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Published:April 30th, 2007 04:41 EST
Rainman and Its Stereo Types

Rainman and Its Stereo Types

By Peter Giordano

There are many stereotypes of what the average family consists of.  However, the family in Rainman is far from the typical family.  Some families consist of two parents, two children, and a dog.  Some families get along great and have close relationships with one another.  And some families may actually be like the Babbitt`s.  Although Charlie, Sanford, and even Raymond are part of the same family ", the only real connection is blood.  Had Sanford let Raymond into Charlie`s life, they may have had a much closer relationship. Charlie doesn`t consider himself to have much of a family and Raymond becomes close with those living in his home.  Even though Raymond is not related to these people by blood, they take care of him and act as if they are. But, once Charlie is reunited with his brother, he does truly care and want to be there for him.

The communication process in Rainman is much different from the average family as well.  If Charlie didn`t end up leaving his home when he was so young, his father may have reconnected Raymond with him.  But, even when Sanford did try and get in touch with his son, Charlie never returned his calls.  He assumed that he was still the same man he was when he left him many years ago.  Part of why Charlie acts the way he does later on in the movie is because of what he learned from his father. This is why when Charlie first meets Raymond, he`s very impatient with him and only wants one thing; money. Charlie has a hard time connecting and communicating with his brother but that is only because he had no interest in doing so.  All he could think about was his job and money but once he got beyond all of this he was able to have a much closer relationship with his brother.  No, they didn`t have the relationship that many brothers have with one another but in a way, they were both helping one another out.

There are various internal boundaries in the Babbitt family that are extremely unclear which has undoubtedly resulted in disengagement between the three remaining family members.  Although Charlie was having problems with his father long before he crossed the boundaries that his father had, that is what caused him to do the extreme; leave home. Within their family system boundaries were placed almost out of spite. Sanford kept very important aspects of Charlie`s life from him, such as his brother for instance. This eventually affected Charlie even more so later on in life than it did while he was going up in his house.

There are many conflicts that need to be resolved involving Charlie.  However, Charlie does not know how to solve any problems or conflicts.  He instead ends up pushing whoever the conflict deals with out of his life.  It was not until he reunited with Raymond again that he began to realize this. He realizes that he can`t be by himself forever and that he needs to share relationships with others who truly care about him.  He finally got over how his father treated him as a child and was able to move on in his life.

If Charlie hadn`t represented emotional cutoff, the movie Rainman would not exist. Charlie expressed his feelings and beliefs about how he was being treated by his father by leaving his house at a very young age. Before even leaving his house, he tried many things, such as; bring his report card with straight A`s and being a good student in every way possible.  Even though he ended up leaving home, all of his problems were not solved.  It was obvious that he was still emotionally connected to the past relationship with his father and what had come between them after his return home.

Because Charlie`s mother died when he was much younger, it appears that Sanford may be placing his grief for his wife on Charlie, which is known as the family projection process. Sanford took pride in many things, including his car and prized rose bushes.  He wanted to have things in his life after his wife died that meant a lot to him but he didn`t want Charlie to be one of them. Although it is not an excuse for Sanford to have this estranged relationship with his son, it very well could be part of the reason.

Charlie never had a very intimate relationship with anyone as a child and if so, not for long. Although he wanted to have a relationship with his father and tried his best to make him proud, this isn`t always possible with some families.  Because of this and how he was treated by those who were supposed to be close with him, he had a hard time being close with his significant other, Susanna.  This is known as the multigenerational transmission process.  Thankfully, Raymond is able to change Charlie into someone who has a heart and cares about more people than just himself.

Once again, trust plays a major role in the issues that this family has.  Although Sanford most likely would have been able to prevent this, it`s not always possible in every family.  Who knows, if Charlie would have stuck around and dealt with the relationship that he and his father had, things could have ended up much worse.

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