Bull Meechum: A Marine in War and in Peace.

Essay by RTShacklefordUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2005

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"The Great Santini" is a film that centers on Bull Meechum, a Marine fighter pilot, and his family, particularly his son Ben. Bull's career is of great importance in this film because it affects literally every aspect of Bull's interpersonal relationship with his family. His social role as a soldier is indistinguishable from his role as a father, "conditioning" his children the same as his subordinate pilots. The fault in this method is that the children's response to the stimuli is quite different from the intention, which Bull's wife Lillian usually brings to light. Through direct definitions and identity scripts, Bull and Lillian try to shape the children's self-concepts, which conflict with what they see as the norm through social comparison. The lack of distinction between Bull's roles as an officer and as a father set the tone for how they feel about and interact with one another through the three general dimensions of relationship meaning.

First, I would like to discuss the impact of the three dimensions of relational meanings that Bull Meechum communicates to his family because this forms an expectation in the way the family interprets Bull's communication towards them, and the way that they interact with him. In terms of responsiveness and affection, Bull is sometimes conflicting, but it is the dimension of power or control that Bull focuses on for communication. I believe that this is because control is how he "gets his point across" in the Marines. The degree of responsiveness that Bull communicates to his family is not necessarily low, but he is much more involved with Ben than he is with his other children. The responsiveness Bull communicates also displays the 'I-It' relationship he usually has with his children. For example, Mary Ann desperately tries to get Bull to respond...