Analyzing Depictions of Family Life
Our families have great influence on how we perceive life. In most cases, people interact with different family setups, especially those of neighbours, and friends. Learning institutions like schools and colleges also expose people to other family settings. The media also influences how the society views marriage and family life. This is mainly through television programs, magazines, films, books and comic strips among others. Notably, families and family life form a significant element of the popular media. Harries argues that the media produces messages in mass, which depict media word characteristics, stemming from the society’s institutional needs, policies and personal interests (87). Though there are varying media channels, which propagate these influential messages, critical features about families and family life transcend these channels of the popular media. Moreover, societal cultures further define people’s stance on family and marriage. In this analysis, we shall focus on the impact of movies on family life and marriage. To achieve this, we shall draw from themes in FireProof, marriage movie that highlights some of the challenges in marriage.
Fireproof shows family life by capturing core challenges that married people endure to experience a happy life. Most of these challenges revolve around trust, care, unity, hate, love and divorce. The movie stars a heroic fire fighter, Captain Caleb, whose marriage and relationship is on the rocks. He accepts his father’s challenge, of experimenting marriage in forty days. Using The Love Dare, a marriage and family guidebook that offers wisdom to married couples on remaining committed to the family regardless of the challenges. The book stars Kirk Cameron as Caleb and Erin Bethea as Catherine. At work, Caleb maintains a fire fighter’s slogan, ‘Never leave your partner.’ Despite this, Caleb lives by his rules at home, in the face of his strained family. After seven years of marriage, the two are world apart that Catherine regrets getting married. This is because; they are unable to understand their challenges at place of work. This marks the genesis of endless squabbles about their finances, careers, house chores and divergent interests (Star Pulse).
From the movie, it is clear that a family may comprise of people who relate because of birth, say Caleb and Catharine and their parents. Additionally, the union between Caleb and Catherine depicts how family members relate because of marriage. Fireproof brings out love, trust and understanding as the pillars of marriage. The movie captures different families, experiencing varying challenges. Caleb’s marriage lacks love, trust and understanding. The two do not care about each other, which forms the basis of their endless arguments and drifting apart. This force the two to file divorce and opt to call it quits despite being married for seven years. Caleb’s father intercepts at the right time and salvages the marriage of his son from the dogs. In contrast, Caleb’s parents are in a mature relationship, anchored on love, understanding and care. From these family scenarios, the movie brings out how family challenges should help couples bond and overcome the obstacles and not breaking up baselessly (Star Pulse).
Throughout the movie, Caleb plays a significant role in nurturing family relationships. He is passionate about his job as a firefighter and saves many people in fire disasters. Moreover, he is an aggressive and independent man who offers help to not only his family but also parents. While this is the case, Caleb ignores the needs of her wife, putting the marriage on the verge of collapsing. The movie also brings out the bond between children and their parents, giving crucial lessons. Nonetheless, Caleb and his mother are at loggerheads as the son fills that the mother does not care about his tribulations. For this, Caleb finds solace in his father, who offers encouragement and support to mend the ailing marriage. Caleb represents normal men in marriages who despite challenges remain hard working, determined and career-minded (Star Pulse). With the help of the father, Caleb embarks on a tough journey of winning back Catherine’s heart, who is working on a divorce. It clearly follows that communication and commitment are the pillars of a marriage.
Caleb’s father, John plays a key role as a parent in saving his son’s marriage. Even though John appears to enjoy his relationship with the wife, it emerges that they two experienced trying moments before discovering the secrets of a happy marriage. During their tough days, Caleb’s mother was at the centre of finding a solution by introducing her husband to face-based marriage principles. This is why John takes up the responsibility of saving his son’s marriage, using rather unusual challenge. The forty-day journey of The Love Dare is undoubtedly the last shot in saving the rocky marriage (Star Pulse). Caleb accepts the challenge but takes a second thought after discovering the task was tied to his parents’ newfound faith. Caleb finally embarks on the challenge, even though Catherine gives it a deaf ear, assuming her husband’s efforts to win her back. The relationship between John and his son denotes the role of fathers in families as mentors. It is the role of parents to ensure that their children have good and comfortable life and fulfilling marriages.
Fireproof presents a family in a manner relating to existing families and sociological processes. From a sociological perspective, a family is an institution through different sociological views. In most cases, family cultures have a bearing on family structures and processes. For instance, sex, gender, age, race and ethnicity have impact on these processes. Additionally, sociological stances further give an overview on demographic attributes of family member in different cultures, portraying numerous changes, which have occurred over time. Fireproof, brings out different perspectives and disparities in terms of age, race, ethnicity, and demographic patterns (James 25).
The movie also captures relationship preference, which encompasses essential aspects of family relationships including coupling stages, like courtship, engagement, cohabitation, and marriage (Williams, Stacey and Carl 52). It further involves relationships between married couples, parenting and divorce. Throughout the movie, parenting revolves around socialization of children, the role of parents, single and foster parenting and the role of children. For example, Caleb and Catherine vividly show the role of children and parents in defining the family structure. The movie also acknowledges the role of the extended members of the family like grandparents and close relatives. Separation and divorce cases also feature prominently in the movie, a worrying trend, which has dominated recent decades (James 23). Furthermore, the movie shows how other institutions like careers, religion and education affect family relationships. For example, Caleb’s parents use their newfound faith to save the ailing marriage, averting divorce that was imminent.
In summary, mass media remains a key channel that portrays family life. Through media messages, it is possible it is possible to understand the family concepts. Common mass media channels include movies, televisions, films, books, magazines or comic strips. Fireproof depicts family, marriage and relationships in the society. From the movie, a family is a group of people who relate because of marriage or birth. Fireproof emphasizes the need for love, understanding and trust for a marriage to stand the rocks (Forbes 96). Based on sociological point of view, a family denotes a socialization unit, depicting race, age, ethnicity, relationship preferences and demographic attributes.
Forbes, Scott. A Natural History of Families. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.
Harris, Christopher. The Family and Industrial Society. London: George Allen Unwin, 2003. Print.
James, Anthony. “The Family and the Psychoanalytic Process in Children.” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 35 (2008): 3-34. Print.
Star Pulse. Fireproof Summary. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. http://www.starpulse.com/Movies/Fireproof/Summary/
Williams, Brian, Stacey Sawyer and Carl Wahlstrom. Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships. Boston, MA: Pearson, 200
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