Table of contents
- Theoretical Perspectives
- Sociological Imagination
- Sociological Concepts
- Research Methods
The movie directed by Sean Anders ‘Instant Family’ is about a married couple – Pete and Ellie. At the beginning of this movie one of Ellie’s sister’s mentions the fact that Pete and Ellie had no children. Pete and Ellie never over thought that, they have never even tried to have kids yet. The same day Ellie went on an adoption website and began to get emotional when she saw the children and how in need they were for a family. She showed her husband until he also got convinced and shortly after that, they headed to an adoption center. They learned a lot about foster children and went to a required training for people who want to adopt children. At last, the training ended and they were on a search for the child they wanted. They decided on a teenage girl they met because they thought she seemed different and it attracted her to them. Getting ready to adopt her, the parents found out she came with two younger siblings they had the reputation of the teenager being rebellious, one of younger siblings being too overly sensitive and the youngest girl being a little brat. Pete and Ellie decided to take up the adoption. Trying to raise these children became hard for the couple but they carried through. Toward the mid-end of the movie the real mother of the children appears in the movie and since the eldest girl has more memories with her mother, she was more attached and wanted her mother to take her back. The children and parents had to go to court and because Pete and Ellie had made some parenting mistakes the judge decided it was okay for the children to live with their biological mother. When it was the day when the children had to move in with their mother, she never came to pick her up and the eldest daughter was devastated. Pete and Ellie wanted to show the eldest daughter how much they cared about her and let her know how much they loved her. It took a while for her to realize how much they actually loved her and she went back into the house and they all stayed together as a happy family of five.
Theoretical perspectives are what influences society and the people in society. The three types of theoretical perspectives are symbolic interactionism, functionalism and conflict theory. In the movie ‘Instant Family’, there were many times the movie showed symbolic interactionism. For example, in the first scene of the movie Ellie’s sister was talking to Ellie and Pete on how they didn’t have any kids. In the movie, Ellie’s sister said Ellie gave her husband Pete ‘a look’ as if because of her sister’s comment, Ellie would want to suddenly have kids. This in a way influenced Ellie to look through the website where you can find kids to adopt and throughout most of the movie Ellie’s sister continues to mention the only reason why they adopted kids was to prove a point that they could have kids and they did. Another example in the movie where you see symbolic interactionism is when Pete and Ellie are looking for a child to adopt. At the adoption center Pete and Ellie meet a girl named Lizzy. At first Ellie freaked out because Lizzy was a teenager and people always think teenagers are crazy and do bad or inappropriate things. When Lizzie heard Ellie say this, she confronted the couple to let them know her and all the other teenagers who were hanging out with her were able to hear them. Pete and Ellie were in shock but at the same time they fell in love with the girl and decided to adopt her. When you are a functionalist, you focus mostly on the social structure of society. An example of functionalism in the movie is how they have adoption centers. The government funds adoption centers so the kids could continue to live there while they get adopted, so the parents who adopt children could get money, and so that the employees who are there to take care of the children get paid.
The movie ‘Instant Family’ is a movie that was made in the 21st century so the events that take place in the movie are similar to the events that take place nowadays. Since the time and the place of this movie was near the same time we live in now, you could see similarities of social/cultural context. For example, at the adoption centers you were able to see many same-sex couples that you would not be able to see if this movie would have taken place in a different time. Same-sex marriage has become internalized meaning no one questions it anymore like stated in the Global Impact notes. The times we live in now are a lot about social media and technology and a lot of the times people do most of their things through their phones. Especially in days like today you will notice how people are always talking about how teenagers are always on their phones distracted from everything. A scene in this movie shows the 13-year-old girl talking to a guy on the cellphone her mother gave her and the first time they noticed the girl talking to the guy was when they walked in on her taking nude selfies and sending them to a guy she met at school. Looking at adoption centers today, it is very hard to find a child to be adopted, like in this movie. Adoption centers are so full and there are only so many people are couples who are actually willing to go through all the steps of adoption and welcome a new little human into their home.
The different types of sociological concepts are Marxism, Interactionism, and Functionalism (lecture from Dr. Jovel). Continuing the lecture by Dr. Jovel, each of these sociological concepts have different meanings. Marxism was about communism, Interactionism was the effect your mind and body have on each other, and Functionalism which is “society is a stable whole unit made up of interrelated parts that work together”. The movie talks about suicide, depression and anxiety teens can get as growing up in the foster homes and orphanages. A girl guest speaker went to speak with the parents about how her life when she was in the foster care company and she spoke on how she was using drugs and drinking alcohol and that she was very depressed in foster care which all have to do with social problems. Lately the rates in depression, anxiety and suicide have raised and it all that to do with the social culture and everything going on around you plus events of your daily life. The reason why foster kids are more prone to things like anxiety, depression and suicide is because they have been growing up away from a real family and when put in foster homes, they get put in homes with all kinds of people who could possibly have issues too. Another thing you see in the movie is the way the family changes throughout the movie. At the beginning of the movie, it starts with just Pete and Ellie who are a dyad. As the movie continues the couple adds more people into the family and the family completely changed. Now all the rooms in the house are taken and they are literally raising three children instead of having to take care of themselves. The family now needs more food, needs to buy more groceries, can’t go out like they used to, and they actually have to watch over the children they have decided to take responsibility over.
The research topic I chose for my essay about this movie is adoption. The research method I chose to do for this topic is a questionnaire – an interview. Like all research methods there are pros and cons to this method. Professor Jovel in my Sociology 101A class tells us about the pros and cons to a questionnaire method. The pros would be that it would be “authentic and intimate” and a disadvantage would be that it could be “time consuming”. There are eight steps I need to do to get all the information on adoption centers. The first step is to choose a theme that I have. I chose the topic of adoption. Step number two is to identify the problem. The problem with adoption is that there are not many children being adopted. Step three is to review the literature. I will go to the library and research adoption as much as I can. I will buy books and read reliable sources I can find on the Internet. My hypothesis on adoption is that many children are not being adopted because of how long the process of adoption takes and because people might feel like they are not able to afford adopting a child. The sixth step is to collect data. Now that the research is complete, I can finally go and interview people. The place I would go for this is an adoption center and maybe go into some foster homes and interview the children who are there. I would interview children and teens to see the difference between the ways they think. Other people I would like to interview are the foster parents who are temporarily taking care of the children and the social workers who work with all these people. After interviewing people who do have to do with adoption, I would move on to people who don’t for example random couples I find on the street and ask them if they have ever considered adopting a child and ask them why they would not and I would finally get my results. At last, after getting all my information I would put it together in an essay and share my results on why it is so hard for couples to decide to adopt children. There is one more possible method I would have decided to choose which is a survey. Surveys would be much quicker and I could give them to the same people I chose to interview. One of the downfalls to this is I may not know exactly who took the survey and people may not be completely sincere.
What really put this film together were the emotions the characters feel throughout the movie and how well the movie showed the characters emotions. The couple finally learns to deal with their difficult children and with themselves. One of my favorite scenes from the movie was the ending when Lizzie’s biological mother didn’t go pick her up. This was a sad moment for the girl but when her new parents gave her the letter, they were supposed to read at court she realized how they felt about her. The couple did not adopt children to make themselves look better as Lizzie thought but the couple knew something was missing in their lives and it was the three children they now had and loved with their whole hearts.
This movie and the paper I wrote to go along with it really made me think of sociology and how it truly does focus on all aspects of society. I will now be able to write my autobiography paper because of my understanding of sociology and I will be able to connect sociology in all my aspects of life.