Biolgoical influences, as defined by Lundahl and Hull (2015), “…include genetics, the nervous system, physical health, neurological functioning, and disease” (p. 3). The patterns of physical health, disease and potential genetics are shown throughout the movie. In regard to physical health, Joe’s parents were in an abusive relationship, verbally and potentially physically. One example of this is when Joe’s parents are fighting; Joe comes home to every record shattered by his father, Joe’s brother witnessed the incident and told Joe that it was their father. Another aspect of physical health is Joe’s father physically hurting him. In the scene where Joe’s father is intoxicated, he slaps Joe in the face and doesn’t address the concern later. This scene shows that this most likely is not the first occurrence, as he cowards down to his father in most situations. In regard to disease and potential genetics, Joe’s father has addiction issues with cigarettes and alcohol. Being that alcoholism and addiction can be genetic, and Joe smoking several times at a young age throughout the movie, proves that addiction could be a potential issue for Joe growing up.
The alcoholism was a primary focus in the movie, showing that the family dynamic was very strained and unhealthy. Joe’s father physically hurting him created a divide in the family, where it mostly was Joe and his brother, along with their mother, against their father. Joe’s mother was gone working and didn’t have a trusted adult that supervised him, so him and his brother were on their own. As Joe and his brother grew up, the family issues could become cyclical, where now Joe is taking after his father and drinking excessively, potentially physically hurting other members of the family.
In the movie, Joe doesn’t have any support from his father, his teachers, or his classmates. In the first scene, Joe is forced to tell the class what his father does at Career Day, even after attempting to lie several times in fear of humility, his teacher forces him to say it out loud and eventually is laughed at. Their lack of access to food shows that his family lives in poverty and might not be as attended to because of this. Joe doesn’t know any other life, so he seems to be in constant fight-or-flight mode, whether it be in school, relationships, or access to food.
Lundahl, B. W., & Hull, G. H. (2015). Applied human behavior in the social environment. Boston, MA: Pearson.
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