" Brandon's moral career is never really situated clearly, as he departs from the scene altogether; but it thus hints at the possibility of his suffering badly from away syndrome despite his rise in popularity. That he runs off with Marianne's boyfriend is further evidence of his inability to hold onto his feigned "normalcy," which is perhaps the reason for his departure.
Olive's tactic, however, is accompanied by "indeeperism" -- that is, the more the pressure builds (and the more her stigma grows on both sides of the fence), the more she is prevented from disclosing techniques. Her lies build until her friendships are threatened. Even then she finds it difficult to overcome her stigma, since those who have helped her earn it refuse to testify to its illegitimacy (since they, of course, have benefited from it). Olive develops a case of away syndrome as she is more and more abandoned by both communities and forced to withdraw into herself (whereupon she resolves to come clean by telling the truth).
Thus a game between the "discredited" and the "discreditable" ensues (Goffman 57). Olive has been discredited by supposed normals, but in reality, she can easily discredit the discreditable who are only passing as normals (such as Mrs. Griffith, Marianne whose relationship with Micah, who has contracted chlamydia from Mrs. Griffith, is not what it appears).
To do so, Olive seeks support from her "own" as well as from the "wise." Todd best represents her own rather than her friend Rhiannon (whose parents are too eccentric to be called normal) and who herself abandons Olive to join the tribe of Marianne. Todd's normalcy does not permit him to be duped by Olive's stigma and thus he is able to support her by reminding her of who she is (really a normal, with a tendency to lie). Olive's support from the "wise" comes from her own mother, who gives her some friendly encouragement, which in turn leads to Olive's plan to confess all.
By confessing her sins (which are not those of her perceived stigma at all), she is able to realign her moral career with that which is normal. Only then is she truly able to shed the stigma which Marianne's tribe and the liberal tribe have placed on her. The moral career of the other characters, however, does not stand up so well. Mrs. Griffith is exposed as a cheat and Marianne is discredited as a fool. Rhiannon is both forgiven and asked for ...
In conclusion, Sarah Payne asserts, "Stigmatized persons have several options to choose from when trying to deal with, initiate a decrease, or eliminate stigma." Olive's option is to eliminate stigma by exaggerating it (which, however, only makes matters worse). Brandon attempts to cover his stigma and pass as a normal. Marianne defends herself from her religious stigma by violently stigmatizing those who are irreligious. In short, each of the characters tries to define his or her own rule of normalcy -- but the film appears to suggest that normalcy is not quite as subjective as the characters would like it to be -- especially when each is easily discreditable. The only characters who remain creditable are those who maintain a line of honesty and anonymity. In this sense, it should be no surprise that Todd (a normal) is also the anonymous school mascot. Normalcy, it may be argued, is thus connected to namelessness and transparency.
Gluck, Will, dir. Easy a. Los Angeles: Screen Gems, 2010. Film.
Goffman, Erving. Stigma. London: Penguin, 1963. Print.
Payne, Sarah. "The Effects of Stigma Applied to Depression." Interdisciplinary
Research Conference. Drury University. 8 Dec 2011.
Brandon's moral career is never really situated clearly, as he departs from the scene altogether; but it thus hints at the possibility of his suffering badly from away syndrome despite his rise in popularity. That he runs off with Marianne's boyfriend is further evidence of his inability to hold onto his feigned "normalcy," which is perhaps the reason for his departure.
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