In a world of teen-movie, students of the high school are defined by distinct groups such as boys can be jocks, or the heartthrobs and girls can be princesses. Both genders can be geeks, and everybody else out of these lines is a misfit. American Teen, the documentary of 2008 directed by Nanette Burstein demonstrates the story and life circumstances of five adolescents.
The character chosen for this study is Hannah Bailey, who is an artist, writer, and musician and a wannabe filmmaker. She is a girl with liberal views that are not considered appropriate and is not a good fit for the town she belongs to. She lives in a small town of Warsaw, which has a very religious conservative culture. Hannah feels caged in her hometown and wants to leave Indiana once she is done with her graduation and wants to explore the life of west coast as a filmmaker.
The character of Hannah Bailey in the documentary “American Teen” depicts the theoretical framework of the family system and the effects of being living without her parents on her personality. In current years, the family system is viewed as a theoretical framework that has become increasingly popular for therapists and professional family councilors to deal with. The family has been customary seen as the group of independent agents who are linked to the family by their membership where the behavior of one family member affects the personality of another member.
Each member in the system view plays a particular role. Also, the kids who grow up without the presence of parents can develop peculiar and rebellious behaviors. The absence of her parents from her life affected her behavior towards relationships. It influenced her lifestyle because of living with her grandmother who due to her age was not able to deal with her regular teenager issues. Not having a mother in her life to helping her with her relationship with her boyfriend and issues at her school immensely affected her, and her motivation was weakened. Through the character of Hannah, it is shown that the family trauma is the idea that do regulate in most of the troubled teenagers.
Kids who experience low level of parental existence are or a close relationship are very likely to exhibit risky behavior such as Hannah risks her graduation by not attending the school for two weeks after the breakup with her boyfriend of two years. She becomes reckless and also emotionally depressed due to not having enough support in such time of need. Also, that affected her emotional health and level of education.
Also, in the discipline of the psychosocial framework, the family is seen as a social network. The family according to the Family System Theory is pointed to as a unit in which the members of the family interacts, engages, provide support, and been observed to influence other members of the system. Though, Hannah’s family was not living as a unit, it affected her personality and reflected her maladaptive behavior.
The teenagers who are rebellious in nature are often due to two reasons; one is against socially fitting and the second one is against the adult authority. In the case of Hannah, both the conditions are present. Rebellious nature can have both positive and negative effects on a adolescent such as, in the case of Hannah it helped her to find herself and know what she wants to do and in what directions she wants to take her life into the future. On the other hand, the negative side of the rebellious nature can equally affect the person’s development. Also, being socially outcast the character of this study had another positive effect as she never bullied anybody or made him or her feel left out.
Hannah is a very distinctive person who does not necessarily fit with regular students. She is largely excluded by almost all the people in her school, aside from few of selected friends she has. If she were to be put into a group that is social, then she would be something like a loner or an outsider. Hannah is mostly in one of these groups due to the odd notions she has demonstrated throughout the movie, as the film shows her exceptional depression after the breakup with her boyfriend, her vaguely anti-social behavior, and her creative streak. Also, the way she does not bully others does distinctively part her from popular kids at school among who most have a mean streak.
The society in which the Hannah is shown living is pretty conservative and religious where the behavior and ideas of a young girl as Hannah is alien. To be in a society that does not share your feelings or idea of life can cause the feelings of frustration in adolescence. The personality of Hanna is reckless, emotional, idealistic and very liberal, which is observed in her guitar playing or wanting to go for studying filmmaking to another city.
All these characteristics are not acceptable for a young teenager like her in the society where she grew up. Teenagers like Hannah are social conservative about their permissiveness and attitude and ideals and cannot cope up with being isolated whether physically or emotionally. Hannah is also shown as a person who is not very social and cannot get comfortable in the environment where she has no friends. Her family situation has messed up her social behavior and made it hard for her to be a norm in the society.
A relational theme of a person tells a lot the kind of life that person is leading. A relationship theme provides a summary that is convenient for the relational benefits or harms that are hidden under specific kind of emotions. Each emotion found in an individual personality is defined by his or her relational theme. The emotions and behaviors of a person are correlated with the person’s relational theme specifically the young adolescents. As these young individuals are in the developing age where each and every relationship in their lives leaves an emotional mark whether good or bad.
In this documentary, the character of Hannah Bailey goes through a troublesome and devastating heartbreak and a dark emotional phase due to her romantic relationships before rediscovering her spirit. When Hannah’s boyfriend of two years breaks up with her after the intimate relationship, she does not go to school for a very long period of time because of her deep depression and risks her graduation due to this lengthy absence from school.
This incident shows that she is fragile and does not feel secure without friends and most probably over-emotional. She starts dating another main character of this documentary film after coming back to school, Mitch, for a while during that year, but the relationship between them causes friction with Mitch’s clique of friends, and finally he breaks up with her through a text message leaving her depressed and heartbroken again. This clearly explains that the relationships in Hannah’s life are very important to her and she feels the need to fill the void of love and care, which a teenager gets from parents, from her friends and other relationships.
In the documentary American Teen, the character of Hannah has a buoyant personality, which is remarkably invigorating in a place where the ideals are conservative, and seems to be etched in each person’s head. Most of the small town girls can relate to the story of Hannah, who wants to get out of the environment where they feel strangled and where they cannot pursue their young dreams.
Hannah Bailey, can be said is the nearest character this documentary has to a tragic heroin, is from the group that is defined as a misfit. Hannah wants to study filmmaking in San Francisco. Her parents do not like her idea and also warn her about the hazards of life a girl her age can come across if alone in a big city, but she has other plans. Hannah does not want to be confined in her small town. She hates her life in her that small unchanging and orthodox town and does not want to spend life there doing boring jobs.
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