The movie thirteen touched many important factors of adolescent’s development. Some of the ones I want to concentrate in this paper are: family system, developmental tasks, and peer pressure. The movie begins with Tracy, the main character, as a normal teenager whose life seems from the outside “ok”. However, even at this point in the movie, there are hints of Tracy’s inner pain and discomfort or distress with her world. Tracy lives a tough life. Her parents are separated, and do not have a good relationship.
Tracy lives with her mom and brother in a suburban low to middle class neighborhood. Her mom, Mel, is a recovered addict, who works as a hair dresser. Her dad, Travis, is a somewhat rich executive, who works all the time and barely visits his family. Her older brother, Mason, does not get along with Tracy, and sees her as a somewhat loser. Morever, Mason does spend time with his dad more often than Tracy.
Since the beginning of the movie, we can have a good picture of the family roles in this household.
Mel does not take the authoritarian parent role. In fact, she plays the parent-friend role, and does not have deep and good communication with her son and daughter. We also come to learn that Tracy sometimes takes the role of “parentified children”, whose has to take her of herself in many occasions. I assume this role is also taken by her brother usually, since they do not show his experience.
Moreover, at this point Tracy has been surrounded by good friends, as her neighbor Noel. Read a history of tattoos and piercings
Although they are not much seen in the movie, I do believe that their presence made Tracy stay somewhat grounded. Furthermore, Tracy’s life switches when she met Evie Zamora. Evie is the new popular girl in school. She’s seductive, rebellious and all the boys want her. The first time Tracy sees Evie, she dislikes her because she believes that Evie has everything that she lacks of, and one of them is popularity. This is when we started perceiving peer pressure in Tracy?s life. Quickly she decides to approach her to become friends with Evie.
One of the fast changes Tracy mades, in order to be accepted by Evie, is her clothes. Tracy always used baggy clothes and did not mind about her appearance. Since she met Evie, her looks started to change dramatically, wearing short and tight clothes. There is one significant incident happened involving change of clothing. The first day Tracey hangs out with Evie, they meet at a high brand clothing store called “Melrose”. Here is where Tracy learns how Evie and her friends get to wear this type of clothing: “Stealing”.
Afterwards, she leaves the stores very nervously, since she initially did not want to be involved in that kind of drama. While she’s sitting down at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to go back home, a somewhat rich woman sits down next to her and her wallet fell from her purse. Tracy sees the opportunity and decides to steal it. She ran back to Evie and spends the money on clothes. From that day, we assume that this “stealing” habit continues. This was definitely a turning point for Tracy. After this event, her life style and attitude changes considerably.
From here we can start seeing many bad choices and decisions Tracy commits: as lying to mother about tattoos and piercings, rejects old friends, misses classes, and even do drugs. These activities were greatly influenced by Evie, and how much Tracy wanted to be accepted in the group. This peer pressure is also demonstrated when Evie and Tracy invite over two popular boys from sch ool to Evie?s house. Yet, I do believe there is a factor of “impulsivity” and “internal anger” that she had inside hidden from all of her previous family history. Evie?s friendship, in a way, awaken that side.