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The Movie About Family Relations: Family Systems Essay

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Updated: Aug 6th, 2019

The movie explains family relations. It is noted that one family member may influence the behavior of others. From the movie, it is evident that the family plays a critical role in the life of an individual since it restrains behavior (Knapp, & Womack, 2003). Agency-structure theory suggests that the individual does not exist freely in society. However, individuals are influenced by the dynamics of society, such as the family.

The movie aims at conveying the purposive nature of human activity as opposed to its constrained aspect. In the movie, it can be observed that social life is largely determined by group life. This would mean the existence of an individual could be explained as an outcome of the structure. From the movie, the family is portrayed as an agent that can either restrain or promote individual behavior.

In a family setup, some forms of interactions usually take place. Family members exchange both material and non-material goods through actions and messages. These exchanges result to interactions, which would take various forms, depending on the nature of the family. Social interactions would sometimes be repetitive and habitual. If interactions become habitual, they might form a certain pattern.

This is referred to as patterned social interaction. In this regard, each family member would be expected to demonstrate certain forms of behavior. In this article, two forms of interactions would be compared. Two major forms of social changes would also be compared, which are the first-order and the second-order change.

In the film, command is used to influence Ana to defer her studies in favor of employment. In the Latino culture, a woman was supposed to help her family immediately she graduates from high school. Ana’s parents issued a command that she had to obey societal rules and assist her mother in undertaking domestic chores. Since it is a traditional society, actors in the movie use command quite often to demand for attention.

Ana’s mother accused her of becoming irresponsible when she decided to quit employment and go back to school. In the film, women do not enjoy societal freedoms since they are supposed to be providers and caregivers. Regarding interactions, content and process interactions exist among family members in the movie.

Content interactions take place when members of the family come together to discuss major problems affecting them. Moreover, family members would come up with suggestions on how to end problems.

In particular, individuals in the family would be required to highlight the causes of problems. In the movie, content interactions are portrayed in many ways. When Ana finishes high school, her parents never hesitate to inform her that the family is facing many problems and she is the only hope (Lee, 1982).

The family agrees that problems would be eliminated if Ana starts working instead of joining college. Content interaction is always the main form of interaction in the backward societies, such as the one portrayed in the movie. There are no clear modes of conflict resolution. On the other hand, process interaction refers to the actions whose main aim is to achieve certain objectives.

Process interaction entails thorough evaluation of a problem before coming up with a solution. In the movie, this form of interaction takes place when Ana is about to go back to school. It is after a critical review of her life that Ana decides to quit employment. The mother is reluctant to give in to Ana’s demands.

Process interaction involves emotions whereby family members express deep concern. Ana’s mother could not see her daughter leave her and she decides to lock herself in a room. Ana is also overwhelmed by emotions when she leaves for Columbia.

Wiener’s cybernetics theory and the systems theory talk about how human beings change over time. Wiener noted that a human being would stretch his or her hand until he or she reaches an object. The theory is used in social sciences to explain the process of change. It means that an individual would not relax until he or she obtains what he or she wants.

In the movie, Ana never gives up on her studies. She always admires female professionals and things that one day she could make it. The theory differentiates between first-order change and second-order change. First-order change means championing for the same thing over several years (Salkovskis, 1996). This is the kind of change advocated by Ana.

She insists that she wants to be a professional woman and believes that this could be achieved through education. First-order change is non-transformational and is reversible. It is reversible because Ana accepts to join the local industry as a casual laborer but decides to quit after some time.

She never needed any information to change her mind implying that first-order change does not need new learning techniques. Second-order change involves accepting the reality due to certain forces. Ana’s father realized that he had to allow her daughter to pursue high education because the world was changing at a faster rate.


Knapp, J. V., & Womack, K. (2003). Reading the family dance: Family systems therapy and literary study. Newark: University of Delaware Press.

Lee, G. R. (1982). Family structure and interaction: A comparative analysis. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Salkovskis, P. M. (1996). Frontiers of cognitive therapy. New York [u.a.: Guilford Press.

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