Friday, April 27, 2012

social control theory and how it effects an individuals role in society

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Travis Hirschi’s social control theory assumes that delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken. The assumption that all people are capable of committing crimes, and would do so if left to their own devices, is the backbone of social control theories. These theories see a delinquent person as relatively free of intimate attachments, the aspirations, and the moral beliefs that bind most people to a life within the law. However, they do not explain why individuals engage in criminal acts, but rather why individuals choose to conform to conventional norms. Conventional norms for example, can be illustrated through the decision of an individual’s choice on attending college.


Social control is often seen as a representation of conformity, which leads to the convention of norms. Others see social control as a broad representation of regulated mechanisms placed upon society’s members. In other words, social control regards what is to be considered deviant, violations of the law, right or wrong. Social control mechanisms can be adopted as laws, norms, mores, ethics, etiquette, and customs, which all control and thus define behavior.


Hirschi’s first assumption was that everyone has potential to become delinquent and criminal, thus it is social controls, not moral values, which maintain law and order. Without controls, he argues, one is free to commit criminal acts (4). In 16 Travis Hirschi presented a social bond theory, which promoted socialization and conformity. The theory postulates four inhibitory conditions (1) attachment to conventional persons, () commitment to conventional goals, () involvement in conventional activities, and (4) beliefs in conventional norms (Gibbs 146).


The first bond, attachment, refers to one’s interest in others. One’s acceptance of social norms and the development of social consciousness depend on attachment for other human beings. Hirschi views parents, schools, and peers as important social institutions for a person (Hirschi 7).


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While examining an individual’s attachment to their parents, Hirschi found that individuals who have meaningful relationships with their parents are less likely to commit delinquent acts. The amount of time a child and parent spend together is extremely important, including intimacy in conversation and identification that may exist between parent and child. This strong bond between parent and child helps refrain from involvement in delinquent acts because of the consequences they would face as a result, as well as putting their relationship with their parents in jeopardy (Hirschi 7).


While examining the bond with school, Hirschi found that an inability to do well in school is linked with delinquency, through a series of chain events. He argued that academic incompetence leads to poor school performance, which leads to a dislike of school, which then leads to a rejection of teachers and authority, which ultimately results in acts of delinquency. He argued that one’s attachment to school depends on how one appreciates the institution and how one is received by fellow peers and teachers. It is also mentioned that one’s attachment to parents and school overshadows the bond formed with one’s peers (Hirschi 10).


With this knowledge, one is able assume that individuals are at high risk of becoming delinquent when there is no attachment or acceptance among their social surroundings. When parents have a lack of limitation on their child, or set high standards that the child cannot meet, or just is not given the opportunity to meet, that child will look for other ways to gain acceptance. They will find negative, unhealthy outlets to turn to. For example “A boy, seeking to satisfy the same basic needs for acceptance, companionship, and respect as other boys, is unable to obtain these from conventional groups because he cannot meet the terms on which they are granted; he turns to other groups whose terms-participating in their delinquent way of life-he can more easily meet” (Cohen 85).


Hirschi’s second bond is that of commitment. Commitment involves time, energy and effort placed on the conventional lines of action. In other words, the support and equal partaking in social activities tie an individual to the moral and ethical code of society. Hirschi’s control theory holds that individuals who build an investment in life, property and reputation are less likely to engage in criminal acts which will jeopardize their social position (Hirschi 1). Therefore, “The more one has, the more one has to lose” (Schlegel, K.).


The third bond discussed in Hirschi’s theory is the bond of involvement. This addresses a preoccupation in activities which stress the conventional interests of society. Hirschi argues that an individual’s heavy involvement in conventional activities doesn’t allow enough time to commit delinquent acts. He believes that involvement in school, family, recreations, etc., insulates an individual from potential delinquent behavior that may be a result of idleness (Hirschi 8). For example, an individual that participates in school oriented sports, where the parents are supportive and encouraging will less likely participate in delinquent acts. The individual that isn’t involved in any activities, and has a greater amount of free time, will look to fill that space with delinquent behavior.


The final bond of Hirschi’s theory is that of belief. It deals with the assents to society’s value system�which entails respect for laws, and the people and institutions which enforce such laws. Hirschi argued that people who live in common social settings share similar human values. If such beliefs are weakened or absent, one is more likely to engage in antisocial acts. Also, if people believe that laws are unfair, this bond to society weakens, and the likelihood of committing delinquent acts rises.


An example that there is a more or less straightforward connection between attachment to others and beliefs in the moral validity of rules appears evident through the following documentation “It is not the obligatory character of the rule laid down by an individual that makes us respect this individual, it is the respect we feel for the individual that makes us regard as obligatory the rule he lays down. The appearance of the sense of duty in a child thus admits of the simplest explanation, namely that he receives commands from older children (in play) and from adults (in life), and that he respects older children and parents” (Piaget 101).


An individual’s decision to attend college can easily be based on Hirschi’s theory. There are certain aspects of a person’s life which encourage them to succeed. Not every individual was raised in a surrounding that gave them positive outlets, nor motivated them to achieve.


For instance, an individual that grew up in a loving family environment would have more self confidence than those that have not. As a result, she, the individual, was always made to feel important, unique, and special. Therefore, she had a growing start to building great confidence of herself. Also, because she was given attention, taught right from wrong and understood the consequences of every action that she would take, she would soon learn to understand and act out respect.


Learning to respect adults was a very important part of the individual’s life. For example, the respect she gave to her teachers not only taught her valuable life lessons but also allowed her to earn and value their respect. She was also taught from an early age how important succeeding in school would affect her future; therefore she learned the value of an education. Due to the fact that the individual’s parent’s constantly pushed her to achieve higher, and never accepted anything less than her absolute best, she then had a sense of responsibility in achievement, and therefore would not want to give that up.


Having strong bonds with her family enabled the individual to make strong bonds with her peers. She knew the expectations that her parent’s and respected adults had of her; therefore she did not associate herself with those that would bring her down. Keeping a positive surrounding around the individual at all times helped her to move forward and never fall back.


The individual found outlets that would benefit her in many ways. She began to play sports, and joined other organizations. With the encouragement of the people around her she trained and worked hard at everything she did. The achievements she received were priceless, and she was not willing to give them up by any means.


The individual became a well-rounded young adult. She learned to respect authority, find value in everything life had to offer, and always strived to succeed. There was never an idle part to her life because she was always going. Partly it was self-motivation, but she learned that self-motivation from her surroundings and bringing up.


With all that the individual has to offer, her next step would be to decide what she wants to do with her life. Falling under Hirschi’s theory, the individual made strong bonds and has a growing attachment to the society around her. This has enabled her to understand what is out there and to somewhat know what she wants; she just has to find the right path to go down. In the past, the individual has always seemed to make the right decisions, so choosing to attend college was definitely one of those decisions.








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Teenage and Depression

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Teenage and Depression


Teenage depression is a growing problem in todays society and is often a major contributing factor for a multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind these statistics because the young people involved come from all communities, all economic levels, and all home situations-anyones family. The common link is often depression. For the individuals experiencing this crisis, the statistics become relatively meaningless. The difficult passage into adolescence and early adulthood can leave lasting scars on the lives and psyches of an entire generation of young men and women. There is growing realization that teenage depression can be life- changing, even life threatening. (McCoy 1)


Depression is a murky pool of feelings and actions scientists have been trying to understand since the days of Hippocrates, who called it a black bile. It has been called the common cold of mental illness and, like the cold, its difficult to quantify”. (Arbetter1) If feelings of great sadness or agitation last for much more than two weeks, it may be depression. For a long time, people who were feeling depressed were told to snap out of it. According to a study done by National Institute of Mental Health, half of all Americans still view depression as a personal weakness or character flaw.


Depression, however, is considered a medical disorder and can affect thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. It interferes with daily life such as school, friends, and family. Clinical depression is the most incapacitating of all


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chronic conditions in terms of social functioning. (Salmans 11-1)


Teenagers have always been vulnerable to depression for a variety of reasons. Its a confusing time of life because a teens body is changing along with their relationships. Teenagers constantly vacillate between strivings for independence from family and regressions to childish dependence on it. (Elkind 8) But todays teens face an additional challenge Theyre growing up in a world quite different from that of their parents youth. Adolescents today are faced with stresses that were unknown to previous generations and are dealing with them in an often self-destructive way. Contemporary society has changed the perception of teenagers. New parental lifestyles, combined with changes in the economy, often give less time and energy for parents to devote to their offspring. Society all too often views teens for what they can be instead of for who they are. Who they are becomes the identity of teenagers today. They are confronted with the ambiguity of education, the dissolution of family, the hostile commercialism of society, and the insecurity of relationships. (McCoy 16) This identity is fragile and is threatened by fears of rejection, feelings of failure, and of being different.


These young people face stress in school as well with resources dwindling and campus violence and harassment increasing. Their sexual awakening comes in the age of AIDS, when sex can kill. In summary, teens today feel less safe, less empowered and less hopeful than we did a generation ago. Depression is a common concomitant to this struggle. (McCoy 6) It strikes 5% of teens and about % of children under 1. One of three adolescents in the nineties is at risk for serious depression. (Stern 8)


Depression is the result of a complex mix of social, psychological, physical, and environmental factors. Teens with depressed parents are two to three times more likely to develop major depression. Genetic factors play a substantial but not overwhelming role in causing depression. (Dowling 7) Some type of significant loss can be a factor in triggering teenage depression. Loss can be due to death, divorce, separation, or loss of a family member, important friend or romantic interest. Loss can also be more subtle such as the loss of childhood, of a familiar way of being, of goals through achievement, or of boundaries and guidelines. (McCoy 46-48) Gender differences are becoming apparent, with girls having more difficulty with depression. Studies show girls are three times more likely than boys to suffer depression. A university study showed a close link between depression and negative body image and girls are usually more self-conscious about their bodies than boys. (Sol in 157) The reasons for depression are not always clear-cut. Although some depressed, even suicidal teenagers come from extremely troubled backgrounds with a lifetime of difficulties at home and at school, the vast majority of depressed teens are not without resources, support, or love. They simply find, for a variety of reasons, that theyre feeling overwhelmed by a sensation of hopelessness and helplessness. It is imperative to realize that depression can happen to teenagers, even those who have everything going for them. It can happen to the best and brightest of young people. (McCoy 7)


Its hard to detect depression in teens because its a developmental stage characterized by considerable anger and withdrawal. Adolescents dont necessarily look sad and depressed and its normal for teens to have mood swings but within limits. A depressed teen may cry for help indirectly through troublesome, even destructive behavior and through physical symptoms. For a teenager to admit that he or she needs help feels like regressing back to childhood. To be a teen means to externalize feelings and deal with the world through action. (Arbetter 6)


Depression ranks second only to advance heart disease in exacting a physical toll, measured by days in bed and body pain. Its common for people with depressive disorders to complain about recurring headaches, backaches, chronic fatigue, and insomnia. Being sick can be a binding thing that keeps the teenager tied to parents, if the illness is the only time the teen receives attention and love from their parents. (Dowling 17) The body may signal what the mind is saying through physical symptoms. The body expresses feelings and conflicts that the teenager is unable to verbalize. Physical ills are often viewed with


more importance than emotional pain by parents, teachers, or even the teens themselves. (Papolos 6) Its much easier for adolescents to ask for medical care than for psychological help. They often have a great fear of being crazy or of being thought to be crazy. (McCoy 0) Another serious medical problem that is affecting more and more teens is an eating disorder. An eating disorder often represents a teenagers attempt to gain some control by engaging in a behavior which can not be regulated by another person. One-third to one-half of patients with eating disorders have a major depressive illness at the same time. (Papolos 7)


More than one million teens, most under the age of sixteen, run away from home every year. They are neither adventurous nor rebellious adolescents, but teens tested and troubled by lifes circumstances. A young girl at a shelter for teenage runaways tries to explain why she has run away from home four times in the past two months. Drawing her blanket around her like a cocoon, the fourteen-year - old quietly stares at the floor. Im no good to anyone, I get upset and fuss at home and it causes trouble for


everyone. I had to run away to save my parents marriage. Unfortunately, this story is not at all unusual. (McCoy ) Of the 1. million teen runaways in the United States, an estimated 00,000 have little hope or chance of returning home. They often feel things are hopeless and that their parents would never understand.


Drug use is on the rise among teens as young as thirteen. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 4% of high school seniors use alcohol daily, while % have tried it. Millions of teens have had adverse experiences caused by excessive drinking. (Elkind 0) Researchers have found that depressed teens are at particularly high risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances are often used to assuage depression. Studies have found that when


depressed patients were given treatment, alcohol and drug intake diminished as well. Substance abuse is seen as both a symptom and a cause of depression. (Papolos 66)


There is more sexual activity among teenagers today than at any other time in our history. By the time they leave high school, some 0% of seniors are no longer virgins. Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers have reached epidemic proportions. Eight million young people each year are infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Every thirty seconds, another U.S. teenager is infected. (Elkind 71) Sexual acting-out, which cannot only be life-changing, but also life-threatening in this age of AIDS, can become an antidote to the loneliness and isolation many teenagers feel. Sexual activity is often used as an attempt to deal with feelings of depression, to increase self-esteem by feeling wanted and to achieve intimacy. (McCoy 1)


Approximately ,000 teenage girls in the United States will get pregnant today. An estimated million teenage girls become pregnant each year. Beth is a shy, quiet eighth-grader who is expecting a baby in two months. Beth admits her pregnancy was intentional and she plans to keep her baby because then Ill have someone of my own who will love me for sure. I wont be alone anymore. “This illusion of unconditional love, coupled with a lack of insight into the unrelenting demands that the complete


dependence of an infant brings leads a number of girls to seek pregnancy. Some teens see parenthood as a way to recapture the joy of childhood they are losing, a way to be loved and important to someone else, or as an antidote to depression. (McCoy 81-8)


Suicide among teenagers has skyrocketed 00% in the last decade. If we were talking about mononucleosis or meningitis we would call this an epidemic. (Solin 155)


Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among older teenagers. Adolescents are particularly at risk for suicide attempts because they progress through a variety of rapid developmental stages. The seriously depressed teen may often have a sense of hopelessness. Many teens are too immobilized by depression to see any alternatives or to take any positive steps toward change. (Salmans 40) “All too often depressed teenagers dont have the experience to know that time heals, that there is always hope. They dont realize that they can survive a crisis and perhaps even learn from it. Life is often seen in absolutes, which intensifies any crisis. (McCoy 64)


The destructive potential of serious teenage depression can have many long-lasting aftereffects. Having and keeping a baby, getting into trouble with the law, sustaining a serious injury as the result of risk-taking behavior or stunting ones emotional growth by anesthetizing painful feelings with drugs or alcohol can have a great impact on ones future. It can prevent a young adult from having a full, healthy, and productive life or make it considerably more difficult to do so. Depression is a growing problem


amongst todays teenagers. Depression brings with it many problems that can be self-destructive. If a teenager has the benefit of early intervention and help in coping with his or her depression, however, the life script can be quite different. (McCoy 66-67)


Works Cited


Arbetter, Sandra. Depression Way Beyond the Blues. Current Health Dec. 14-10.


Dowling, Colette. I Dont You Mean Have to Feel this Way? New York Macmillan, 11


Elkind, David. Parenting Your Teenager. New YorkBallantine Books, 1


McCoy, Kathleen. Understanding Your Teenagers Depression. New York Perigee Books, 14


Papolos, Demitri and Papolos, Janice. Overcoming Depression. New York Harper, 187


Salmans, Sandra. Depression Questions you have... Answers you need. Allentown, PA Peoples


Medical Society, 15.


Solin, Sabrina. I Did not Want to Live Seventeen Apr. 15 155-157 Stern, Loraine. I Feel So Sad... Womans Day Oct. 14 8.





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Thursday, April 26, 2012

stop smoking

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“Every day three thousand kids become regular smokers, and a third of them will eventually die of nicotine-related causes.” (http//www.nicotinevictims.com/observations.htm#000) Smoking is the leading cause of cancer in the United States and the rest of the world. Due to the studies of nicotine, doctors have been able to conclude that nicotine is the most addictive and most destructive legal drug today. If you smoke it would be a good idea to stop while you’re not too far behind.


When people start smoking they get cravings to have something in their hands and mouth. At first they fill the need with cigarettes and eventually they are smoking a pack or two a day. During the first few months of smoking, the lungs turn brown and eventually black. The reason for this is the tar and nicotine mixture get into the lungs. The mixture sticks to the lining of the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Shortly after that, the lungs absorb the nicotine and tar into the body where cancer can easily form, and in many cases does. This process takes only a few weeks to several years. If you smoke for a long time, and you are old your lungs are probably black and full of tar and nicotine. However, your body will continue to absorb the cancer causing agents, and eventually your body’s immune system will stop fighting it off and you will get cancer. This time your body is weak from trying to fight off the tar and nicotine. This makes it hard to fight off the cancer. As you go through life struggling with the cancer, and hoping that that day that you are living in, is not your last and hoping that you will get to see the ones you love the next day. For some this is not always the result. Every day one thousand people do not get to see their loved ones the next day. Some lucky people die at night peacefully, and other not so lucky people die in excruciating pain, others die because of suffocation. And for that person’s family, they are in total shock and saddened by the loss of the one that they love and will no longer be able to see, only remember. But this doesn’t have to be the result. You can change everything by stopping smoking. If you say it is too hard to stop smoking, it really is not hard.


Several people avoid this tragic and painful death. Kellie of Huntington Beach said, “When I get a craving to smoke, I remind myself that I don’t smoke and, unless I want to go through this again, I won’t smoke. This is a choice I made, no one is forcing me to do this and it is a positive choice for my benefit. It may be difficult, but I’m glad I don’t smoke.” The first thing you have to do if you want to avoid an early death is truly want to quit. This means that you have to literally convince your-self that quitting is best for you. Soon after that you are well on you way to quitting. On this web page it states, “Cigarettes.... One of the most addictive and destructive, over the counter drugs known to modern man. One of the few legal substances available in stores that can injure or kill when used as intended. Most rational people know this as a fact, yet many continue to smoke. Some smokers know, deep in their hearts, they want to quit. Others are quite content to keep on puffing because they think they enjoy it so much.” When people convince themselves that smoking is a horrible thing and they don’t want to do it any more then it becomes very easy to stop.


After you have convinced yourself it’s time to stop then all you have left to do is fill the need to have something in your mouth and hands. People can acquire this by chewing on gum, pens, pencils, and straws. As you go through this you can still smoke some to satisfy your addiction to nicotine. If you smoke a pack a day, try to cut down your intake by three to five cigarettes a day. Eventually you will not need a cigarette, because you will not be addicted.


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When you decide to stop smoking your life will become more energetic, and you will be able to see the ones you love a few years down the road. My grandfather died of lung cancer in 15. He suffered a tragic death. That morning of March 7, 15 Victor Peschke became a statistic, don’t let yourself or anyone you love become one.





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Will Sri Lanka's Rubber Industry Bounce Back ?

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Will Sri Lanka’s rubber industry bounce back?


By Ananda S Wijayarathne


An improvement in prices has been responsible for an increase in rubber production last year and the first seven months of this year. This has resuscitated new hopes of a revival of rubber production and the development of a viable and productive rubber industry. Whether this is possible in view of a secular decline in rubber production for over three decades, is an interesting question.


Increase in production ; In 00 rubber production recorded a modest increase of 5 million kilograms after years of declining production. Last years increase in rubber production of 5. per cent is a comparison with the previous years production that was the lowest ever. This increasing trend of last year has continued into the first seven months of this year, when rubber production increased by . per cent to 5.8 metric tons. It is likely that rubber production this year could be around 5 million metric tons. This would be about a 10 per cent increase from that of 000.


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Prices; The recent increase in production has been owing to an improvement in rubber prices from April last year. Several factors account for the improvement in prices. The price of synthetic rubber has increased perhaps due to a rise in petroleum prices. The major rubber producing countries of Asia have come to an agreement to curtail rubber production by 4 per cent, while the demand for natural rubber from China has increased. These factors are likely to exert an upward pressure on prices, a welcome change from the crash in rubber prices with the Asian economic crisis in 17.


Last year rubber prices increased by about 5 per cent in rupee terms. Latex crepe prices doubled between December 001 and December 00. Since 17 rubber prices declined to levels that were lower than the cost of production. This curtailed rubber tapping till there was an upturn in prices. Currently it is contended that rubber is the most profitable plantation crop. If prices continue to rise the profitability of rubber is assured.


Secular Decline ; Despite the improvement in prices, the expectation of the rubber industry attaining the heights it once held is most unlikely owing to the decline of the industry in the past four decades. Some of the declining trends cannot be reversed. As far back as in 160 rubber production reached a peak production of 160 million kilograms. Since then it declined and in 000 rubber production was only 87 million kilograms. In 000 the countrys rubber production was only 54 per cent of that 40 years ago. Rubber production in 000 was 1 per cent less than six years ago in 15. In 001 rubber production decreased by a further 1.8 per cent to reach the lowest production ever of 86 million kilograms.


This performance in Rubber production has indeed been very disappointing. It would be difficult to reverse the factors accounting for this decline even with a remunerative price. Many factors account for this. The declining prices for rubber, especially the shock of the Asian crisis in 16 dealt a severe blow to an industry plagued with a number of problems.


The industry has hardly recovered from this set back. Meanwhile rubber lands are being converted to urban and industrial uses that are more lucrative. The area under rubber production has declined from about 00 thousand hectares in 10 to 157 thousand hectares in 000. The area under rubber cultivation was the same even in 00.but the area under tapping had reduced from 1,000 hectares in 001 to 15,000 hectares last year. This trend may gain momentum as the pace of urbanization and industrialization gathers momentum.


If this trend of a reduction in extent under rubber continues there would be inadequate domestic rubber for local rubber goods manufacture. This is especially unfortunate, as the trend has been for a greater use of domestic rubber for local rubber goods manufacture. It would indeed be a sad day if our rubber manufacturing industries were unable to source the raw material from within the country.


Future ; The replanting of rubber and inter-cropping of smallholdings rubber with other crops would require to be explored. The latter would ensure greater resilience in the face of fluctuating international prices that has characterised the rubber industry for a long time. There is a need to expand the area under higher yielding rubber clones to achieve much higher rubber yields than at present. In fact Sri Lankas rubber yield is about the lowest.


In view of rubber-based industries in the country expanding production, a new perspective on the future of rubber is needed. There is every rationale for increasing rubber production owing to this ready market for over 60 per cent of current rubber production. An expansion in the area under cultivation and improved varieties of rubber being planted would be needed.





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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Q: Discuss the assertion that the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 was an attempt to deal with pauperism rather than poverty.

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Poverty has always been in existence in Britain, but because of social and economic changes in society during the late 18th and early 1th Centuries, the number of poor people rose dramatically. Poverty means having too little for a comfortable life, which was the situation for many people. Pauperism however meant being destitute, meaning so poor that you could not survive without help and that you were too poor to feed yourself or your family.


The Poor Law system was set up in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was legislated to help the poor people not to end up as paupers. Poverty had been largely due to an undeveloped economy in which famine and pestilence became recurring phenomena. A system of relief was needed in order to assist the poor. The parish became the primary unit in providing relief. The poor individuals residing within the parish boundaries could only receive this relief. This put tremendous pressure on parishes to give paupers the adequate amount of relief. As a result many parishes became overrun with too many poor people, and not enough assistance was administrated. For these reasons the problem of aiding the poor became regarded as the first English poor law. The old poor law had shown that poor relief confined to town parishes put too heavy a burden on them and as a result distribution of aid rather than alleviation of aid had been allotted in relieving the poor.


By 175 the Poor Law system was already facing problems, as the population increased so did the need for funding, housing and educating the poor. Changes bought about from farming and industry changes; poor harvest and unemployment increased the amount of people claiming poor relief. Many new schemes were introduced to cope with this problem. A system was set up in a town called Speenhamland where the poor received an allowance. The amount of relief a pauper received depended upon the size of his family and the cost of bread. Bread was the staple diet of the poor and as food prices began rising at a rate more than the average wage, the numbers of paupers claiming increased. This Speenhamland system was adopted throughout most agricultural areas of Southern England and the Midlands. Unfortunately as the population increased it became increasingly difficult and expensive for parishes who found it very hard to control how much they had to spend. Between 17 &175 a succession of poor harvests put wheat in very short supply, making bread very expensive. Wheat, which was 4s. d per quarter was 78s.7d by 175. (Taylor, D, 188 p.40). The old poor law of 1601 could not assign a good method of relieving pauperism in England.


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Attitudes began to harden towards the poor and Thomas Malthus a Utilitarian published an essay in 178 on why the Poor Law should be abolished, he was critical of the allowance system which he argued ‘Encouraged early marriages and large families’. Malthus wrote ‘ A labourer should not get married until he had enough money to support a family. (Taylor,D,188 p4). This encouraged low wages because farmers knew that the workers were getting poor relief and would pay workers less wages. It also encouraged laziness, there was no need to go out and work so hard when they were receiving an allowance anyway. Ratepayers and church ministers criticized this as it was costing them, which was the biggest concern.


Conditions deteriorated in the workhouses as described in the Norwich Mercury in 18, ‘The workhouse was a scene of filth, misery and indecency…imagine 600 persons badly looked after crowded into rooms seldom or never ventilated, swarming with vermin’. There were many reasons for reform and by 180 the whole Speenhamland system was unacceptable. People started to object to their conditions of work. Pauper’s felt that they were being demoralized after doing full weeks work and still having to rely on poor relief.


In 18 a Royal Commission was set up to investigate the Poor Law. They were set up by the ideas from Jeremy Bentham, a Utilitarian. His ideas influenced many people. He believed ‘All actions and laws could be judged against his Principle of Utility’. This principle would show if an action or law had ‘Utility’ or was useful in ‘Bringing about happiness of the greatest number of people’ (Martin,D 000 P56). This led to the Government to alter the Poor Law system.


However not everybody took the same view, as Bentham and ‘Laissez-faire’ was the name for the ideas of those who believed no action should be addressed at all by the government. Mr Isaac Willis a collector of the poor rates in the parish of St. Mary said ‘ Those who depend upon parish relief are dirty in their person and slothful in their ways’ (Tonge,T 1 p40). Self-help was the root of all genuine growth in the individual and that no laws could make the idle work. The commission was headed by Economist Nassau & Senior and had twenty-six commissioners, the most prominent being Edwin Chadwick. It investigated whether reform was required by visiting parishes and by setting a questionnaire. The questionnaire proved unsuccessful because only 10% were returned covering only 0% of the population. The questions were poorly phrased which in turn produced misleading data. Chadwick’s report was that the Poor Law looked costly, clumsy and was very wasteful. It also showed that pauperism was causing growing illegitimacy, low nutrition was causing early aging and sickness. The report also recommended that there should be only one poor relief for the whole country.


As a result in 184 the government passed the Poor Law Amendment Act and Chadwick became Secretary to the Poor Law Commission. Parishes were grouped into unions and by 188 there were 57 unions. In each union everybody who paid a poor rate elected a Board of Guardians, They were responsible for running the Poor Law in their union. Unions had to either build workhouses or adapt an existing one in which paupers would live. All families had to be separated from one another, women, men and children were all put in separate dormitories. They were made to live under strict conditions. The intention was to make it such an unpleasant place that it would only be entered as a last resort. ‘Principle of less Eligibility’ meant that working conditions inside the workhouses were worse than the conditions on the outside. The daily diet was intended to keep people alive but was deliberately kept uninteresting, beds resembled coffins and ‘It was a true test between real pauperism and mere poverty, (Shuter.P 18 p144). Paupers were then given a uniform to wear with the letter ‘P’ for pauper on the back followed by the letter of the Parish. It was seen as a triumph that by making conditions worse in the workhouse a pauper would think twice about entering and if they did enter then they would have to pay the price, which was the cruel conditions. Punishing the paupers for their mistakes was seen as an incentive to get them back on their feet quicker. A report kept in a book that recorded punishments said ‘ Twenty nine women at the mill, neglecting and refusing to work, dinner and supper and milk stopped’ (Shuter, D 18 p144).


The Poor Law Amendment Act 184 eventually led to immediate and visible economies, from an average of £6.75 million pounds per year in 180-4, the cost went down to £4.5 millions for 185-. This was mainly due to the poor fearing the workhouses. There were those who opposed the new law, workhouses were labelled as ‘Bastilles’ after a notorious French prison stormed during the revolution. The Times newspaper ‘A champion of Laissez-faire’ did not like the central administrators, they repeatedly printed articles condemning the Poor Law and the Commissioners.


Furthermore political riots broke out in the North of England, unemployment in the growing industrial cities tended to be short term therefore recipients of poor relief required only temporary help, further more to criticize workers as able bodied idle added insult to injury. The Poor Law did reduce the cost of poor relief in many areas but did not produce ‘well regulated workhouses’. In the Andover scandal many paupers were starving and some were seen to be eating the bits of meat left on the bones that they made to crush in the workhouses, this was very bad for their health. Furthermore the cornerstone of the workhouse and of the outdoor relief was widely ignored and in 1847 the Poor Law Board replaced the Commission. (Martin, D 000 p 68).


Despite this The Poor Law Amendment Act was an attempt to deal with pauperism that just did not have the effect hoped by all. It was impossible to enforce the ‘Principle of Eligibility’ there was not enough space in workhouses to accommodate labourers who applied for the relief during the trade depression. The Poor Law Commission adopted a severe attitude to the poor assuming that all poverty wascaused by laziness. The real causes to the problem were overlooked such as population overgrowth and industrial changes.





Culpin, C (187) Making Modern Britain; Collins Educational


Martin, D (000) Britain 1815-1851 London; John Murray.


Mason, S (188) Work Out Social & Economic History London; Macmillan Education


Shuter, P & Child, J (18) The Changing Face of Britain; Heinneman Eduactional


Taylor, D (188) Mastering Economic and Social History Macmillan


Tonge, N (1) Industrialisation & Society 1700-114 Surrey; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.


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Website

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Romeo and Juliet seems to be a story with eternal appeal.How does Shakespeare shape the audience’s response in Romeo & Juliet?”

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Throughout time, the story of Romeo and Juliet has certainly proved to withhold eternal appeal. Originating as an Italian poem, which was later translated into English and French, many historical and contemporary writers, inspired by the elaborate story, composed reworks of their own interpretation. One such rework, written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), has long been the most sought-after version of the story since his time. Today, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has endlessly been retold throughout many generations, ethnic groups and audiences. In the analysis of three key episodes from the story, this essay will investigate the methods Shakespeare undertakes to shape the audience’s responses in Romeo and Juliet, and attempt to establish a connection explaining why these responses make Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet a story with eternal appeal.


The first episode which will be analysed, is the opening section of Act , Scene ; Friar Lawrence’s speech (II, iii, 1-0). In his speech, Friar Lawrence constantly includes the juxtaposition of words that are antithetical in nature, with each antithetical pair in a rhyming couplet


(A) The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;


(A) What is her burying grave, that is her womb;


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(II, iii, -10)





(B) The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,


(B) Check’ring the eastern clouds with streaks of light;


(II, iii, 1-)


There are many possible explanations for why Shakespeare may have composed Friar Lawrence’s speech in this way. His use of rhyming antitheses alludes to the presence of a balancing force in the story. Just as every negative word (tomb, night) in Friar Lawrence’s speech is balanced with a positive word (womb, light), many phrases, circumstances and incidents in Romeo and Juliet include similar atmospheric contrasts


Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,


Still-waking sleep, what is not what it is!


(I, i, 171-17)


- Contrasts are found in Romeo’s use of oxymorons and the juxtaposition of certain words.


If they do see thee, they will murder thee.


(II, ii, 70)


- In this incident, the romantic encounter between Romeo and Juliet is contrasted by the harsh reality of Romeo’s death if he is found on Capulet’s grounds. Similarly, the love between Romeo and Juliet is constantly placed in a contrasting, hateful context throughout the play.


Sampson …when I have fought with the men, I will be civil with the maids; I will cut off their heads.


Gregory The heads of the maids?


Samson Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt.


Gregory They must take it in sense that feel it.


Sampson Me they shall feel while I am able to stand, and ‘tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.


(I, i, 18-6)


- Capulet’s servants make use of puns to joke about sex, an act of supposed reverence and veneration, using language which is contrarily, aggressive and violent.


Shakespeare’s inclusion of these allusions in Friar Lawrence’s speech somehow imparts a feeling of anticipation within the audience. In this way, Shakespeare shapes the audience’s response, in that as more similar allusions are made, the more eager the audience becomes for the resolution of the story; the outcome of the innumerable conflicts which abound in the play. With this added feeling of suspense in the story, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is further assisted in its quest for eternal appeal.


Another reason why Shakespeare may have used rhyming antitheses in Friar Lawrence’s speech, is to allow for further different interpretations of the play. As Friar Lawrence makes use of these antitheses, he introduces ideas and themes which connote differently to the audience (i.e. womb vs tomb), possibly influencing them to interpret the play in different ways. Evidence of the possible different interpretations of the play, can be realised when attempting to explain the reason for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet


It is my lady, O it is my love


(II, ii, 10)


- It could be said that it was the passion that existed between Romeo and Juliet that caused their deaths.


…peace? I hate the word,


As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.


(I, i, 5-60)


- However, it could also be argued that the hate of the feud between their families was to blame.


O writ with me in sour misfortune’s book!


(V, iii, 8)


- Perhaps fate may have destined them to die.


Whose misadventured piteous overthrows


(Prologue, 7)


- It may have been mere chance.


All of these statements are completely valid interpretations of the story, and none of them can be proven false. Therefore, with Shakespeare’s success in giving the story of Romeo and Juliet a wider range of meanings, thus shaping the audience’s response in many different ways, the story is able to be broadened in its intricacy - eternally appealing to a larger audience.


The second episode which will be analysed, is the middle section of Act , Scene ; the encounter between Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 6-6). The dialogue that takes place in this section clearly identifies the contrasting identities between the two lovers


Juliet How cam’st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?


The orchard walls are high and hard to climb;


And the place death, considering who thou art,


If any of my kinsmen find thee here.


(II, ii, 6-65)


- Juliet is concerned for Romeo in a practical ‘down-to-earth’ manner.


Romeo With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls,


For stony limits cannot hold love out,


And what love can do, that dares love attempt;


Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.


(II, ii, 66-6)


- Romeo replies to Juliet in an indirect way, which is impractical, fantastic and perhaps condescending to Juliet.


Another contrast that can be found in the characters of Romeo and Juliet, can be seen in the types of love that they experience


Juliet O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?


Deny thy father and refuse thy name;


Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,


And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.


(II, ii, -6)


- Juliet loudly expresses her love for Romeo without the knowledge of his presence. The audience is therefore conveyed with the message that the love which Juliet feels is true love, which wasn’t intended to be announced, or meticulously prepared for a listening audience.


Romeo Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.


(I, i, 05)


- In contrast, Romeo’s supposed feelings of love may in fact be lust.


Shakespeare may have created these differences in the characters of Romeo and Juliet, to explore the theme of love through different perspectives. Shakespeare presents Juliet’s love for Romeo as true and genuine, and relates it to her character of practicality and earthly concern. Then in contrast, Romeo’s experiences of love is presented to be infatuation and lust at its core, with relation to his fantastic and embellished ways of speech. Shakespeare elaborates on these different perspectives of love, in an attempt to relate to the whole audience. Shakespeare continually tries to shape the audience’s response in the play, to that of familiarity, exploring characteristics which are analogical to those present in today’s society. As a result, the story is able to become more universal, and eternally appealing.


The third episode which will be analysed, is the middle section of Act 5, Scene ; the combat between Romeo and Paris (V, iii, 4-87). During this combat, Romeo is unaware that his opponent is Paris until he has finally killed him





… Let me peruse this face.


Mercutio’s kinsman, noble Country Paris!


(V, iii, 74-75)


Shakespeare has purposely designed the plot so that Romeo would not know his aggressor until after he is killed, in order to keep Romeo’s character innocent, and under good light. Since Paris has never been presented as an antagonist in the play, the audience may in fact sympathise for Paris at the event of his death, perhaps leading to the appearance of demoralisation in the character of his slayer, Romeo. To prevent this possible response from the audience, Shakespeare brings Romeo to a state of ignorance, in the hope that the audience’s response will be shaped to maintain their sympathy and benevolent views of him. He does this with the realisation that it is important for Romeo to continually be seen as a protagonist in the play, so that there continues to be an appreciation of the love that he shares for Juliet. Without this appreciation, the whole story of Romeo and Juliet becomes meaningless and uninspiring; attitudes counter-productive to it’s eternal appeal.


In conclusion, Shakespeare’s wide-ranging uses of language techniques, themes and intricately devised plots, have all contributed to a masterpiece of clever proficiency and competence. Through the story of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare has been able to shape his audience’s responses, to that of anticipation, differentiation, familiarity and continued sympathy, in the orchestration of a story with eternal appeal.





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Hamlet

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Tom Stoppard has transformed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, (here on in, written as RAGAD) from Hamlet written by Shakespeare. Both Stoppard and Shakespeare have created and presented values and themes related to their times and have been influenced by the social, cultural and historical contexts. The change of perspectives on the themes of death, fate and destiny, appearances versus reality and the use of tragedy and comedy is every present within the transformation of the two plays. Stoppard has transformed his entire play from Hamlet, by altering the focus from the Prince of Denmark to the destiny of two ordinary people.


A major transformation within Stoppard’s RAGAD is the concept of death. In Hamlet, death was portrayed in a very dramatic theatrical style, involving violence, blood, poisoning and duels. Hamlet also contemplates suicides and human mortality in a very deep and complex manner. Yet Stoppard has transformed death, to be almost amusing and casual in a number of ways as he imagines himself alive in a box, which is a contradiction in itself, creating humour. Ros then concludes, “Life in a box is better than caught alive in a box, becomes a metaphor for Ros and Guildenstern’s (here on in, written as Guil) life, as they are trapped on the stage and have no control. But Guil has a very different and blatant perception of death; “it’s not gasps and blood and falling about…it’s just a man failing to reappear, that’s all- now you see him, now you don’t.” Stoppard has transformed the concept of death from Hamlet, as something dramatic and sensational, to everyday and causal. This transformation is due to change in context. During Elizabethan times, death within a tragedy was expected and very dramatic, yet during the 160’s death was accept and was no longer acknowledged in the same light. Society had already gone through two worlds wars and experienced a major loss of life and has become somewhat desensitised


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Comparison and Contrast between the book the Giver and the movie Gattaca

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The Underground Railroad


There are probably many people who wonder about the Underground Railroad or how slaves could travel on trains and ships without being discovered. Well, for those who may not know, the Underground Railroad was a secret network organized by people who helped men, women, and children escape from slavery to freedom. It existed before the Civil War ended slavery in the Unites States. The Underground Railroad gave hiding places, food, and transportation for the people who were trying to escape slavery. Equally important, slaves trying to escape to freedom were also given directions for the safest way to get further North on the risky road trip to freedom.


The people who helped slaves escape were called conductors or engineers. The places where people stayed on their way to escape were called stations. Escaping slaves were called passengers, cargo, or goods. Conductors helped passengers get from one station to the next, and traveled with escaping slaves from the South, where they had been slaves, to the North where they would be free. Sometimes, the conductors traveled a certain amount of distance and then handed the escaping slaves to another conductor.


Besides wondering what the Underground Railroad was about, a question that may remain in people’s minds is, “How could slaves travel on trains or ships without being discovered?” A large number of slaves who escaped in trains or ships borrowed or forged legal papers that said that they were free. One of the reasons that slaveholders did not want


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slaves to learn how to read and write was because they were afraid that slaves would forge these papers. Surprisingly, slaves borrowed papers from free blacks. An example of this is Frederick Douglas. When Frederick Douglas escaped by riding the train from Baltimore to New York, he borrowed the freedom papers of a black sailor. Obviously, he could show these to the train’s conductor, as evidence that he had the right to be going northward. He later mailed these back to his friend.


One way to free slaves out of the South was to pack them up and ship them as packages. For example, in the winter of 1857, a young woman in Baltimore was boxed up by her friend, taken to a train station, and sent to Philadelphia. The woman did not have a lot of air, water, and food. The box rolled over numerous amounts of times in which the woman tumbled along. The following day, the box got to Philadelphia around ten in the morning. The free friend traveled to Philadelphia to be there when the box came. He hired a man who drove a one-horse wagon to pick up the box and bring it to Mrs. Myers’ house, a free black woman. She received many people traveling on the Underground Railroad. Mrs. Myers was afraid that the woman could be dead after the long ride, but she survived, although she was very weak. She could not speak at first, and it took her three days to become strong enough to talk in a normal way. She almost died in the box, but the eagerness to become free was so strong that she risked it and was successful.


The work of the Underground Railroad helped earn freedom for many men, women, and children. It also helped reduce slavery, which was finally stopped in the United States during the Civil War.





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In my opinion, a lot of slaveholders must have been angry at the success that the Underground Railroad had, but in reality, what the slaveholders were doing was wrong. I’m glad that many people had the opportunity to become free. There are people today that take living a free life for granted and put it into jeopardy by doing inappropriate things like using drugs, using weapons for violence etc…and do not realize that people like the slaves in the Underground Railroad risked their lives by trying to travel North in boxes as freight and forging papers saying they were free. You only live once and what better way to enjoy it while being free.








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The Burning of Knowledge

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The Burning of Knowledge


The story, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury was a well developed novel. This novel takes place during the future in Elm City where all houses are fireproof, people drive jet cars, and firefighters burn books. The word phoenix had symbolized immorality. In this novel, the peoples’ only hope was that the phoenix would be burned out and be reborn again. The myth of the phoenix gave optimism to the life of Montag, to the books, and to the world of Fahrenheit 451. The world was now dying and nobody seemed to care. The government had brainwashed the people. It was a situation where not only the brave but the ones who can think for themselves could help break the government’s control. In the duration of the story, Montag tries to show that books are important and we all have equal rights.


The life that Montag had was a bumpy road. He thought he had a great life because he enjoyed his job. Soon Montag discovered that he was not happy at all and that his life was nothing. He never really understood why. His wife Mildred did not love him at all, and his only friend was Clarisse, which died in a car accident. He then thought maybe it was because his wife pulled the fire alarm on him, but really it was he who did not love her at all. “It’s strange, I don’t miss her at all (155).” Montag was uncertain about his marriage because marriage was suppose to be bonded with love, but with his marriage, love was nowhere to be found. His life had died when his wife Mildred pulled the alarm and had told the firemen that Montag had books. The books were like candy to Montag. He did not know why he liked them, but he always wanted more. Soon after, Captain Beatty forced Montag to burn his own house. His soul had died soon after, but then resurrected. His life which was supposed to be happy was burning right in front of his eyes. It was ironic that Montag was a fireman himself but like the phoenix, Montag rose from his own ashes. Montag was now reborn because he knew his life was wrong and the world was wrong as well. He did not know why it was wrong but he knew that he had to do something about it. He started that by burning Captain Beatty into “a charred wax doll (11).” Montag now had the feeling of hope. He now had broken the control of the government and was using the books as his aid.


In the real world, people were always talking about how people wasted paper, which means wasting trees, but in the world of Fahrenheit 451, every tree that had been cut down were used for books but now were being burned away. To the people of Fahrenheit 451, “books show the pores the face of life (8).” The people were scared and uncertain about books, so society decided to hire firemen to burn the books. Although most people were scared of books, the books acted like their own phoenix by giving people some hope. Such as Montag and Faber. If it wasn’t for the law of prohibiting books, Montag might have never seen the light, and if it wasn’t for the women who was burned with the books, Montag might have seen what the book actually meant to people.. Therefore, the books themselves had been reborn. Books were made to be read, but even without reading, Montag was able to see what they meant to society.


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The world of Fahrenheit 451 was quite different from the world now. Instead of people fighting for equal rights, people were already equal. Equal is everything from physical abilities to mental abilities. No problem right? But one constant problem was everyone were always trying to commit suicide. They tried to attempt this because living in the world of Fahrenheit 451 was like hell. Nobody was allowed to express their ideas, think, or even enjoy life. It seemed the world had no hope in changing. The government thought that they had destroyed the main force against them. But the people themselves were optimistic about living a better world, and now had formed an alliance to help restore the world. Montag was one of them. He and many others believed a new world with individuality. All of a sudden, the phoenix symbolized the suicides, books, and hope. If it weren’t for those three things, Fahrenheit 451 would still be living in a nightmare. They would live in a world where they would be living a life that was controlled by someone. Like the old saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new” really fitted as the motto for the world of Fahrenheit 451. Many people were dying because they just wanted to escape from the world, but some believed that if they die, a new world will be born with individuality, hoping this time, the world would not fly to close to the sun.


Hope was a word many people used to help them succeed in something. As for the people in Fahrenheit 451, the word phoenix was the driving force that would help them fly over the fire. This was a world which many people hoped to live in because in this world nothing happened and that was the problem. It was a world where being equal had a price, a price which many people would never want, their individuality. The government tried their hardest to control the people, but it was a myth that came and helped guided them through the way. A myth that came from books, that were not being burned. It was a myth which people were not allowed to read about, but at the end, the myth over came all obstacles and now had brightened the sun for many. This event had help proving that not everyone could ever be equal, because there would always be people who would write the other way.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

How does Shakespeare present the character of Henry V

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Henry V is presented as a strong and capable King.


Is this an accurate description of Shakespeare’s


Henry V?


Henry VI became King by taking the crown off Richard II, Henry received the crown in 141 after his father died. Some say Henry V’s behaviour was a punishment for his father’s crime. Many people thought Henry would take advantage of his rights. People got this idea because of his wild, natural youth, even though he had witnessed a first hand account of war since the age of 1. Henry V had a reputation of drinking, gambling and lying. Henry therefore gave the impression he would be a bad king. Their opinions changed and so did Henry when he became King of England.


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Henry V was a brave skilled leader, he was realistic about the war he knew what the effect of war was and what was expected of him, he also knew many of his man would die as they English were out numbered. Henry was very down to earth and before the battle he chose to be with his soldiers, to see what they thought of the war and how they were feeling. Unlike the French and Dauphin who sat away from his soldiers in a tent of his own talking about his armour and horses.


He shows himself to be a king who is dominant. He ignores problems in England his home country so he can expand his empire and his assets in France. Henry took extreme risks and some how these risks did not bring him to a nasty downfall or disaster.


Henry is faulted for the need of insight; even thought the victory at Agincourt was exceptional, the British were soon to lose the French lands. Henry V appears to be almost immature in his irresponsible-risk-taking conduct. Shakespeare shows that if Henry had not been as successful as he was he would not have been thought of as a hero by the British instead they would of thought him to be greedy and therefore detested him.


The war was a glorious power in Henry’s eyes waiting to be controlled. Henry however much of a bad youth still turned to his faith for help, unlike many kings he asked and waited for a reply from the church before he went to war. The church gave the idea to go to war because it would distract Henry from collecting the taxes form the church. In going to war with the French, he risked all of England that was a country that had its own share of problems. When Henry called upon the Bishop of Canterbury for his opinion on the justice of his claim to the French throne, he does it in a way that is intimidating he warns the bishop of the dangers. “And god forbid my dear and faithful lord, that you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading ”Act I, scene II, ll.1-14.


Henry knows he can make a claim to the French throne because the Salic law, which applies in England, states that “ You can not inherit land through the mothers side of the family” luckily for Henry this law did not apply in France and his claim to the throne came form his great great grandmother.


Henry was a very good leader as he not only put his soldiers in danger he risked his own life. He had a lot of courage considering there were greatly out numbered. He was highly thought of and people honoured him and this meant a lot to Henry. He was very ambitious and talked a lot about his success that would happen, “ Me in my throne in France.” Act I scene II, ll. 76. Again before the battle of Harfleur he says “France being ours, we’ll bend it to awe or break it all into pieces.” Act I, Scene II, ll 5





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Jim Crow

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The Jim Crow South


Early in the 1th century the term Jim Crow referred to a minstrel show character created by white actor Thomas Dartmouth Daddy Rice. By the end of the 1th century the term began to be applied to laws and customs which oppressed African-Americans. The racial caste system overwhelmed Blacks with the harsh realities of dehumanization, stereotyping, and the segregation of daily life in the Jim Crow South. However, within the combined efforts of The Great Migration of the post war era, the work of organizations on the national level, as well as the effort of everyday African-Americans, an overall push from segregation to civil rights resulted.


For the vast majority of southern blacks, the horror of Jim Crow meant that they were forced to live behind a virtual veil. This created a psychological ploy in which blacks assumed the position of non-confrontation. As many whites refused to acknowledge the humanity of African-Americans, most blacks had to hide their true feelings and personalities in the presence of white people. Sometimes, this masking meant shuffling and feigning irresponsibility; sometimes, it meant turning the other cheek and walking away rather than responding to white insults. But almost always, it meant conforming to a pattern of racial etiquette in day-to-day affairs. Blacks avoided looking whites in the eyes and were expected to stare at the ground when addressing whites of both sexes. Black customers had to show deference to white customers while shopping. They were usually not permitted to try on clothing in white businesses, as it was commonly believed that white customers would not purchase clothes that black customers had tried on. Adult African Americans were seldom afforded titles of respect by whites, as described by Mr. Young, a black male whose account was recorded in “Remembering Jim Crow.” “White men and women were addressed as Mr. and Mrs. You didn’t address blacks that way.” They were instead referred to by their first names or by the words boy, girl, auntie, uncle, and frequently, nigger. Most blacks fully understood that putting on the face in the presence of whites was one of the many tactics they used to survive.


African-Americans fought inner struggles over the humiliating image of blacks depicted in circuses, minstrel shows, song, and in the twentieth century, films and radio programs. In popular culture, black people were portrayed as lazy and silly bumpkins, high-strutting dandies who foolishly mimicked white elites, or simple-minded and contented darkies who simply loved their white patrons. Blacks had to ask themselves many questions how does one learn to live behind a veil or to put on a mask of deference and become a shadow? How does an individual grow to be self-respecting, promising person when acting this way around white people would lead to beatings, job discrimination, or even death? When did little African-American boys learn to never look at white girls or speak to them directly? How did they force themselves to behave one way in the presence of whites and yet step out from behind the veil when at home with family and friends? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions blacks dealt with the Jim Crow South.


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Completing one’s daily routine was but another degrading aspect of the life of an African-American in the beginnings of the 0th century. Within every waking moment Blacks were faced with dehumanizing laws that kept them as second- class citizens. In the film “Road to Brown,” these elitist rules created two separate America’s. Black America couldn’t swear on white America’s bibles, die in their hospitals, sip from the same water fountain, or even stand within a specified distance from the white populace. Within the documentary a victim of Jim Crow aptly stated, “you abide by those laws or you, [would] be hauled off to jail, that simple.” Justice and equality was but a distant goal for African-American’s living in this harsh segregation.


The threat of physical pain, public humiliation, and death held Jim Crow laws firmly in place. However, people did eventually begin to fight against the system. Immediate relief from this oppression was found in the flight of millions of African-Americans to the North, commonly known as The Great Migration. Much of the desire to flee the South and to resist segregation legally and politically resulted from the experience of African-American soldiers in World War I. African-American service-men were confronted with the realities of the military’s own segregation despite their patriotic motives. A biographer in the documentary “Road to Brown,” described the sentiment that ran through the ranks of black soldiers in that there was “…No sense dying for a world run by them.” Why should these men fight for a democracy that in theory treated them as equals but in reality oppressed their race? No true democracy would result until the rights of African-Americans were placed back into their own hands. This American dissention was especially dangerous and important because of its un-American stance. Young black soldiers home from Europe found Jim Crow Laws especially grueling. Similar patterns occurred after World War II, when over a million and a half African Americans left the South. During this time there was no longer room for the passive African Americans, willing to accept the white man’s cruelty. These enlightened individuals fought harder than ever to seek the “democracy” that they fought for overseas, but were denied in their homeland. As poignantly stated the film “Freedom Bags,” “When the world told them they should be content; they continued to dream.”


Efforts to disassemble the structure of Jim Crow Laws also began on a national level. Led by the NAACP, the labors of civil rights leaders and followers continued to grow. The NAACP worked vehemently under the leadership of Charles H. Houston and Thurgood Marshall to provide precedents in which to bring the demise of Jim Crow Segregation. These cases eventually led to the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that enabled blacks throughout the country to have faith in the growing cause. Prior to these victories, success had only been viewed on a small scale and had never attracted such attention. The death of Jim Crow was not immediately observed after this ruling (Cook 85), but the victory was essential to the growth of the civil rights movement in the 160’s. African-Americans desperately needed organizations, such as the NAACP, to take a leadership role against discrimination and lead them into a new era of change.


Although grass-roots activism had been present since the turn of the century, widespread participation of African-Americans was not observed until much later. This participation was viewed in the simple defiant protest and attempt of blacks to exercise their right to vote. For decades whites had successfully alienated blacks from one another to prevent a massive movement. But in victories such as Randolph’s March on Washington, and through an increasing focus of the Liberal Branch of the Democratic Party on civil rights, blacks came to see their worth. A single united voice in the Jim Crow South was finally heard amongst the chorus of millions of other oppressed blacks.


Although the Jim Crow South lays dead and buried, this era is only a few decades in our past. The cruel reality of white and black relations, racial labels, and everyday life in this movement still aches in the hearts of millions. However, freedom is a reality for African Americans today, owing much to the victory in the brutal struggle of yesterday’s freedom-fighters in the massive migration, the labors of national organizations, as well as the efforts of grass-roots activism.





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