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Carl Fredricksen

Anita Lee


Carl Fredricksen is an elderly, easily frustrated balloon salesman, short-tempered, and the main protagonist in the Disney movie “Up”. He is the husband of Ellie. When Carl was nine year old, he was very quiet and shy, a dreamer who idolizes the famous explorer Charles F. Muntz. Throughout his life, Carl dreamed of big adventures. One day, he met Ellie, an outgoing and energetic tomboy, who also worshiped Charles F. Muntz. They became good friends. He discovered that they shared the same interest in exploration as their hero, Muntz. Ellie expressed her desire to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls in South America, making Carl promise to help her.
As years passed, Carl married his childhood sweetheart, Ellie, and grew old together in the old club house where they first met as children, while making a living as a zookeeper in their self-owned zoo and a balloon vendor. Unfortunately, they were unable to have kids. So, Carl and Ellie repetitively tried to save up for their journey to Paradise Falls in South America, however, every time something bad happened to them where they end up using their savings. For instance, they used their money to replace their popped tire, and later, to fix their house, when a tree fell down on top of it. By the time Carl finally bought two tickets to go to South America, Ellie becomes very ill and dies. Carl becomes a sour and a lonely widower, who misses his beloved wife terribly.
Many years later, the city grew around Carl's house with construction, where a developer buys all the land, except for Carl's house, because Carl refuses to move. Even though the owner of the construction company offered him the double amount of money, money means nothing to him. To him, his house symbolizes his lost wife and all his memories with her. No one and nothing can replace his precious memories. After losing his wife, Carl is now a cranky seventy-eight year old, who becomes withdrawn and walks around with a tripod cane. Now that he is retired, his daily routine is to get the mail, clean the window, and watch tv. However, Carl is socially isolating himself and avoiding human interaction. Carl has no friends.
Carl meets Russell, a very enthusiastic and optimistic eight year old boy, who is a Wilderness Explorer trying to obtain his final merit badge for "Assisting the Elderly". One day, after watching a construction worker accidentally damages his mailbox, Carl lost self control and strikes the construction worker with his walker. Carl gets sued for striking a construction worker; as a result, he is forced to go to Shady Oaks Retirement Home. After looking at Ellie's childhood scrapbook,
Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie: he turns his house into a makeshift airship using numerous helium balloons to lift it off its foundations.
He then moves the house to Paradise Falls in South America, accidentally taking Russell with him. He wasn't pleased with this, as Russell is very hyper and Carl has no experience with kids. When they arrived to South America, they were close to the Paradise Falls, but they had to walk to Paradise Falls with the floating house. During their journey to Paradise Falls, Carl had to deal with Russell's annoyances and complaints. To shut Russell's mouth, Carl came up with a brilliant game, whom ever can keep quiet, wins. However, that game didn't last long. Halfway through the trip, Russell finds a rare and colorful tropical bird, that he named Kevin. Russell did not know Kevin was a female bird, until later. Carl did not like Kevin at all and he was worried about Russell when Kevin was swinging him up in the air. He did not allow Kevin to tag along. This proved that Carl is not a heartless Grinch, he actually cares about Russell's safety and he is responsible for him, since he's stuck with Russell. Later, they encounter Dug, a talking dog, who wears a translating collar that lets him speak to others and his owner who is Charles F. Muntz. Dug wanted to take Kevin as a prisoner, but Kevin was following Russell, but Carl did not allow Kevin and Dug to tag along. Kevin was the bird that Muntz was looking for. Carl finally meets his idol, Muntz. He realized that Muntz, was a evil villain, who was after Kevin. Muntz would kill anyone to capture Kevin alive. Carl decides to run for his live to save Kevin and escape from Muntz and his pack of ferocious dogs. During their escape, Kevin gets injured, Carl and Russell help Kevin return to her chicks. Unfortunately, Muntz found them and sets Carl's house on fire, forcing him to choose between his house and Kevin. Carl chooses to save his house and in return, Kevin gets captured by Muntz. He realized he has let Russell down. After settling down in his house, he find Ellie's childhood scrapbook, and he discovers a final message from her. Her final message to Carl was that she thanked him for her adventure of marriage and that he should move on. Carl goes outside to find Russel attached to several balloons and a leaf blower, attempting to chase Muntz's blimp. To make his house float again, Carl threw all his furniture out of his house to go save Kevin and Russell. In the end, Carl gives up his house to save Kevin and Russell, realizing that his house was merely a possession. Russell ends up getting his merit badge and Senior Wilderness Explorer when he returns home. However, Carl takes Russell's badge and gives him his Ellie badge in return. This badge was originally given to Carl by Ellie when she was still alive.

Neo-Analytic/ Ego Perspective: Alder's Personality Typology

According to Alfred Alder's Personality Typology, based out of Classical Greek Typology, Carl exemplified the Ruling-Dominant and Avoiding types. According to Alder's Types, Ruling-Dominant and Avoiding personality types are similar to the Greek types Choleric and Melancholic, respectfully. Basically, Choleric is someone that is angry at life and the things they can't control in their life. Melancholic is someone that feels sad and depressive. The Greek humor for Choleric (Ruling-Dominant) is the yellow bile and Melancholic (Avoiding) is the black bile. According to Alder's Types, Ruling-Dominant type is someone that is aggressive and domineering. The Avoiding type is someone that runs away from their problems. Carl is the Avoiding type because after his wife died, he became anti-social. He is also the Ruling-Dominant/Choleric type, because after losing his wife, he became a lonely widower and a grumpy old man who hates annoying kids, like Russell, and he hates people touching his stuff and his house. Carl is opposed to his friend Russell, who is much happier (Sanguine). Basically, the Greek type, Sanguine is someone that is cheerful and hopeful. The Greek humor for Sanguine (Socially Useful) is the blood. According to Alder's Type, the Socially Useful type is someone that is cooperative and caring, and meets problems realistically. Russell is the Socially Useful type and Sanguine, because he is hyper and optimistic. Later on, Carl becomes sanguine after his challenges and experiences with Russell during their trip to Paradise Falls. His actions show he changed by giving up his memorable house to save his friends from being hurt.

Humanistic Perspective:Humanistic Approach:Self-Actualization & Carl Roger: Responsibility

According to Abraham Maslow, to be self-actualized, each individual is encouraged to grow spiritually and realize one's potential through overcoming challenges.
In Carl Rogers point of view of Responsibility, he believed that every person has an inherent predisposition toward growth and maturation. Every individual must strive to take responsibility for themselves and "Becoming One's self". In Carl's situation, self-actualization and responsibility plays a big role in his life. Where Carl goes through a process in which he loses his wife, becomes miserable, isolates himself from the public, to going on an adventure with Russell ( an eight year old) and saving Kevin from being captured by Muntz. He realized that his house was a possession. His childhood hero Muntz was an evil villain. In taking responsibility, Carl chose to go to Paradise Falls to fulfill his promise to Ellie. While down in South America, Carl had grown in experiences. Even though he was unable to have kids, he gained experience interacting with Russell, a loud and high-strung kid. After saving his burning house, he realized he made a huge mistake in letting Muntz capture Kevin. Yet, Carl took immediate action and believed that it was his duty to save Kevin and not let her separate from her chicks. In the end, Carl accepted Kevin as a friend and Dug, as his pet and friend. He became a hero and a happy elderly man after his adventure in South America.


Even though Carl Fredricksen is a fictional character, he is similar to a real-life elderly person ,where many people may perceive him as cranky and stubborn. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. Carl has gone through many years of being miserable and hiding in his house. But Alder would say that Carl has changed his personality from being sad and angry to happy. Maslow would say that Carl has successfully reached self-actualization, where he went through several obstacles, realized that he had made wrong decisions during his trip to Paradise Falls, and in the end, took responsibility and took action to fix everything. He let go of his house and became a hero.


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