Little Miss Sunshine is a movie about a middle class American family who embark on
a trip across America so that seven year Olive can participate in the Little Miss Sunshine
pageant. There are several main characters in the movie. Edwin is an eighty year old
grandfather who is living with his son Richard, Richard’s wife Sheryl, his step grandson
Dwane and granddaughter Olive. During the opening scenes of the movie Sheryl collects her
brother Frank from the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. He comes to stay with the
family and he will require constant supervision.
This essay will focus attention on the character Edwin (granpa) and how he has
developed as a person through Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. There will be
reference to…show more content… (Pg. 646 The Developing
Person) Edwin shares his experience and uninvited advice with all the family members. In
regards to primary aging, Edwin is physically weaker than the other members of the family.
In a particular scene in the movie Richard insists that Edwin and Olive are the first two to get
into the car when it starts due to their perceived limited physical abilities in comparison to the
other family members. Edwin is not seen to take any legal medication in the movie and this
would suggest that secondary aging is not an issue. When Edwin dies mid-way through the
movie it is a result of his heart giving out possibly due to his recreational drug habit. This is
supportive of the wear and tear theory that diet, lifestyle and stress lead to the wearing down
of the body.
Throughout the movie it seems like Edwin is carrying an experience of mental stress
from the past in regards to Sunset Manor and drug abuse, which leads to a cognitive
dissonance theory. The theory of cognitive dissonance was proposed by psychologist Leon
Festinger, who stated that the theory is centred on how people try to reach