Isolation Exploitation Compassion Delilah

Significant events

The film focuses on two characters who come together based on a sequence of events, the character in question, Delilah is a young female living with her grandmother in the isolated aborigine heartland that is close to Simpson desert, Australia (Thornton, 2009). Unfolding events force her and Samson, a young man who accompanies her, to flee from their home and live under a bridge far away from home. The young adolescent girl faces violence, death and separation from her loved ones, she also finds love and compassion in Samson through the journey of survival that they undertake together. Delilah is highly creative and earns a living by selling paintings with the help of her grandmother although she eventually dies. Infuriated by her death her relatives beat her up and blame her insisting that she should have taken her to a clinic (Thornton, 2009).

The society is highly isolated and exploitative, a factor that influences Delilah and Samson to move out and look for a better life, as Delilah walks down the alleys of her new home she notices her grandmothers painting selling for more than ten times the price they sold it for. This highlights the exploitative nature present in the society at that time. Delilah is a gentle and compassionate soul who takes good care of Samson and even helps him control his drug addiction. The film paints a bleak picture of the society yet is instrumental in showcasing the hallmarks of development domains in young adolescents. The film also generates insight into a society that faces major challenges especially concerning service delivery within the society’s enclave (Thornton, 2009).


Definition of domain in context to life events

Growth is an irreversible process that can be quantified using well established domains within a person’s lifespan (Boyd, 2015). These domains include, physical, cognitive, emotional, social, language and emotional (Payne, 2017). Delilah is a physically attractive young woman who lives with her grandmother, as a young woman she attracts Samson’s attention where he repeatedly tries to approach her. A young woman in her adolescent stage should showcase physical attributes relating to her gender, this includes physical body changes and emotional changes. Emotional awareness is an important developmental domain since is shows the emotional relationship between people, Delilah shows emotional growth by showing concern for her aging grandmother, she takes care of her up to her demise, more so she takes good care of Samson to a point where she helps him re discover his former self by overcoming his petrol sniffing addiction. Delilah’s character is shaped by the society that she lives in, Social growth relates to the interactions between an individual and other characters within a given environment.

The region surrounding Simpson’s desert is remote and isolated, evidently witnessed by the high poverty levels in her locality. Boredom also plays a key factor as most of the young people are unemployed, a factor that causes Samson to develop a petrol sniffing addiction just to pass time. Given the setting of the film, the levels of service provision are remarkably poor with people like Delilah’s grandmother succumbing to illnesses that can be cured by medical professionals. The society lives in the dry heartland of modern day Australia and interactions with new people is limited, however residents of the village use music and art to create entertainment and pass on knowledge, Samson’s brother is a guitarist and a member of a local band. Social evils like violence and substance abuse are also present within the society as both Delilah and Samson receiving beatings that force them to flee using a stolen community vehicle to a nearby town in search for a new life.

Delilah faces beatings from her relatives who accuse her of causing her grandmothers death, guilt and fear of more physical altercations forces her to leave her home in the company of the young man. Moving into a new home shows the exploitation that takes place within modern society where creative pieces are bought and sold at uneven prices with the least going to the creative mind behind the painting. Delilah is highly intelligent and creative, a factor attached to cognitive development present in growth, the young girl is able to learn and acquire art skills passed down to her by her grandmother. She considers herself a painter and creates wonderful pieces sometimes without her grandmother’s supervision. The decisions she makes throughout the film showcase a highly intelligent mind capable of making conscious decisions on the various challenges on the course of her journey. Her command of the local language also shows growth since she can communicate and articulate her ideas both verbally and on paper, this is the language domain that quantifies growth of an individual.


On a more detailed level we analyze the different developmental domains and how they relate to the life events occurring in Delilah’s life. A young girl living in a poverty stricken environment faces different challenges where she must rely on learnt skills within the course of her life to overcome them. This involves testing and application of all the developmental domains as we look to observe the character’s interaction with different social and psychological hurdles. Delilah shows a simplicity reminiscent of her upbringing, given the remote nature of her society it is clear how this affects her personality (Thornton, 2009). She is soft spoken and conservative of her ideas and thoughts, based on the film, she looks at things critically and makes firm yet sound judgements, for instance, the decision to elope with Samson is both conscious and intentional.

The ramifications of the choice she makes playout within the film and based on her choices she exhibits a good sense of reasoning and sound judgement. Furthermore, it highlights the cognitive awareness that should be present in a young teenager. Her relationship with her sick grandmother shows a character with a deep emotional bond, earlier in the film we can see her pushing her grandmother around the compound given that she can only move by a wheelchair. Interactions with her grandmother alone paint a clear picture of a young adult who is perhaps more mature for her age, this is even more clear when we get to see her reaction after learning of her grandmother’s death where she is overcome by remorse. Samson provides another aspect of emotional growth whereby a young lady meets up with a young aborigine male and they both create an emotional connection that goes on up to the end of the film. She repeatedly cuddles and shows affection to the young man, an indicator of emotional growth since both enjoy a feeling of love and companionship. Furthermore, on moving to a new town she gets to interact with different characters, from which we understand the level of emotional awareness present in the young woman. The society also helps shape the character of the young lady, we can see her hunting for food given that the land is a desert, an indicator that in their society some roles are communal and meant to be shared. Delilah carries a strong mindset instilled to her by the challenges in her society, this mentality helps her navigate through the challenges she faces as she tries to establish herself in an unwelcoming society filled with suspicion and prejudice (Kail, 2018). Her interest to music also plays out to show cultural values instilled to her by her hometown. Her relationship with a local preacher highlights the influence of religion to society. Delilah also shows physical growth as expected of a girl her age, she begins to show interest to boys, an event that does not go unnoticed by her grandmother. She is also physically strong with good coordination of her motor skills, as the film progresses we get to understand the development taking place within the young woman. Her language skills are impeccable as the young lady can expressively share her ideas and opinions with others including a petrol sniffing addict and a homeless man living under a bridge.

We have to understand the various theories associated with developmental domains to better understand the character’s choices and actions (Newman, 2010). Child development theories are a series of opinions that touch on the indicators of growth and development. The theories touch on development domains and help us better understand the different stages of human development (Newman, 2010). Interest in the field started in the early 20th century but was mainly focused on explaining abnormal behaviors in children, this consequently changed as people became more interested in learning more about childhood development.

Theories on childhood development

Freud’s psychosexual theory provides insight on a child’s development where he concludes that development in children occurs in stages, which focus at a child’s erogenous zones (Trawick-Smith, 2010). He insists that energy of the libido causes a conflict instrumental in development, furthermore skipping a stage will cause a development fixation which will affect adult behavior. Freud believed that early stages played a key role in influencing a person’s personality even in the later life. He believes that a child’s personality is largely complete by the age of five years.

John Bowlby suggested a theory better known as the Bowlby’s attachment theory where he states that children are born with a desire to create attachments, he insinuates that these attachments are important to ensure the child gets care and are necessary for survival (Holmes, 2014). These attachments are as a consequence of clear motivational and behavioral patterns, whereby both the young and caregivers strive to maintain close proximity to each other. This theory seeks to explain the different relationships between children and their caregivers.

Albert Bandura also developed a theory pertaining to how children learn and acquire new information and skills where he suggests that a child behavior is a result of influence of society (Bandura, 1969). In a process called social learning, a child can acquire knowledge and skills by observation and modeling from older people. This includes listening to verbal instructions on how to perform a given task or behavior. According to him social interaction plays a major role in influencing a child’s future behaviors (Bandura, 1969).

Vygotsky presents another theory, the social cultural theory (van Compernolle, 2013). This seeks to explain the learning process in children especially concerning integration of higher order functions. He goes on to explain that learning is a social process that is best enhanced through social interaction with similar minds in a controlled environment. Through proximal development the learner is able to learn on the importance of other people especially in passing knowledge and skills.

Psychologists John B Watson, F.B. Skinner came up with a new school on thought concerning how experiences shape a person’s future behavior (Skinner, 2011). The theory looks into the relationship between acquired behaviors and different experiences, this theory is unique because it does not include emotion but rather focuses more on reinforcement and reward. According to them, learning is a process that occur purely through reinforcing and association. They view development as the end product of stimuli, reward and punishment.

Jean Piagets cognitive theory looks into child development through the different thought and mental processes (Brown, 2013). He classifies the theory into different stages and tries to show how these stages influence a person’s thought process. The sensimotor stage begins at infancy where information on the world is limited to the child’s sensory and motor activities. Next is the preoperational stage occurring between ages two and six, in this stage the child learns language and can be able to express himself verbally. The child however does not yet understand other people’s viewpoints nor understand concrete logic. The concrete operational stage is synonymous to the onset of puberty and occurs between ages two and eleven, here the child can reason logically and have better understanding of mental operations. However, hypothetical concepts may prove difficult to understand. Lastly is the formal operational stage where the child can now understand and formulate abstract concepts, reason and understand logic. In this stage the child can engage in systematic planning.

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    • Bandura, A. (1969). Social-learning theory of identificatory processes. Handbook of socialization theory and research, 213, 262.
    • Boyd, D. R. (2015). Lifespan development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    • Brown, G. &. (2013). Piaget's theory. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
    • Holmes, J. (2014). John Bowlby and attachment theory. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
    • Kail, R. V. (2018). Human development: A life-span view. Boston, Massachusetts, United States: Cengage Learning.
    • Newman, B. M. (2010). Theories of human development. London : Psychology Press.
    • Payne, V. G. (2017). Human motor development: A lifespan approach. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
    • Skinner, B. F. (2011). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage.
    • Thornton, W. (Director). (2009). Samson and Delilah [Motion Picture].
    • Trawick-Smith, J. W. (2010). Early childhood development: A multicultural perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    • van Compernolle, R. A. (2013). Sociocultural theory and second language pedagogy.

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