Essay on Developmental Changes

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Harvey Mudd College
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It is usually natural to consider that the most dramatic developmental changes occurred during the years of early childhood development or infancy life. As much as that would be true, it is important to consider that important developmental changes can be found throughout the life. A psychologist has been found to consider that development continues from birth to death increasingly. As much as most people would like to discuss the fact that adolescent is the last human development, there have been other scholars who have regarded the development of an entire human life. Using Erickson and another theorist, this paper will consider one developmental stage, and the issue is revolving around the transitioning from one stage to another. The discussion will also deal with a discussion on how character experience on the issue of stage development is negotiated in a film of To Kill a Mockingbird.'


One would assume the fact that adolescent is a very difficult period of life whereby the individuals in that stage end up being highly stressed and moody. It is not a secret that adolescent stage allows one to cope with enormous changes in lifestyle some being in sexual behavior following puberty while others have to change their social life so as to fit in in a type of society or peer group (Newman & Newman, 1995). The adolescent is a developmental stage in which most decision in life has to be made, and a stage where decisions in the future are made and examination are decided on when and how to be taken. The adolescent stage cannot be determined by the age as most individuals enter and leave the stage years earlier or late than others. Some people who are 20-21 years old have been seen to exhibit some signs of an adolescent even if they are not in their teenage years.

Erikson and Developmental stage

Erikson was a psychoanalytically oriented theorist whose idea on adolescent emanated from his observation of the emotionally disturbed adolescents who attended his sessions. Erikson argued the fact that adolescent stage experience what he called identity diffusion (Newman & Newman, 1995). The fact on identity diffusion was stipulated to mean that it was a feeling of being at home with ones body, having an inner assuredness, of anticipated recognition and knowing where one is going.

Most adolescents find it hard to carry out the emotions development since they have been undergoing frequent social and biological changes and the fact that they have to make some major decisions in their lives as a result. Adolescent faces an identity crisis because it is at this moment that transition happens from childhood into a young adult where curiosity is on the verge of explosion (Newman & Newman, 1995). In most cases, the adolescent tries to find out who they are or even where they are going. Erikson argued that adolescent thinks about themselves in the manner like, I am not what I ought to be or I am not what I am going to be and other identity speculations and understanding.

According to Erikson, it is important for the adolescent to undergo identity crisis so as they can resolve the identity issue and finally understand themselves. The experience of adolescent tends to have four components which are Intimacy, diffusion of time, diffusion of industry and negative identity (Newman & Newman, 1995). Erikson claimed that adolescent could last for several years, but the identity crisis could last for several years. For the transition to occur and an adolescent stage is left, the identity crisis has to be solved.


Maria Montessori identified developmental stages especially in adolescent and she identified that transition of adolescent requires social consciousness since it is the development of personality. According to her, the representation is a form of self-awareness and concern which is the fact that they undergo a societal role (Montessori, 2002). Montessoris curriculum which is known as earth children indicates that there is no time for the children to be at their academic prime whereby children are developmentally ready to broaden their range of experience within a community (Montessori, 2002). She identifies that the transition from an adolescent stage to the adult stage is a crucial period since one is entitled to move from a child who has to live with her family to a man or a woman who has to live in society.

To kill a Mocking Bird

The film is written in the context of an exploration of the moral nature of the human being. It also explores whether people are fundamentally good or evil or it is barely the transition that they undergo that makes them have their personality (To kill a Mockingbird, 1962). The whole film dramatizes the character Scout and Jem into their transition from an innocence perspective of childhood in which they are naive enough to think that all people good since they have never seen evil to an adult perspective whereby it dawn on them that the world has all kind of people and they end up confronting evil (To kill a Mockingbird, 1962). The portrayal of transition from innocence to experience is what guides Robinson, Tom and Boo Radley who are not prepared to face evil and when they finally encounter it, they are not ready to fight, and as a result, they are destroyed in the process.

Scout being unusual in both her qualities and social position, she is confident and unusually thoughtful where he worries about the evil of humanity. Her social identity is being a Tom boy, and she is that way due to how her father raised her. The film first introduces a blameless lovable child who has got no experiences with the evils of the world (To kill a Mockingbird, 1962). Scout was only five and tough. As she encounters the wickedness of social prejudice, it is clear that her conscience and optimism are hurt and bruised, and she learns that humanity has a capacity for good and also evil. Her perspective of life develops from an innocent child to a near grown-up one indicating that transition and development depend on experience and the world consciousness.

Jem who is scout brother is a typical boy who knows how to isolate himself as early as four years old, and he refuses to back down from his hobby which is playing football. He remains to be Scout protector, and even at a very young age, he does not neglect his responsibility (To kill a Mockingbird, 1962). Tom experienced a trial when he was entering puberty, a time when a life is complicated and traumatic. The fact that he was disillusioned about seeing how justice is handled leaves him vulnerable and confused at a time when he needs more formative assurance in his life. He can finally learn some positive outcome from the trial indicating that he has identified his purpose and the world maneuvers.


With the issue of development and transition, it is eminent that individual recognizes that they are all stages which occur gradually and people should not force one to go to the next stage. Just as the film indicated, the identity of oneself and what surrounds him or her occurs as a result of experience and exposure.


Montessori, M. (2002). The Montessori method. Mineola, N.Y: Dover Publications.

Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (1995). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Pacific Grove, Calif: Brooks/Cole.

To kill a Mockingbird. (1962). California.a

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