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Analysis of the Film the Notebook Using Social Psychological Theories

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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES IN LATE ADULTHOOD

ASHLEE N. HAZELWOOD

STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT LIFESPAN

PROFESSOR: DR. SHERI CHEJYK

NOVEMBER 11, 2012

Analysis of the film The Notebook using Social Psychological Theories

The Notebook is a movie that gives us a bittersweet insight into the lives of an elderly married couple. The movie begins in a nursing home where an older gentleman is reading to an elderly woman who we later figure out is Noah and Allie. Allie the main character is afflicted with Alzheimer's and Noah who we later find out is Allies husband, is reading to her the story of their love. With Alzheimer's, at first, recent memory is the most impaired, but as serious disorientation sets in, recall of distant events and such basic facts as time, dates and places evaporates (Berk, pg. 458). We find out that Noah is force to make the decision and place Allie in a nursing home. And because he cannot bear the thought of leaving her side, chooses to live at the nursing home as well. Among aging, dementia-especially Alzheimer's disease-most often leads to nursing home placement (Berk, pg. 462). Even though Allie is in the Alzheimer's unit at the nursing home Noah still bears the burden as her caregiver. Dementia caregivers devote substantially more time to caregiving and experience more stress than do people caring for elders with physical disabilities (Alzheimer's Association, 2009)(Berk, pg. 460).

With the disease being in its advanced stages, her brain ceased to process information, and she can no longer recognize objects and familiar people (Berk, pg. 458) giving her no recollection of family members or her life in general. Her husband Noah, whom she also does not recognize, reads to her daily from a journal she had wrote in the beginning stages of her disease of the wonderful life they shared hoping to regain a few moments of their life together, however Allie believes it to be story about another couple. I believe they have reached the last and final stage of Erikson's theory integrity verses despair. At this point I believe Noah has come to terms with his life, arriving at a sense of integrity feeling whole, complete, and satisfied with his achievements, adapting to inevitable triumphs and disappointments and realizing that the paths they had followed, abandoned, and never selected were necessary for fashioning a meaningful life course (Berk, pg .474). And although the doctors express there is little chance of her remembering, every once in a while she does, but only for a few minutes and then it's gone and the severity of the disease is shown by the state of confusion Allie is thrown back into. Having to witness these abrupt and aggressive behaviors, are not only devastating, but place an enormous amount of stress on Noah. As the disease progresses doctors prescribe a mild sedative and an antidepressant to help to control her behavior. Drugs that increase levels of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin show promise in limited challenging dementia symptoms-especially agitation and disruptive behaviors, which are particularly stressful for caregivers (Berk, pg. 460). Although the occasions when Allie does regain her memory are growing more limited, Noah continues his daily readings in hopes that he may enjoy even a few moments where Allie comes back to him.

When their children arrive at the nursing home for a visit, Allie doesn't recognize any of them. They plead with their father to come home, that the disease has progressed too far for her to remember and that they wanted him to come home with them. Noah refuses saying that she is the love of his life and he will never leave her side.

During the progressed stage of Alzheimer's there is much emotional and physical stress in loved ones as they watch their loved one become more frustrated, forgetful and confused. The more the disease progresses the more heartbroken Noah becomes. Due to the amount of stress that is placed on Noah with the decline in Allies condition, Noah suffers a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. When he returns to the nursing home Allies condition has worsened. Noah sneaks into Allies room at night while she is sleeping. He softly wakes her and she recognizes him and tells him that she didn't know if she would ever see him again, and shares her fears of not remembering him, Noah tells her he will never leave her again. She asks him if he thought their love was strong enough to take them together, and Noah replied, "I think our love can do anything we want is to." They lie in each other's arms and fall asleep. In the morning when the nurse comes in to check on Allie she discovers they had passed away in each other's arms.

Unfortunately I know firsthand how devastating Alzheimer's can be not only on an individual, but on the family as well. My grandfather was diagnosed with this horrific disease four years ago and it has been one of the most difficult times for my grandmother and our family. Although the movie doesn't give a true depiction of the disease itself or the many challenges individuals afflicted with the

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