The Bucket List: Erik Ericikson's Psychosocial Stages

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The Bucket List (2007) focuses on the last months in the lives of two cancer patients brought together by fate and united to take a final journey. The two characters couldn’t be more different: Carter is married, has three children and grandchildren who surround him with their love and care. Although very bright and well-read, Carter had to give up his dream of becoming a history teacher when his wife got pregnant with their oldest son and took a job as a mechanic to support his growing family instead. In contrast, Edward is a successful businessman who actually owns the hospital where they both are patients. He was married and divorced four times and has a daughter who resents him. Moreover, Edward is a cut-throat businessman who treats his …show more content…
According to Erickson, there are eight life stages from infancy until late adulthood and each one is characterized by distinguished psychosocial events. In Erickson’s view development continues throughout the life span and a person needs to solve a crisis at each stage to attain a healthy personality. Furthermore, conflicting possibilities and outcomes characterize each crisis that needs to be solved. The first crisis, “trust versus mistrust”- birth to one year, is based on the reliability of care and affection the baby receives from the primary caregiver, while the next three crises, “autonomy versus shame”- one to three years, “initiative versus guilt”- three to six years, and “industry versus inferiority”- six to twelve years, rely on the ability of caretakers to support and encourage children to develop a sense of independence, social skills, and acquire culturally valued abilities. The four stages mentioned above constitute the groundwork for adult personality. The fifth stage, “identity role versus confusion”- twelve to eighteen years-, represents the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. At this stage, adolescents need to assess their identities and desired roles in order to avoid confusion, reach sexual maturity and occupational identity. Next stage, “intimacy versus isolation”- eighteen to thirty years- depends on the outcome of the identity crisis: if the young adult has a clear identity, he will experience intimacy, otherwise his relationships are going to be weak and will experience isolation (Boyd, 2015). Analyzing the factors that contribute to a negative outcome for this stage, Edward Cole did not successfully resolve the “intimacy versus isolation” crisis and is now a lonely middle-aged man who was

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