Symbolic Interactionism In The Pursuit Of Happiness

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Inspired by a true story, the film The Pursuit of Happiness is about a hardworking salesman and father named Chris Gardner. Throughout the whole movie, you see his journey from being a broke and homeless salesman to a millionaire stockbroker. In the beginning of the movie, his wife Linda, and their son, Christopher, are both introduced and we see that they lived in San Francisco, California. Chris’s occupation was attempting to sell an expensive, portable Osteo National bone-density scanners which he spent all his family’s savings on. From the start, his wife wasn’t too happy about this investment. Later on, Chris finds it more difficult to sell the bone-density scanners which causes the family to be in more trouble and cause financial issues. …show more content…
What symbolic interactionism means is to view society as made up of small scale interactions and its concerned with the meanings people attribute to their actions and interactions (1). Herbert Blumer has three core principles of symbolic interactionism which is: meaning, language, and thought. Meaning is the way people act towards others and the meaning that we are given to those people or things. Language gives us a means by which to negotiate through symbols. Thought modifies our interpretation of symbols (1). Money is the symbol that plays a big role throughout this movie because there is a constant struggle between Chris and his financial state. Not only success would prove happiness to Chris, but also obtaining money from it as well. Money is what motivates him to reach his goal to beat his other competitors since being wealthy was unfamiliar to him. Even with his competitors are already businessmen and more knowledgeable about the stockbroking lifestyle, Chris is still more driven than them because he is the one who is struggling financially. The movie also portrays social stratification which means “relatively fixed hierarchical arrangement in society by which groups have different access to resources, power, and perceived social worth; a system of structured social inequality” (2). Because of the symbols of social stratification, the people who are already involved with the stockbroking environment are typically in the same social class. This makes Chris stand out even more because he doesn’t fit the norm of how a rich person is suppose to dress or the luxury items, cars, or houses a rich person is suppose to have. However, Chris does manipulate his colleagues by making them believe that he is wealthy with certain actions like pretending that he has nice suits, nice cars, and even paying for them. Despite the

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