Sample Essay

‘Reciprocal determinism is Bandura’s term to explain the interaction between the Person (P), the Situation (S), and the Behaviors (B).  One’s beliefs about the world, and about themselves will influence their behavior and the environments they place themselves in.  Feedback from the environment and behaviors will confirm or disconfirm one’s beliefs.’

Whitehouse’s characters hatred is focused on his father whose violent and destructive behavior gives him enough reason to do so. In the movie the visual impact allows us to see what powerful influence his father has on him and how at times to seem to grow:

‘He even seems to grow taller and fatter with each scene. We are clearly watching through Wade’s tainted eyes, but we never know to what degree. Blurring the distinction between cinematic objectivity and subjectivity, Schrader creates long stretches during which reality mingles freely with Wade’s mind’

At times his behavior and cognitive processes are influenced by hallucinations. The viewer at points is unsure whether or not to believe what Wade’s character is saying or whether what is happening are his delusions or really what is actually happening. For example:

‘We first begin to suspect Wade when his younger brother (Willem Dafoe) can’t remember a crucial incident from childhood that Wade insists took place. It was during a snowstorm when they were kids. Their father, drunk as usual, forces them out of the house to stack firewood. “One day, boys, you’ll thank me for this!” he intones above the howling winds. But the firewood is buried under thick ice, prompting the boys to give up. Angered by what he sees as girlish cowardice, he furiously beats the young Wade. Or did he?’

However this incident and others do mould his cognitions his attitude and then his personality. When frustrated by his daughter’s fear of him he almost inadvertently lashes out at her.

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