An Analysis of the Characters From the Films What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Black Balloon That Achieve Personal Growth by Taking Risks

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The risks we make throughout our life are essential for growth. Les Brown once said, ‘Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. From the hard decisions we undertake to the difficulties we face. These problems prompts us to take risks in our life. Hence allowing us to learn from our success or mistakes, thus growing maturely and physically. Films “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’, ‘Black Balloon’ both illustrates the growth of the characters by the risks the characters accept. Ultimately, all the means of risks that one takes throughout their life helps them to grow.

Learning and discovering new things needs risks. There is always an element of risk when trying something new, otherwise why would we not do it. Although taking risks may bring failure, living without risks will not bring growth throughout your life and result in always living below your potential. For example, family therapist, Michael Ungar says, ‘to grow, we need to experience challenges-whether we’re 4, 14, or 40.”

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In ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Gilbert’s mother, Bonnie, who has not entered into the public for several years due to her weight, leaves the house to collect Arnie from the police station after he was held in police custody. This scene in the movie, displays the risk taking Bonnie made in order to save her son even though she received great attention and embarrassment from the public, as they are astonished by her size. Therefore, by taking the cliché, ‘You learn from your mistakes, risk taking enables people to learn and discover by going out of one’s comfort zone, thus growing.

Risk-taking helps develop relationships and expand your worldview. The anxiety of starting new relationships or expressing your viewpoints on different things is a sentimental feeling that many possess. However, overcoming these doubts can bring relationships from starting a conversation with a person you have just met to proposing to your girlfriend; these all are risks that could bring negative or positive responses.

Furthermore, everyone has his or her own viewpoints or opinions. People, who are able to express their unique opinions, insights and also learn from other’s viewpoints, are the ones who are able to make the most of their life, hence growing by developing new views that they weren’t able to realise without taking risks.

In ‘Black Balloon,’ Jackie risks her reputation by befriending Charlie, who is mentally troubled, but consequently she was able to form a relationship with him and also expanded her worldview by showing her the side of the mentally troubled people in this world. Ultimately, taking risks help us grow through the new relationships we form and the expansion of our worldview.

To reach our dreams, to follow our passions and to find what we want, risks need to be made. Many successful or influential people all faced difficulties requiring risk taking to reach their status they have now. For example, Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in the world, dropped out of a prestigious college to follow his dreams, to develop a computing software company, consequently being the world’s biggest software company.

In addition, in ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,’ Gilbert experiences the dilemma of either burning the house where his perished mother lays or to remove his mother with a crane. Nevertheless, he burns the house, ultimately he takes this risk due to his desire to not make his mother a joke; by doing this he grew and learnt how important his family is, subsequently he found what he wanted, therefore finally saying at the end of the movie,’ We can go anywhere if we want to.” With failure being the main obstacle of risk taking, if one can overcome the fear of failure, they can grow throughout their life, nonetheless taking risks are essential for growth as it helps us reach our dreams or to follow our passions and desires.

Taking risks helps us experience new things, create new relationships, expand our worldview, help us reach our dreams and to follow our passions, as shown in films, ‘Black Balloon’ and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.’ Therefore, taking risks benefit us in many ways; ultimately taking risks are essential for us to grow.

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An Analysis of the Characters From the Films What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Black Balloon That Achieve Personal Growth by Taking Risks. (2022, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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