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The Life of Peter: Idealism Vs. Realism

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The Life of Peter: Idealism vs. Realism

When asking a child what they want to be when the grow up, they will most likely tell you a doctor, teacher or some other public service occupation. They have the ideal that a career helping people is the best job a person could have. When those same kids get into high school their ideals become even greater (this really only applies to middle-upper class). They want to be artist, musicians, actors, or free lance writers who travel the world for the next big story. In college the ideals of the student are usually pushed to the back burner so that there is room for reality. Peter's character in the movie Office Space is an example of the ultimate idealist. Throughout the movie we are shown his conflict between "good and evil" (otherwise known as idealism and realism). Peter's character is placed in the toughest battle zone to live out his ideals: the corporate world of cubicles. Americans have the idea of an "American Dream" which in tales having a good job, family and happy home (for most people this is all that is needed to be content in life). Peter though can't accept the idea of the "American Dream" and comes to make his own idealistic ideas a reality that most would laugh off as being a nothing but pipe dreams.

It must be hard to spend 40-50 hours a week in a little box with no windows or connection to the outside world. Office workplaces tend to invent annoying saying like " Do you have a case of the Mondays?" that in itself would cause people not want to be there (especially on Mondays). Peter thought so also, he loathed every minute of work. The job was not too hard for him and paid decent money (but as an idealist it was not money Peter was after). For a realist money is usually the driving force in a person choosing a career. Finding the "American Dream" is no easy task when it comes to one's profession. How many people do you know who are truly working at a job they love? After being hypnotized -occupational therapist- Peter has a revelation that he does still have the ability to change the control his job has on him. Instead of finding a new job that might have some meaning or interest to him, he decides to turn his cubicle job into his ideal job by showing up when he feels like it and wearing whatever he wants. Understand that to Peter the ideal job is none at all. Although the idea seems great Peter does still have a small ounce of reality that doesn't allow him to quit his job so instead he goes to work on his own schedule and with his own agenda.

Peter has a rotten girlfriend in the movie. She could be the mascot for the realist as Peter is the idealist. The girlfriend doesn't understand the internal conflict's Peter is going through so she makes him go to a therapist. Instead of supporting - or even try to understand Peter- when he doesn't show up to work one Saturday she yells at him. Everyone in Peter's life seems to know about his girlfriend's cheating



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