What's Eating Gilbert Grape

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“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape:” Happiness

“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” directed by Lasse Hallström is a movie where the main character Gilbert Grape, who is casted by Johnny Depp, is struggling to find happiness in his life. The only things that are keeping Gilbert happy is his love for his mentally challenged brother Arnie Grape, casted by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his physically challenged mother Bonnie Grape, casted by Darlene Cates. Then suddenly a chain supermarket opens up across the street from the store that employs Gilbert. This new supermarket is causing stress and instability in Gilbert's life, because he is nervous that this supermarket will close the store and he will no longer have a job. Then Gilbert begins to have an affair …show more content…

They are worried about if they are going to be eventually even taken out of business by this store across the street when they get a delivery call from a local woman in the town named Betty Carver, who is still one of the few regulars at the store. Gilbert took the delivery and drop it off at this woman's house then proceeded inside and had an affair with this woman. In my opinion one of the main reasons that Gilbert took the delivery and proceeded to have an affair was due to the fact that he was so worried about the store potentially getting wiped out by the supermarket, that he tried to generate artificial happiness for himself and he did this by going and having an affair with Betty. In the article “A Critique of Positive Psychology” Schoch explains that some researchers had concluded that “sex, no surprise, makes everyone feel better” (Schoch, 451). This all shows that Gilbert was trying to use sex to become happy, and to stop worrying and stressing about the big supermarket. Sex may have made him happy at that particular moment of time, but it failed to give him overall …show more content…

Ernie, the mentally challenged brother, was also chasing after happiness. One thing though, since Ernie did have a mental disability, his way of chasing happiness may seem strange or weird to us, but in his mind they were things that made him happy. One example of this is when Ernie would run away from Gilbert and climb up the water tower. Even though Ernie would get in trouble by not only Gilbert but also law enforcement he would still keep doing it. This shows that in Ernie’s mind happiness and pleasure trumps authority. We may not think it is fun to risk our lives by climbing hundreds of feet up into the air, but for Ernie this was something that gave him pleasure, just like Gilbert got pleasure out of having an affair with Betty. This brings me to my next point of not everyone has the same definition of what happiness is. This is exactly what Mark Kingwell is pointing out in the article “In Pursuit of Happiness.” He explains that happiness can be described as doing something that makes you feel good. Gilbert made himself feel good by having an affair, Ernie by running away and climbing up the water tower. Some people also gain happiness by simply having authority over someone. Bonnie, the overweight mother is one of those people. She gets happiness from sitting on the couch eating food and watching TV, while telling Gilbert how to raise Ernie, because she is too overweight to do so herself. The catch with

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