This movie is about a young, white man named Jimmy Smith, Jr. who longs to be a rapper. His nickname is Bunny Rabbit. Not only is he from a poor, low class family, but he lives in a predominately black neighborhood in Detroit. He lives in a trailer with is mom and little sister. Everyday is a struggle for him to keep his hope alive.
The film is framed by two rap battles. In the first, Bunny Rabbit is still trying to win respect from the audience and gain confidence in himself. But when he gets up in front of a chanting, all black audience and hears the insults of this opponent’s rap, he falls silent and cannot speak.
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The climax of 8 mile is the second rap battle, a week later, with Bunny Rabbit now rapping in the championship battle against his enemy Papa Doc. In his 1 – minute rap, Bunny Rabbit takes all the criticisms that he knows are going to be leveled at him, and levels them at himself, and says that despite them all he’s still there and still fighting. Then he goes on to down Papa Doc, who Jimmy happens to know as Clarence, a privileged, middle class black kid who went to private school. This causes the tables to turn because his opponent freezes up the same as he had done the first time.
Main Ideas and Theoretical Constructs
Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that seeks to cure mental disorders by getting patients to talk freely and bring repressed feelings into the conscious mind instead of remaining hidden within the unconscious. This practice is based on Freud’s theories of how the mind, instincts, and sexuality work.
Freud’s work was based on the belief that the unconscious is the part of the mind beyond consciousness and that it influences how people act. His goal was to strengthen the ego or ‘I’ self – the conscious mind – by bringing repressed thoughts or feelings into consciousness through psychoanalysis. By bringing such repressed memories or emotions into the conscious mind the ego/conscious and the id/unconscious would be closer to some sort of reconciliation. Freud, in short, wanted to make people more conscious of certain things that were previously repressed.
Freud also studied sexual development, and posited that sexuality actually begins in infancy and travels through several stages of the libido or energy drive associated with sexual desire. These stages are the oral, anal, phallic, and genital.
Freud claimed that all human beings are born with certain instincts, i.e. with a natural tendency to satisfy their biologically determined needs for food, shelter and warmth. The satisfaction of these needs is both practical and a source of pleasure which Freud refers to as "sexual".
He said that it was made up of what he termed archetypes which are primordial images inherited from our ancestors. As support for such a theory, he spoke of the immediate attachment infants have for their mother, the inevitable fear of the dark seen in young children, and how images such as the sun, moon, wise old man, angels, and evil all seem to be predominate themes throughout history.
In his view, infants are drawn to their mother because of the unconscious image of mother that is alive in all of us and that we fear the dark because of the unconscious image of darkness. Although he described many archetypes in his writings, there are a few that have received a lot of attention and thought. These include the animus/anima, the shadow, and the self.
Erik Erikson believed that the ego Freud described was far more than just a mediator between the superego and the id. He saw the ego as a positive driving force in human development and personality. As such, he believed the ego’s main job was to establish and maintain a sense of identity.
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development has eight distinct stages, each with two possible outcomes. According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and successful interactions with others. Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and sense of self.
Allport is considered a trait theorist as he believed that every person has a small number of specific traits that predominate in his or her personality. He called these a person’s central traits. While these central traits share in the make-up of personality, he also argued that occasionally one of them becomes an apparent dominant force. He called this a person’s cardinal trait.
Both the central traits and the occasional cardinal trait are environmentally influenced. As a child develops, specific behaviors and interactions become a part of the individual’s personality. As the person grows, these traits become so much a part of the person that they no longer require whatever it was that caused it to develop.
In explaining the behaviors that Jimmy Smith, Jr. has from the psychoanalytic theory, I found that he has a very strong libido. Throughout the movie he is obsessed with having one particular girl. He doesn’t stop until he gets her. I think his strong sexual drive for women came from him not getting enough positive attention from his mom. Since he has lots of obstacles to face and getting through each day is very hard, Jimmy gets rid of his tensions from life in three ways: by reducing his tension immediately through sex, fighting, and music. I feel this is an example of pleasure principle.
Jimmy strives to become a rapper and his mother tells him that it is never going to happen because he isn’t good enough or able to get out of the town that they live in. It makes Jimmy really mad when anyone tries to crush his dreams, so he uses projective identification on her. Since all she does is remind him of where he comes from and his social status, he goes off on her and tells her how bad she is and that she doesn’t even have a job. He also tells her that she doesn’t know how to take care of his little sister because she is always drunk.
One side of Jimmy that no one on the outside sees is his affection and love for his sister. He sings her songs, kisses and hugs her, and keeps her away from harms way. This shows that even though he puts on the archetype of a persona to everyone else by acting tough and fearless, he has a kinder side which really only comes out with his sister. Therefore this is his anima. He is a classic case of androgyny because not only can he have the tough man image, but he can also be gentle and sweet in certain situations.
He is in a form of denial with his life because he doesn’t really acknowledge his upbringing or that he lives in a trailer with this mom. If anyone besides his friends comes by his home, he tells them he doesn’t live there. He says that he is visiting his sister. He doesn’t want to accept his life. This is why he strives to be a rapper and make the life for himself that he wishes he had. To escape his life and the things around him, Jimmy sings and writes lyrics to songs that he makes up to filter out the world by sublimation.
I feel that Jimmy is in the middle of his moratorium because he is definitely in crisis, but he hasn’t made any kind of commitment to his future. He is exploring his options to try and get to the top. Jimmy’s friend promises to get him some studio time at the local recording agency. When he gets there, his friend is having sex with Jimmy’s girlfriend. He beats him up and goes back home. When he gets there his mom asks him about his session. He tells her that he didn’t want any help anyway, and that it would be more worthwhile if he gets to be a rapper on his own. He is using rationalization to make him feel better about his situation.
Another thing he is faced with in the movie is objective anxiety because at one point there are five gang members in front of him to beat him up for an earlier fight he had with one of the guys. He looks a little scared, but he hides it well even though he knows he is getting ready to be beaten.
In explaining the behaviors that he has from the dispositional theory, I found that Jimmy has many characteristics that everyone sees in him. He is very aggressive, opinionated, talented, offensive, dependable, and determined. These are some of his central dispositions. He also has a secondary disposition that no one really sees except his sister, which is love and caring. He only shows affection to his little sister, and no one but her and their mother sees that.
Due to his attitudes, Jimmy has some forms of psychoticism. I think this because of some of his characteristics. He is very aggressive, disregards danger, socially rude, and he avoids close personal interaction by that he prefers to have "impersonal" sex. I feel that he is an extravert because he is very outgoing and likes to be around people. During the whole movie he is always with someone and goes to large gatherings where the rap battles are held. He externalizes problems by being aggressive through fighting and by being impulsive. It helps that he has a mesomorpic body type due to his muscular strength. I feel that Jimmy relates to the somatotonia temperament type because he loves to take risks. In the movie, he and his friends are driving down the road shooting a paint ball gun at people, building, and cars. Jimmy shoots right at a police car with the cop inside. He is also very competitive, especially when it comes to rapping.
Although, it seems like Jimmy is mostly bad, he does care about his friends in his own way. He uses reciprocal altruism with them so that when he needs help from them in some way, they won’t hesitate. He takes his friends places in his car, and he takes care of one of his friends after he accidentally shoots himself expecting that they would do the same when necessary.
Another aspect of Jimmy is that he has young male syndrome. When he sees his friend having sex with this girl, he beats the crap out of him, which is a good example of the syndrome because he is competing for the girl. I think his aggressiveness can be summed up with two terms, direct and physical. His direct aggressiveness is shown through his aim toward the target of the opposing gang members that beat him up earlier. He is determined to beat them at rapping if he can’t beat them all at fighting. He shows physical aggressiveness by fighting people.
I feel that all of these aspects of Jimmy came from his upbringing in a broken home without his father, and without the love of his mother. He was made to do everything on his own, without the help of his family. If there is no one to help bring out the good qualities in you, then more than likely you will bring out the bad ones. If no one ever takes care of or takes up for you, then you are forced to do it on your own. I feel this is why Jimmy is so aggressive and cold. One thing about him is that he is determined to make his life better and reach his goals. I think that even though he had a bad upbringing and no support, it actually helped him in some aspects with striving to reach his goal of becoming a rapper. The movie was based on the life of the rapper Eminem. As you can see, even though he had a pretty tough life, he managed to achieve his goal. He is now a nationally known white rapper.
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