Winning Doesn't Matter A Critical Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

His face is expressionless as he focuses on the heavy bar he raises and lowers. The camera then cuts to shot of the boy's room; we see the boy's arms only lifting the bench press. The camera then cuts to a shot the boy jumping rope, doing sit-ups, push-ups, and finally pull-ups. The scene ends with the boy writing down and crossing off day 473 on a very long chart. The camera shows a side-profile shot of the boy looking blankly at the chart, and then re-focuses to capture the boy's face in the mirror standing next to him, still appearing empty in his eyes. This is our introduction to Dwayne, Olive's brother, and his quest to fulfilling his dream of joining the Air Force and never having to deal with his dysfunctional family again.

The fourth character journey is embarked upon when a door then closes forcefully and a wrinkled hand presses in the lock on the knob. We see a pair of older hands then unzip a fanny pack and pull out a leather pouch. The camera then shifts to a shot of the man kneeling down in front of a table. We still can't see his face, but he lays the leather pouch out and removes a vial filled with white powder and a tiny mirror. He pours the drugs on the mirror, spreads it and cuts it with a razor blade. The man then raises the mirror up to his nose and uses a rolled up dollar-bill to snort the drugs. This is the first shot the viewer sees of his face, revealing that the man in indeed old, balding, and in need of a shave. The camera then cuts to a wider shot of the man kneeling in front of his dresser, and captures him from behind and in the mirror in front of him. He continues to sniff and breathe deeply, as he then rises and goes to sit down and lean back on a toilet in the room. He sighs, and looks content. This is our introduction to Olive's Grandpa, a crotchety old man who means the world to Olive and who has supported her tremendously in her dream of becoming a beauty pageant winner.

The fifth character to begin her journey is introduced with the very next shot of a woman driving a car, holding a smoldering cigarette in her hand and telling someone loudly that she is on her way. The camera shows a middle aged woman sighing exasperatedly into a cell phone and telling whomever she is talking to that she is at the hospital and must hang up. This is Sheryl, Olive's mother, who would like nothing more than to provide for her family and ensure their happiness, regardless of whether they are "winners" or "losers" as their father, Richard, categorizes them into.

Lastly, the sixth character journey begins when the camera switches to a shot of a solitary man, looking very somber and sullen dressed in a white hospital gown with an IV tube standing next to the wheel chair he sits in. As he stares out the window, the camera shifts to a close up shot of his face, allowing the viewer to see a look of extreme desperation in the man's eyes. This is Olive's uncle, Richard, who is now searching for meaning in his life after being fired for misconduct, stemming from a severe academic and romantic rivalry with colleague, at his job as a professor.

This introductory sequence is crucial the film's final message about the development of each character. In other words, each character is visually presented, without much dialogue, as searching and longing for something to bring change and improvement to his or her life. By the end of the trip to California, each member of the family has learned something significant about accepting human failings and adjusting their own personal goals.

III. Theme of Winning

The theme of the personal journey throughout Little Miss Sunshine ties in nicely with another underlying theme: winning. This is best exemplified by Olive's father, Richard. Throughout the film, Richard consistently emphasizes the importance of being a winner, of coming out on top in every situation. Although well-intentioned, Richard puts pressure on every member of the Hoover family to succeed. One of the most striking scenes is when the Hoover family sits down to eat at a restaurant. The adult Hoovers order their typical breakfasts, with Olive being the exception and ordering waffles a la mode. Her mother allows it, and after the waitress leaves the table, Richard begins to tell Olive that ice cream is made from cream, which has a lot of fat and that anyone who eats ice cream will have her body turn into fat. Olive's mother objects, telling Olive that it doesn't matter whether she is skinny or fat, all that matters is that she is happy with who she is. Richard then delivers the stinging sentence that the women in the Miss America competitions are skinny, and not fat. Olive looks extremely distressed at this suggestion from her father, as she is only seven years old and body image issues are hard to comprehend for a girl that age.

Olive is a little girl, yet her father insisted that he discourage his slightly chubby daughter from eating what would have made any child happy to have for breakfast. This is one of the first examples we see of Richard's obsession with winning actually hurting his family. However, the restaurant scene concludes with the waitress bringing Olive her ice cream and the other family members teasing her that they will eat all her ice cream up if she just sits there pondering whether or not to eat it. As they reach their spoons towards the bowl, Olive bolts up in her seat and protectively wraps her arms around it. Olive dismisses the pressure to be a winner from her father, and lives in the moment, as any child should. Thus, the ultimate conclusion of the film is also exemplified in this particular scene: a person does not have to fit into society's "norms" in order to be a winner.

IV. Social and Psychological Importance of Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine is not only an important film because it explores a realistic, yet sensitive, subject that is pertinent to all our lives (the subject of family), but it also is important on a social and psychological level. Psychologist Dora Finamore writes that despite the dysfunctional nature of a family that is explored in Little Miss Sunshine, it is also important to note the elements of positive psychology throughout the film (129). Each family member demonstrates love, courage, and wisdom (Finamore 129). Finamore writes that positive psychology helps "young people learn to identify their character strengths, develop and cultivate traits for resiliency, and overcome depression by modifying their cognitions and emotional responses" (Finamore 129). We see this exemplified by the relationship between Olive and her brother Dwayne. The film contrasts Dwayne, the typical angst-filled teenager, with Olive, the optimistic, resilient, and sincere 7-year-old girl. We infer from Dwayne's blatant anger towards his family and the world that he may be depressed. but, as the film shows us, it is ultimately Olive's "positive psychology" that helps him overcome this.

V. Theme of Individual Success Through Family Unity

Another important theme in Little Miss Sunshine is the sense we get of the individual vs. The world, and how a strong sense of unity and family help to combat this battle. This is best exemplified by Olive competing with every other girl in the "Little Miss Sunshine" pageant. Although the "Little Miss Sunshine" pageant is for little girls, Olive is the only competitor there who actually looks her age. The other girls are dressed up and sexed up by their mothers and fathers, simply to be paraded in front of an audience. "By dressing young girls as mature women, the parents and organizers of these events are, however inadvertently, parading their children as objects" (Bartlett 2).

However, it is Olive's "sexy" dance routine that raises eyebrows and draws intense criticism. But what the critical beauty pageant audience fails to realize is that Olive's routine in actuality demonstrates what the pageant should be all about: little girls having fun. Olive has the time of her life dancing around the stage, performing the perhaps inappropriate routine her Grandpa taught her. Olive is perhaps naive as she rips off her tear-away pants to reveal tight shorts and kneepads, and gyrates across the stage to Rick James' "Super Freak." but, "[t]here is nothing sexual to her performance, only in the audience's recognition of its connotations" (Bartlett 1).

Ultimately, Olive loses the "Little Miss Sunshine," in fact she even gets banned from entering any beauty pageants in California in the future, for her "provocative" dance routine. But in reality, Olive, and the rest of the Hoovers, leave the…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Winning Doesn't Matter A Critical" (2010, March 06) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/winning-doesn-t-matter-a-critical-349

"Winning Doesn't Matter A Critical" 06 March 2010. Web.4 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/winning-doesn-t-matter-a-critical-349>

"Winning Doesn't Matter A Critical", 06 March 2010, Accessed.4 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/winning-doesn-t-matter-a-critical-349

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Gender Matter in Sports There

    234). Culturally, trainers may simply be paying more attention to girls' injuries due to our culture's tendency to protect females more than males (Tierney, et al., 2005, p. 278) and/or boys may simply under-report concussions due to "macho" tendencies to play through pain in order to continue playing (Covassin, et al., 2012, p. 926). Hormones may contribute to the greater incidence of concussions among female high school athletes because

  • Video Games Have for a

    Dopamine is a pleasure inducing chemical that is secreted whenever an individual engages his/her mind in the playing f video games. The New brain research that was conducted years back (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006) was the first to show that the playing of violent video games results in bad health of the players. The emphatic responses of the brain to the simulation of certain real-life violence such as shooting

  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold

    Even the requirement that Angela be a virgin on her wedding night is tied to the Church, where priests never marry and so supposedly are virgins, and good Catholic girls must be virgins when they marry. In addition, throughout the novel, the murder, and the events leading up to it are often referred to as being "God's will," which indicates how the Church permeates everyday life. The narrator's mother

  • Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel the Road

    If feminism is about civil rights, human rights, children's rights and the search for peace, then it is clear that a substantial amount of the descriptive narrative in the Road is clearly anti-feminine. This has nothing to do with gender rights, and everything to do with the rights of all humans to live in dignity and be allowed "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The nights, McCarthy writes on

  • Globalization Corporate Responsibility in a

    By "lifting all boats" and extending the concept of being "our brother's keeper" we begin, as a society, to address basic human rights worldwide. Question #2: What role should governments play in regulating commerce to ensure that the rights of people and the environment are sustained? Economist Daniel Litvin has written an article in the journal Foreign Policy ("Raising Human Rights Standards in the Private Sector") worthy of close attention.

  • Life Situation Can Create a

    The objective is to impede rumination. 3. In the third stage -- relapse prevention or rehabilitation -- Mr. Thomas will be encouraged to participate in activities (such as hobbies that he enjoys, listening to music, socializing, his work and so forth) and to move towards increased interest in his work, and other components of his life outside of his depressing domestic situation. The whole model would focus around prevention

  • Germany Research Project Germany Is a Prominent

    Germany Research Project Germany Germany is a prominent country in Europe as it stands as the second most crowded nation and the biggest economy in Europe. Seeing how it has the largest economy, it does alter the links between the prominent nations in the world. German history is filled with social and political movements. Adolf Hitler and the era of Nazism is an unfortunate and prominent part of the History of the


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved