WEGG Question #18 - Acting Out

by Peter Hedges

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:02 pm

Parlez wrote: Anyway, I'm a big believer in the use of the 'symbolic gesture' ~ it's makes the point sooo much better than words can (especially when nobody's listening to you) and it's very satisfying on an internal level. I don't see it as immature at all, though I tend to have a different definition of those labels than others. To me, it's funny, harmless*, and deeply empowering. It's a 'gotcha!' that can't be beat!


These symbolic gestures rather go along with his dry sense of humor inside his head.

gemini wrote:I think I'll look at this another way since you all covered the obvious reasons pretty well. Young boys need a father. Gilbert is 24 years old which is bit old for some of his behavior.
I think the fact that his father died caused more problems for him than just grieving over his death. Larry was 10 years older and left the family not long after Alberts death because he was of age. That meant Gilbert from about 7 or a little older was the only male in the family besides Arnie. This left him with no male influence from a pretty young age. He had no one to bond with or replace his father. He did try to take on responsibility but was still immature for his age.


Gemini, good point. And he never really got to be a kid. He had to grow up too quickly.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Lady Jill
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:30 pm
Location: Dead Man's Pass near Reno, NV
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby Lady Jill » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:24 pm

While I agree with many about Gilbert's immaturity my take on his actions is that they are coming from his dark side. I believe we all have a dark side, a balance of the light, and that we just hope when it shows its face we don't hurt anyone. A dark side isn't bad, right or wrong, its just there and if one is brave enough ( think The Brave ) to go into it, there could be a huge learning experience.

I think Gilbert's dark side was there all along. Among other things Johnny was probably attracted to this part of Gilbert. And Gilbert then allowed that side of him to go beyond, pushed to the edge, with his encounter with Arnie running from him. ( Arnie running from his darkness! ).

Lady Jill
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."

User avatar
Red Shoes
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:39 pm
Location: Australia

Status: Offline

Unread postby Red Shoes » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:32 pm

I don't think Gilbert was any more immature than most 24-yr-old men. I think generally in the early/mid twenties men are only just breaking out of teenage childishness. Most I know from recent years have moments of maturity and moments of immaturity, about equally divided.

Add to that normal life-stage the fact that he was forced from a young age to "act" mature and it's not at all surprising to see him acting out at all the frustration he deals with.

I agree with what Parlez said about symbolic actions being very empowering in a way. I wasn't at all offended by the peeing on the grave because there was no one there to be upset by it (I believe the respect owed to those passed on is more about respecting the grief of those that loved them), but for Gilbert it was a process of finally having his say about the hurt that woman caused him.

The driving over the lawn chair I thought was fantastic because it was a little picture of what Gilbert goes through pretty much every day. He is so angry and frustrated and all bottled up inside that he just really wants to hurt someone, to make someone pay - but he doesn't. So much of life for him seems to be about wanting to express his frustrations, but not doing it. Besides, the person I think he would like to act out at died 17 years ago... which of course only adds to tthe endless circle of frustration.

And I also agree with Linda Lee saying they show Gilbert does have emotion after all - as much as he tried to deny his feelings or pretend that he can cope with anything, these little moments reveal that, just like anyone, he's human and can't cope. His head will explode if he doesn't release some of the emotion.

I think I've repeated a lot of what people already said. Oh well.
"It's good to be different."

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:56 pm

Red Shoes, it's okay to repeat. Everyone has a slightly different spin on their answers and we enjoy reading them all! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 29137
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:32 pm

I agree with those who say symbolic actions can have great personal meaning and can be very empowering. I was not offended by Gilbert peeing on the grave......I think it was cleansing and healing for him.....maybe his teacher didn't fully realize what she had done to him, maybe she was a good person who did the best she could, I would like to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, the wet pants episode was one small incident in her long teaching life .....but for Gilbert this was a ritual of healing, and he was the living one who had to go on.

I also agree that he would not really have hurt Ellen but he needed to make a point with her.

I cheered inside when he left the cup! On some level he cared for Mrs Betty and he knew what Mr Carver was doing was hurtful to her. Leaving a sign that Mr Carver had been "found out" was wonderful! I loved it! You go, Gilbert! :bounce: One of his best moments in my opinion.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:01 am

nebraska wrote:I agree with those who say symbolic actions can have great personal meaning and can be very empowering. I was not offended by Gilbert peeing on the grave......I think it was cleansing and healing for him.....maybe his teacher didn't fully realize what she had done to him, maybe she was a good person who did the best she could, I would like to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, the wet pants episode was one small incident in her long teaching life .....but for Gilbert this was a ritual of healing, and he was the living one who had to go on.

I also agree that he would not really have hurt Ellen but he needed to make a point with her.

I cheered inside when he left the cup! On some level he cared for Mrs Betty and he knew what Mr Carver was doing was hurtful to her. Leaving a sign that Mr Carver had been "found out" was wonderful! I loved it! You go, Gilbert! :bounce: One of his best moments in my opinion.


I'm with ya, Nebraska. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
dharma_bum
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Villa Incognito

Status: Offline

Unread postby dharma_bum » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:36 am

Gilbert’s acting out validated for Gilbert the sort of rebellious and cynical person he thought he should be, because, as suec said, no one was listening. Becky was more interested in messing with his mind than hearing what was on it. Tucker was too dim and the rest of the Grapes… narcissistically dysfunctional. They talked at rather than to one another.
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp


Return to “What's Eating Gilbert Grape”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests