What Social Psychology concepts can be used in reviewing the main character of The Terminal? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the strongest psychological concepts that one can see in Viktor is the need to belong.  Viktor progresses in a manner that does not show agitation at his condition of liminality, trapped between two worlds.  This need to belong almost transcends national identity, suggesting that forced political constructions of being are more temporal than anything else.  Viktor cannot form an identity in America.  He cannot form an identity to his home country, Krakozhia, because it is no longer the country he knows with the regime change.  Psychologically, Viktor demonstrates that the human need to belong transcends all as he seeks belonging in the terminal.  Bonding with people from different walks of lives and narratives, Viktor suggests that our psychological condition to belong transcends political constructions and that which seems real.  At the same time, Viktor's need to obtain the Golson signature is what he considered as the only non- negotiable entity in his psychological construction of identity.  Honoring the memory of his father, when he tells the cab driver that he is "going home," it is deliberately unclear as to what this is.  The notion of "home" is thus defined as something that individuals themselves deem as important and essential.  Part of the psychological revelation that comes out of the film is that human beings can easily define what "home" is and who they are.  Political, social, and other arbitrary constructions are not as important as to that which we ourselves tend to attach ourselves.  In this, a major psychological condition is revealed about being in the modern setting.