Sling Blade: Movie Analysis

In the movie Sling Blade, the main character is Karl, a developmentally disabled gentleman that has been in a state run psychiatric hospital for killing his mother and her lover when he was a young boy. The day of his release, he is interviewed by a college newspaper reporter, to which he recounts the brutal murder of his mother and her lover with a sling blade. He goes on to explain that he killed the man because he thought he was raping his mother, but when he figured out that was not the case, he killed his mother as well. When asked if he will kill again, his response is “I don’t reckon I got no reason to kill nobody. Mmm” (Bushell et al. & Thornton, 1997). With the help of the warden, Karl lands a job working at a small engine repair …show more content…
Karl sits there not saying much as two young college reporters check in to interview him. The state has deemed him as being well and he is scheduled to be released soon. The girls are interviewing him about the murders he had committed. The warden informs the girls that Karl is sensitive to having his picture taken, and that he prefers to talk under limited lighting, so the interview takes place in an almost dark room, with Karl basically talking to himself. Karl describes his childhood, where he is kept in a shed in the back, isolated from his family. There are times that he attends school, but the other children are mean to him, so he only goes time to time. While Karl is explaining about his childhood, it becomes apparent to the viewer that Karl has not developed at a normal pace, and that Erikson’s first psychosocial stage, Trust vs. Mistrust, has never really been established. In this stage, which is typically established between birth and 1 year of age, “babies either trust that others will satisfy their basic needs, including nourishment, warmth, cleanliness and physical contact or develop mistrust about the care of others” (Berger, 2014). Karl was cast out to the shed, where he slept in a hole that he had dug in the ground. His mother brought him mustard and biscuits a couple times a week, but there was no real stability …show more content…
Isolation stage. While Karl is not looking for intimate companionship, Frank and Linda fulfill the companionship and love that he needs. Unfortunately, Karl never makes it to the generativity vs. stagnation stage. Linda is dating Doyle, an abusive man that threatens and belittles both Karl and Frank. After one particularly harsh confrontation, Karl asks a friend of Frank and Linda’s to help him out by getting them out of the house for the evening. When nighttime rolls around, Karl is seen standing in front Doyle’s house and sharpening a lawn mower blade. He proceeds to go in the house where Doyle continues to belittle him. Karl calmly asks Doyle how to call the police and then tells him that he is going to kill him. Doyle apparently does not believe him and continues with his sarcastic comments. Karl proceeds to kill Doyle with the lawnmower blade, then calls the police and tells them what he has done and that he will be waiting for them to arrive. The movie ends with Karl back in the asylum, and the same patient rambling on about the women he had abducted and sexually abused. After this patient cracks a cruel joke about Frank, Karl stands up to him and tells him that he never wants to hear another word from

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