The work I reviewed is the 2000 film based on real story Erin Brockovich. The woman the film is named after is an American activist who fought a gas and oil conglomerate in the Mojave Desert. Brockovich is played by Julia Roberts and the storyline follows her journey as she fights against largescale environmental injustice. Said injustice came namely in the form of groundwater contamination by way of Pacific Gas & Electric between the years of 1954 and 1966. PG&E disposed of a carcinogenic hexavalent chronium in Hinkley’s local water supply leading to a multitude of serious and long-term health conditions in local residents. Brockovich stumbles on a single case and upon doing more research she is completely appalled by the blatant lies and cover-ups by PG&E. The film follows Brockovich along as she meets and gets to know the people in Hinkley affected, forming a connection with each one, with all of the actors in the resulting lawsuit likely regarding her as a friend. Erin Brockovich is widely renowned for her tenacity, passion, and bold nature; all of which are evident in her contributions to the class action suit involving PG&E and Hinkley. The film has a somewhat heroic tone with the ending showing the effects of the $333 million settlement gained, largely in part to Brockovich, marking this particular case as the largest class action settlement in U.S. history (at the time).
The story itself is obviously laced with injustice and has an overall heroic tone as I mentioned. Concepts of othering are extremely relevant as PG&E is a large conglomerate and clearly considered the “little people” to be others. The disregard for something as monumental as local citizen’s health is infuriating, and that theme is continued throughout the course of the film. The director allowed the injustice to drive the plot, but portrayed it from the perspective of the wronged. Predating the Flint Michigan crisis, the film was largely groundbreaking as the general public’s lack of knowledge, as well as of the environmental/public health concerns of big oil and gas, is largely lacking.
The work that I decided to review today is the movie, Just Mercy. This movie is a drama that was released in 2019 and based on the bestselling book by Bryan Stevenson. This is a powerful and moving story of a young lawyer defending those wrongly imprisoned in Alabama. The case he takes on is the case of Walter McMillen, a man who was imprisoned and sentenced to death for a crime that he did not commit. The movie follows Bryan Stevenson speaking up and seeking justice for this man trapped in a system that is doing everything it can to ignore the facts. We see the racism and injustice that takes place and occurs to people of color in this country. Police encounters and the legal system have deep systemic racism roots that need to be addressed. This movie touches on many different subjects regarding the racism so many black men and women experience in their lifetimes. Many truly believe that they are condemned since the moment they are born and it is a reality that white people don’t see, are ignorant to, or have never been exposed to before in the media. The legal system is flawed and this movie was able to bring attention to this topic. Throughout our course, we looked at various works that touched on the equality of this country due to race, for example, “Recitatif” by Tony Morrison and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These works focus on the systemic issue that many refuse to recognize. This movie accomplished the goal of adapting the book and raising awareness for this issue. It was an eye-opening movie that sparked conversation and confrontation to the problem that has been ignored for too long. It is a true story that demonstrated the flaws of the system but the hope in battling them to create a better future.
The text I chose to review for this assignment is The Hunger Games. The series consists of 3 books, but the overlying theme of them all is the government is in total control, living affluent lives in the capital, while everyone else in the US is living in poverty. Every 4 years the Hunger Games are hosted and once you turn the age of 13 you name is added to the count. If you are selected you are forced to fight to the death and if you win you receive a nice house, riches and to never have to enter the hunger games again.
President Snow is the leader the Panem and holds all the power. If anyone attempts to flee or not accept government decisions they are tied to a steak in the middle of the districts and whipped infant of the town, or possible killed. President Snow is able to have sole power because his power comes from the fear he inflicts. When Katniss and Peta the two man characters are the last two alive in the Hunger Games, rather than one of them killing the other (the way its supposed to go) then attempt to kill themselves together. The Game Makers stop them before they succeed and they are pronounced the 2 winners. This strips a lot of power from President Snow as Katniss and Peta showed the entirety of Panem that it is possible to uphold president Snow. Winning the Hunger Games not only raises the class of Katniss and Peta and the actions they performed but they hold power from disobeying capital laws and remaining alive. This infuriates Snow as he makes it his mission to kill Katniss as her stunt created a cascade effect of rebellion in the districts.
This is similar to DeBeauvoirs’ excepts on “the Other”. There is The One and then the “Other” which is usually the undesired and the lesser option. In Hunger Games the people of Panem are the other’s as they are all poor, unrepresented and under strict control. Relating to the Hunger Games, President Snow “sets himself up as the essential, as opposed to the other, the inessential, the object.” This is a strong representation as to what President Snow is doing and demonstrates that President Snow somehow made him self essential and made and treats the people of Panem as objects.
Collins, S., 2008. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press.
sarner, l., 2021. Why the ‘Hunger Games’ prequel book is so controversial. [online] New York Post. Available at: <https://nypost.com/2020/01/22/why-the-hunger-games-prequel-book-is-so-controversial/> [Accessed 25 April 2021].
The Blind Side is an award-winning movie that will undoubtedly tug at your heart strings leaving tears welling up in your eyes at one point or another. The true story made into film is about a Memphis boy being adopted by a determined mother of two. After driving by Michael Oher walking on the side of the road, Leigh Anne Tuohy alerts her husband to stop so she can make sure this young man does not need a ride home. After questioning where she can take him, she quickly learns he has nowhere to go and offers a place to stay for the night. As the story progresses Michael moves in with the Tuohy’s and eventually Leigh Anne and Sean adopt him.
The number of injustices in this real-life story is very telling that we need more Leigh Anne’s in the world. Michael was the son of a drug addicted mother, who had many other children to look after and lived in an underserved area with a father that was in and out of jail. To say he was neglected is an understatement. The Tuohy’s, a white family, was criticized by others for taking in this poor, young, black man. In one scene we watch as Leigh Anne listens to a message on the answering machine of a relative asking if they knew there was a “colored boy” in the Christmas card. Michael ends up playing football for his high school team and becomes quite good in his position, so good in fact he is vigorously recruited by many college teams. Towards the end of the movie Michael gets questioned as an investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association is underway with concerns the Tuohy’s adopted him so he could attend and play for their alma mater. Everything works out with a very heartwarming ending.
In this film we see black versus white, rich versus poor, a strong woman lead, drug and gang issues, and an assumption by a collegiate organization that Michael was adopted into this family for recruitment purposes. Michael struggles in the film to fit in anywhere and even goes back to where he used to live because he was having a hard time in this white family. This displays intersectionality that he as a poor, black man does not fit with a white, rich family and thinks his destiny is to join a gang in the inner city. When he is pointed out on different instances of being the black man in a white family, we are experiencing the theory of the “other.” Leigh Anne never gives up on him and truly sees him as her beloved son. Once he realizes that for himself, we see the third space that Leigh Anne created for him to be himself and be a part of this family, his family. As we all know this story had a very happy ending as Michael Oher had a successful professional career in the NFL. The courage Leigh Anne had to fight these injustices is more admirable than anyone can put into words.
ABC news. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/blind-side-star-quinton-aaron-opens-bullied/story?id=38397055
Board, O. (2015, November 30). Leigh Anne Tuohy and Michael oher’s story is featured in the film “The Blind Side.” #OSUSPEAKERS PIC.TWITTER.COM/DK2IXZCSBL. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://twitter.com/osuspeakers/status/671403084371767296
The blind side [Motion picture]. (2009). Warner Bros.
The text I decide to review is a music album “Snow On Tha Bluff” by Jermaine Cole, better known as J.Cole. This album has only one song which shares the same name with the album. In the album, J.Cole criticizes the views of a Chicago activist and rapper, Noname. Noname has been doubtful of her peer’s inactive protests across the country for justice after the police murdering George Floyd and other victims. “Poor black folks all over the country are putting their bodies on the line in protest for our collective safety and y’all favorite top selling rappers not even willing to put a tweet up,” Noname tweeted before later deleting. In the album”Snow On Tha Bluff”, J.Cole says that he is bothered by Noname’s “queen tone”. He further explains in the lyrics “She strike me as somebody blessed enough to grow up in conscious environment” and suggests that not everyone is growing up well educated and has a clear understanding of justice. In the middle of the song, J.Cole responds to Nomame that it is more important to “convey and help get us up to speed” instead of “blame and attack the very same people that really do need”. In the end, he claims that it is more effective to treat those people like children, “understanding the time and love and patience that is needed to grow”.
Personally, I recall the concept of “identity” that I have learned in this course. I believe that this album represents a conflict between two identities that has different persperctive and awareness towards the system and injustice. Their distinct experiences and growing up environment have shaped them into two different identities that hold contrasting opinions. However, in the albums, J.Cole also mentions that he respects and honors the perspective of other identities and that Noname as a leader in these time and makes himself do a lot of thinking about the situation. Just like J.Cole points out in the album that “when I see something that is valid I listen” and “struggles with thoughts daily”.
After reviewing the album, I realized that it is normal that we have different or even conflicting opinions as we have distinct identities, but it is more important to reflect and accept the perspective with a positive attitude. We have to appreciate and value others’ views that challenge our beliefs so that we can become better by contemplating and reflecting.
The text I selected for this text review assignment is a book by Sarah J. Maas called A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is book is a fantasy romance novel and involves humans and faeries, which are described as being immortal people that live north of a magical wall in the lands of Prythian. The main difference between humans and Fae is that humans lack magic. In this book, a human girl, Feyre, falls in love with a very powerful Faerie and sacrifices herself for him and other faeries to break a deadly curse.
Within this book, the main character, Feyre, is trying to find her true self, one that she is happy with. Feyre went from being a poor human girl who single handedly kept her family alive due to her hunting skills, to a High Fae with strong powers and then became a strong, independent woman. This book focuses on her finding herself and then being content with the self that she builds.
Power is a topic in this book that is constantly talked about. Each Fae character has their own magical powers, but this book also touches on the conflict of power between each court. Each court wants to be the most powerful and led by the most powerful leaders, High Fae. This conflict of power leads to destruction among the seven courts, all power hungry.
I think that the author wants us to question the importance of power: is it more important than love? Why does Feyre choose love over power when every other person she surrounds herself with would have chosen power over love? I think the Sarah J. Maas wants us to think about the implications of being too power hungry can do to a person. I also think she wants us to think about how important it is for a person to find their true self and purpose and then be happy with it. Comparing this text to our class material, I think that the humans would be considered the Other in this situation. Humans are viewed as either slaves or useless; Faeries wanted to separate themselves from humans so much that they created an entire wall from magic just so they could not come into contact with humans, furthering the Other concept.
Picture credit: Zimmerli, Rachel. “The Pros and Cons of Reading Acotar.” Web. 25 Apr. 2021.
For this assignment, the first movie I thought of was “The Help” which is based off a book written by Kathryn Stockett published in 2009. The movie is about an aspiring author writing a book from the point of view of African American maids working for white families and their everyday life during the civil rights movement. In Jackson, Mississippi, the setting of the movie, many white families hired African American help to perform everyday tasks, like cooking and cleaning, as well as to raise their children. Within the movie, the two main African American maids were Minny and Aibileen. With many laws and negative views regarding sharing details about their treatment and lives as maids, Minny and Aibileen, as well as others, spoke up to share their stories with Skeeter. Skeeter was a recent journalist graduate from Old Miss who moved back to Jackson to start her writing career. Being one of the white children raised by an African American woman and viewing the hardships they endured, she decided to take a risk and create a story where the maids told their stories. The movie brings to light the racism and sexism occurring during the 1960s.
This movie addressed and discussed many of the social injustices prevalent during that time. One of the main social injustices throughout the whole movie was racism. African American men and women were treated completely different than white men and women. Even though slavery was abolished, in the south there still remained laws like Jim Crow that allowed African Americans to be treated unequally. The movie showed places being separated based on race, African Americans not being payed minimum wage, and still being treated like slaves. Within the movie, a law was trying to be passed by Hilly, a white woman, where African American maids were not able to use the same bathroom as the family living in that home. Racism was the main social injustice within this movie, but many in the south didn’t see it that way. Like the comment in the movie made by Hilly, “Be careful, there are some real racist out there.” Another social injustice that was shown in the movie, but not as prevalent as racism, was sexism. For African American and white women, the men controlled the household. White women were not supposed to work, which is why many women told Skeeter to find a husband so she could quit her job and have children. Women were not supposed to state their opinions on social injustices like Skeeter and the African American maids did when telling and writing their stories. The movie displayed many of the social injustices like racism and sexism during the 1960s.
The completely different lifestyles of the white and African American characters within the movie relate to the ideas of subalterns. Within the movie and the south during the 1960s, African Americans were considered the subalterns. African Americans had the voice to speak, but white men and women held the power to not allow them to be heard. This results in the subalterns have not having a voice. By the end of the movie, the subalterns or African Americans started to become heard by those in power, white men and women, by publishing their book revealing the truths about their jobs and lives. The subalterns started added value and knowledge to a conversation which gained the ability to be heard.
For my text review, I am choosing to analyze the show Altered carbon. In this show it is a Dystopian society, where essentially you can upload your consciousness to a disk, and if you want to live forever. Your body only serves a purpose as a sleeve, and you can also choose to upgrade your sleeves if you want to, but only if you have the means, and most people don’t. In this show people of higher power, and more money are also able to live amongst themselves basically in the clouds. This show displays the injustice in the society very prominently, because they will also exploit working class members for their entertainment. For example the whole premise of the show was built off of one of the characters, who is the richest man of their society, who chose to take the disc of technically a former terrorist, and put it into a different sleeve just so he could have help with a case he wanted solved. Society is also very divided because there are people who don’t believe that discs should be a part of life, and that people should die naturally. It causes issues between society members, and it also causes issues for society members, because the government is much more controlling behind the scenes than is depicted. In this society the concept of the master slave dialect. The master in this society is this man who holds all the power and money, and with his power no matter how many people dislike him, he still gets everything he wants, because without him many other people wouldn’t have their roles either, and they want to keep their jobs, etc. In this society it is also very hard to work your way up, especially with the discs because it adds a whole extra level of wealth one needs to have in order to live or not the way they want to.
A show that I enjoy watching with my dad is Black-ish that was created by Kenya Barris. The show is a about a black upper middle-class family. The parents, Rainbow who is a doctor and Andre who is an advertising executive do everything that they can so that their own children do not have to grow up struggling the same way that they did but also teach them what the world is like growing up Black in America. My dad and I like this show because it is easy to relate to and a lot of the lessons that Rainbow and Andre are teaching their kids my parents also taught me.
The episode that I watch was episode 7 from season 7, Babes in Boyland. The episode is about how the parents are treat one of their twins, Diane, differently from the other twin, Jack. They yell at Diane for finding her secret Instagram and seeing her pictures and wearing a boy’s sweatshirt. The pictures that Diane posted were of her all covered up in different tank tops or crop tops. After Daine gets lectures about the way she dresses and post she talks to her twin brother and find out that their parents liked Jack’s post when he was without a shirt. Diane brings it up to her parents that they treat her differently from her brother because she is a girl and the sexist world that they live in. It was not fair for her to be lectured about her taking in pictures fully clothes why her parents encourage her to take pictures half naked. (13:30)(https://abc.com/shows/blackish/video/vdka21223338)
The problems that Diane was going through are some of the same problems that Marji goes through and talks about in Persepolis. During the war, her and other women were told to cover up and dress differently. She talks about how in school the girls were told to cover their hair even when it was really hot outside so they do not distract or temp boys. She also talks about how she was stopped while walking by two other women who treated her differently for wearing a jean jacket. She talks about how it was hard for her growing up with people telling her what to do with her body and a lot of other things. We all live in a world woman are not treated as equals compared to men. A woman will do the same thing as a man and she will be shamed for doing it. It has been a problem from the beginning of time. Women are continuously being told to “cove up”, “act like a lady” or slut-shamed compared to the famous phrase that excuses boys’ behavior “boys will be boys”. Diane was not pleased with the mistreatment she was getting and want to make her parents understand that treating her differently from her twin because she was a girl is a big problem that so many girls go through. Her parents should not have lectured her in the way that they did but made their home into a safe envoirment for all their kids to feel like they are equals no matter their gender. (17:35)
At the end, Rainbow and Andre noticed that they were wrong for treating the twins differently. They understood that the world would treat them differently and not be fair to Diane but as their parents they could not do that. We as world need to understand that treating women differently is wrong and that no one is better than anyone else. The discrimination that women have faced for century should not be something that we continue to put into the heads of children. The idea that women are less and or should be treated differently is something that no one should believe.
American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle, a Texas-born patriot who enlists in the Navy SEALs. The book details his life in Odessa, Texas, and how it shaped him into the man he was while serving overseas. American Sniper not only depicts his life stateside but also in explicit details his four tours in Iraq (1999-2009) and his combat experiences overseas.
Identity plays a huge role in this book. It’s a constant struggle for Chris to establish who he is in the world around him. At home, he struggles with being a husband and father, while being home on leave. This struggle leads to an internal struggle of duty to country vs duty to his family and it rips him apart at the seams. The book does an incredible job describing his experiences in marriage counseling and his struggles with grief, regret, and PTSD.
Power is depicted in the novel as well, through the lens of Chris as he combats evil while serving overseas. Chris Kyle, along with the United States military are depicted as guardians of the free world by eliminating threats to both active military members and civilians. This power struggle between good and evil, savage and savior.
This compares chiefly to the concept of The One and The Other. While overseas it seems like conflict only arises when the U.S military gets involved or antagonizes a cell of insurgents. This relationship is quite uncanny to that of The One and The Other, it seems they cannot mutually exist but exist exclusively in opposition to each other and can’t be justified without the other. The war in the Middle East is one of good vs evil which each believing they are on the right side thus allowing for the relationship of The One and The Other to live on simultaneously within each faction.
Some questions and ideas I think the author/creator wants the reader to take away from this literary work are can a civilian objectively analyze a situation like the war in the Middle East and make a distinction between good and evil. Another question would be, is Chris Kyle the prototype patriot people believe defend our freedoms, or was he larger than life beyond belief?
I wholeheartedly believe that this literary work inspires a conversation around identity and power because this is an issue as old as a time not just in the Middle East but worldwide, classifying conflicts and situations as good vs evil and establishing the line in the sand and seeing who stands on each side of that line. This is a phenomenal book and a captivating read I cannot recommend it enough.