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Adversity is one of the many factors in life that everybody faces at one point or another. The mere idea of misfortune to most is unpleasant however, adversity plays a significant role in shaping one’s identity, personal morals and influences our decision making. In the film “Little Miss Sunshine” Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Farris convey how hardships mold an individual’s identity through the character Richard. Like every individual he faces challenges that pave the way to who he later becomes and how well he deals with struggles in the future.
Initially Richard, an aspiring motivational speaker is portrayed as a stubborn, arrogant, and narrow-minded person who is obsessed with the concept of “winners and losers”, living solely on said philosophy. He believes his “Nine-Step Program” is the way to lead on every single decision to guarantee “success”. This shows Richards ignorance to the concept of adversity, since he believes one should not fail. Ironically, Richard fails to acknowledge or understand how an individual can show traits of both a winner and a loser, and not just either one of the “two kinds of people in this world”. In the beginning Richard also displays issues of selfishness which causes conflict to arise within his family. It is apparent to see his selfishness when he rapidly listens to the family voicemail machine recording and ignores anything that is not relevant to him. It is depicted through his argument with his wife Sheryl, about refusing the idea of letting Frank, stay with them suggesting if he can stay someplace else as she unbelievably says to Richard “he has no where else to go”. Even when Sheryl tells Richard that Frank has arrived his initial response is “Oh god” then, moves on to talking about himself.
The dinner scene is a key scene in the beginning part of the film that showcases his persona. The scene maps out Richards beliefs and displays his narrow-mindedness on controversial issues such as, Frank’s suicide attempt where he describes Frank as “sick in the head” to his naïve daughter Olive explaining how Frank “gave up on himself” claiming that something that winners “never” do. The scene also further pushes Richard’s family ideas when he is sarcastic and cold to his family members such as Dwayne showing, how they do not get along when he states “it may not be my dream, may not be yours” regarding Dwayne’s passion for flight school in which he reacts in a pissed off look showing the tension between the two.

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