For the young adolescent boys in the movie, they discuss the physical changes that are happening in the opposite sex. In the midst of their adventure, they take the time to recollect and remember how girls’ breasts are changing. This reflects the changes that the boys are experiencing, as evidenced in their conversations

Psychosocial theory considers the influence of culture to a person’s growth and development. Societal expectations are present at every stage of growth in a person’s life. The cultural goals and aspirations demand something from an individual and this often evokes a reaction (Newman & Newman, 2014). A person can choose the manner in which to react. Reactions can be positive or negative. People can choose to respond based on what the society expects of them. They can also choose a different direction.

During adolescents, young people begin to think abstractly and they begin to think about relationships (Geldard & Geldard, 2010). Gordie breaks down when he sees the body as he acknowledges that his parents do not love him. Gordie does not get any attention from home. He longs for affection and he has a deep desire for acceptance. Because of this, he is always looking for ways to get approval from his friends. Gordie received more attention from his brother than he did from his parents. After the death of his brother, his father expects him to be more like his brother. At one point, the shopkeeper even compares him to his brother. This shows societal expectations placed upon Gordie. He chooses not to conform to these expectations and he chooses to focus on his desires. He does not aspire to be an athlete like his brother. He understands that his talent is in writing and telling stories and he concentrates on this. He is a rounded character who experiences transformation in the end. Because he has the support of his friends, he is able to overcome some of the limitations that he is facing. He is the narrator in the end, and he seems to have achieved his life’s dreams.

Chris has the same societal expectations placed upon him. However, unlike Gordie, he has to face negative stereotypes because of his family’s reputation in the town. Chris chooses not to conform to these expectations. He decides to follow his dream however hard it might be for him. His decision to study hard and go to college beyond all expectations is a way of responding to the society. Chris is able to escape his family home and the stereotypes associated with it. He ends up becoming a lawyer in the end.

The movie stand by me lives by its title, at least for the time that the boys were facing different struggles and challenges in their lives. It is a story of friendship and loyalty. The boys embarked on an adventure at a crucial time in their lives. They got a deeper understanding of their individuality and a real sense of their friendship and bravery. All the boys had challenges in their lives. They had weaknesses that limited them and affected the decisions that they chose to make. However, they did not focus on this when they were together. Chris and Gordie realized the biggest changes of all. They refused to conform to their society’s expectations. Although the boys were willing to conform to each other, they seemed to have limitations where the rest of the society was concerned. This shows real growth in their development.


Geldard, K., & Geldard, D. (2010). Counseling adolescents: The proactive approach for young people. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

Mandleco, L. B., & Mandleco, H. B. (2004). Growth and development handbook: Newborn through adolescence. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

Newman, B., & Newman, P. (2014). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

Shaffer, D. (2008). Social and personality development. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

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