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Precious: A Case Study

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Evan Reynolds

on 4 May 2015

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Transcript of Precious: A Case Study

Who is Precious?
Claireece Precious Jones is a 16 year old African-American teenage girl that lives in the ghetto of Harlem, New York in 1987
She does not have many friends, if any at all
Precious lives with her mother, Mary, who subjects her to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Her father died from AIDS
Precious has two children fathered by her own father. A girl named Mongo (short for Mongoloid) who has Down syndrome and a boy named Abdul Jamal
She struggles academically, and is moved from a public school to an alternative school because she is pregnant for the second time. She learns how to read and write there, but her education is at ends with her ability to raise her children
She struggles with depression, anxiety, and violent behaviors--results of a turbulent household
To deal with the physical and emotional pain, Precious fantasizes about a life separate from her own, one fillwed with love, fame, and implausibility
Verbal Abuse
sexual Abuse
Since the age of 3 years old, Precious' father abused Precious sexually until the day he died
He raped her many times, and got her pregnant twice. (Gave her HIV!)
Precious' mother subjected Precious to the abuse because she did nothing to stop it, in the belief that by allowing her boyfriend (Precious' father) to abuse Precious, he wouldn't leave the family
In order to cope with the abuse, Precious attempts to fantasize of a life where she receives everything she is neglected of in reality--love, trust, attention, respect, and even fame, albeit mixed in with violent, traumatic events in her life that have been imprinted
Claireece Precious Jones’ aggressive behaviors, depression, and anxiety are the product of the conditioning she received as a child in a physically and emotionally abusive household.
Precious: A Case Study
By Evan Reynolds

Physical abuse
Mary's authoritarian parenting style is to the extreme--she expects ultimate obedience, treating Precious as though she were a slave just so she can get her way or feel superior to Precious
The physical abuse comes in the form of throwing anything from a book to a large pot to even physical punches and kicks
Precious' mother demeans her by telling Precious that she's "worthless", a "dumb b*tch", and "never going to be anything", lowering her self-esteem and warping her identity/self-concept
To add to the fire, even strangers aren't afraid to tease or mock her
unfortunately for Precious, Mere fantasy can't Completely remove years of stress...
Harlow's Theory of Development asserts that in a child's development, three key factors are involved to assure the child develops normally:
Because her parents don't provide any of the three, Precious acts out violently, while at the same time is socially isolated, anxiety prone, and has low self-esteem
Operant Conditioning
In essence, Mary abuses Precious by using operant conditioning, which allows her to manipulate Precious into associating her own behaviors to act on the environment to produce punishing stimuli that goes with their consequences
The operant conditioning is in the form of positive punishment, in that whenever Precious does something Mary doesn't like, Mary introduces an adverse stimulus (throwing a book, a pan, etc. ) to control Precious
Because the method is effective, Mary is negatively reinforced to continue to abuse Precious
Precious' low-self esteem has also led to mild depression and a sense of hopelessness, as she struggles to cope with the burden of two kids, her obesity, and the fact that she can't seem to escape the abuse at home
Mary's verbal abuse to Precious in particular contributes to Precious' low self-esteem in that after hearing it enough times she starts to believe it of herself
Ultimately, Precious suffers from learned helplessness, in that after facing so many traumatic events, she reverts to passive resignation
Intrinsic Motivation/Resilience
Despite all of the harmful effects of her mother's abuse, Precious has a resilient personality and is motivated to do better, whether it meant continuing to get an education behind her mother's back to loving others as she would want to be treated
When she gives birth to Abdul Jamal, she wants to give him all the love she never received
She sticks up to her mother and finally runs away for the protection of herself and her children
Claireece Precious Jones has gone through a lot of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse that has created deep rooted problems to her mental health. Many traumatic events remain embedded in her memory (scars), no matter how hard she tries to imagine them not being there. However, through experiences and by having intrinsic motivation, and in spite of the odds of becoming suicidal or mentally unstable, she has learned a great deal of what
to do with her own children and how to enjoy and experience life. Precious will grow in the coming years, but it would not surprise me if she has trouble adjusting to the new, free lifestyle she is unfortunately very alien to.
Example 1: While Precious is taking a test she thinks to herself : "There's always something wrong with these tests. These tests paint a picture of me with no brain. These tests paint a picture of me and my mother, my whole family as less than dumb. Just ugly black grease, need to be wiped away, find a job for. Sometimes I wish I was dead...I'd be OK I guess...'cause I'm lookin' up. Lookin' up for a piano to fall: a desk, couch, TV, momma maybe. Always something in my way.
Example 2:
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