Integrative Essay 1


This first section of the class has had three aims:

1.     To think over your own assumptions about the life cycle and human fulfillment,

2.     To acquaint yourself with a screenplay that looks perceptively at issues related to specific life stages, including early childhood and old age,

3.     To become familiar with the basic tenets of Erik Erikson’s developmental theory.  

The present essay assignment gives you the opportunity to further integrate these three activities while showing me that you have effectively done each.


The Assignment:

Part One (70 points):

Compose an essay in which you examine the life and character of Isak Borg (in Bergman’s film script Wild Strawberries) through the lens of Erikson’s developmental perspective.  Address the following question: Has Borg found fulfillment?  Be sure to address this question with respect to Borg’s sense of self, his relationships, and the extent to which he has developed as a human being.  Remember that Bergman uses other characters to develop his picture of Borg.  As you think in Eriksonian terms, be sure to engage the major concepts that we have read about and discussed in class – e.g., generational cycle, developmental crises, virtues, mutuality, etc.  Don’t try to present a summary account of all of the life stages, but do consider early childhood, adulthood, and old age.  Stay very close to the texts.  Be absolutely sure to make reference throughout to specific passages in the screen play and in the Erikson readings.  Use quotation sparingly.


Part Two (30 points):

Review your own assumptions about maturity and fulfillment, as reflected in your exploratory essays (a letter to your children and your old-age reflections on fulfillment) and in our classroom discussions about life-changes since high school.  Develop a set of reflections on how these fit, or do not fit, with Erikson’s assumptions, and how you might answer the above question on Dr. Borg differently than would Erikson.


The essay should be 6 to 10 pages long, double-spaced with 1” margins and 12 pt. font.  It is due in hard copy at 8:00 PM on Monday, in Cole Cinema.  Please do not send the essay to me by email.  In grading the essays, I will consider the specificity and thoroughness with which you treat the screen play, the fullness and accuracy of your use of Erikson’s main ideas, and the care with which you have developed and examined your own thoughts about maturity, fulfillment, and the life cycle.  Please remember that the criteria for grading the interpretive essays are much more rigorous than for the exploratory assignments.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.