Religion and culture do not always mix. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver follows the life of the Prices who are a family of missionaries who leave their life in Georgia to spread the gospel to those in the Congo. This book focuses on the family who’s father is a preacher, okie who believes the only right way to live is to become a Christian. This man puts his own family at risk in order to keep up his “god complex” that he portrays. The book allows for a multi narrative which exemplifies the emotions that the characters feel especially the children who face such change at young ages. Culture shock is prevalent in this novel with the ways of the Congo people being completely different than those experiences the family had in Georgia. This book focuses on religion, culture, family, and unfortunately death that comes with living in an area where certain vaccines or preventions are available like that of malaria. Overall, the Poisonwood Bible is an intense and deep book that has many different stories and meanings packed in while evaluating cultures and religion while having scriptural attributes laid within.
Today I want to talk about a film called Boycott. December 1, 1955, In Montgomery, Alabama, a black woman named Rosa is arrested for violating segregation laws and fined $10 for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. The government’s move was met with strong resistance from the local black people. Black leaders led a series of civil rights movements by black people, including Martin Luther King, Jr., who was imprisoned. November 13, 1956, The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Montgomery’s racial segregation laws are illegal. The 381 days of the boycott ended with victory. Blacks were allowed to ride the buses as equally as whites. It was also the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
In the middle of the 20th century, racial discrimination in the United States was at its most serious. The most serious manifestation of racial discrimination was that blacks and whites had their own fixed seats when taking buses, and blacks could not sit with whites. If the bus was full, a black man had to give up his seat to a white man, and if he refused to take the seat, he could even be punished by law. At that time, black people were even classified as second-class citizens by law, which shows that the status of black people at that time was very, very low. So in such a big environment, Rosa’s resistance seems very valuable. Martin Luther King was a very famous leader of the black civil rights movement. We’ve seen some of his work this semester. During the boycott, Bead Latins had suggested to Martin Luther King to establish a civil rights organization in the South to unite various protest forces and advance the civil rights movement in the South. In August 1957, Martin Luther King invited 115 Southern black leaders to a meeting in Montgomery to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and King was elected president. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s arrest for vagrancy was also filmed. But a popular boycott forced him to let him go. After his release from prison, Martin Luther King visited and studied India for a month, confirming his belief in nonviolent resistance.
The whole film fully embodies the racial discrimination and unfair treatment suffered by the black people in the mid-19th century, as well as how the black people carried out the civil rights movement step by step, defended their rights and finally won. The film has a profound educational significance, worth all to experience the history
Made for Love is a new television series streaming on HBO Max. It revolves around a woman, Hazel Green, desperately trying to escape the tight grasp of her tech billionaire husband, Bryon Gogol. After being trapped in a “cube” with him for 10 years, she finally is able to escape, only to realize that Byron has implanted a chip in her that allows him to track her, watch her, and even monitor her emotional impulses. The genre of the show is set as comedy, and it definitely has its funny moments, but there are more serious undertones that deserved to be discussed as well.
Bryon is extremely controlling and has worked many years developing a chip that allows spouses to know each other’s exact emotions at all times. The name of the chip, “Made for Love.” Hazel is very opposed to this idea, although she does not explicitly state it. Bryon, understanding that she may have objections to it, has his staff anesthetize her and implant the chip without her knowing. He does not, however, implant one into himself claiming he must “read her diary before she reads his.”
It is a recurring theme throughout the series that Bryon Gogol will always get what he wants. He relentlessly tracks and watches Hazel after her escape, threatening and getting rid of any person that stands in his way. He is completely above the law and can quite literally commit murder with no consequence. Bryon Gogol’s dynamic with his wife and those he comes in contact with perfectly emulates the master-slave dialectic. Bryon knows the power he has, and because of this, does not acknowledge or respect any person in world, even the most powerful figures. Those that work for him, for the most part, are very fearful and submissive and any that attempt to fight back do not have very happy endings.
While the show is more funny and lighthearted than anything else, it definitely has moments with deeper meaning and many that can be related to our society today. It truly does seem that those with the most money have the most power and simply cannot be touched by the law. It also gives off an idea of how technology can become too advanced and evasive. Overall, this show is very intriguing and only eight episodes around 30 minutes each. I would definitely recommend watching it if you have HBO Max and a little free time.
In the movie “Green Book,” Tony is an Italian-American living in a lower-class neighborhood in New York. Like most whites at the time, Tony and his relatives also discriminated against blacks.But Tony is actually a passionate person who dares to love and hate. He will be addicted to Dr. Shirley’s performance, and be able to rescue Dr. Shirley who was illegally arrested.
On a rainy night, Tony and Dr. Shirley were stopped by a white policeman on the road. The police caused them trouble because Dr. Shirley was black. Without leaving the normal life, it is difficult for people to experience another life, and it is also difficult for people to communicate with others with sadness and happiness. If Tony had always lived in a neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, he would indeed “know who he was,” and he might have always thought he was a non-discriminatory white man. But he will never encounter police officers who discriminate against his Italian descent and classify him as half-black, nor will he encounter the pain of Dr. Shirley as a minority. It was just that on the rainy night facing discrimination, Tony was no longer white, and survived discrimination and bullying. From that moment on, he realized his prejudice against blacks, and Dr. Shirley’s heart was real. Only from then can they be seen as a community, and Tony can understand Dr. Shirley’s confusion and pain.
The “Green Book” may try to tell us: the ancestral culture was passed down silently. It is these cultures that make us become us. Only when facing scars and pain, understanding and accepting it, can you clearly understand your true and complete self and reach a reconciliation with your own life and destiny. No matter where you are, no matter what your skin color, everyone can experience the differences and pain caused by history, understand each other, really sit together and enjoy a piece of equal fried chicken.
Through this movie, we can see that black pianists in the upper class and white people struggling with food are discriminated against. Both types have identity confusion and life troubles. Their identity reflects not only the issue of skin color and race but also the issue of society as a whole. This reminds me of the concept from class, “the others”. The essence of this movie is that he realized from a deeper point that Tony and Shirley belonged to “others” in society at the time. Tony is white but he is impoverished and has half Italian ancestry. He is at the bottom of society; Shirley is a top musician who can play in the White House, but because of his skin color, he has to be bullied by others everywhere in his life. Perhaps we also subconsciously have a prejudice against different skin colors or different behaviors in our lives. But I hope people will have some new insights after watching this movie: it is the same planet we are living on, there is no need to discriminate against other people. There should be no “Others” among us.
The film Moonlight brings about questions of racial identity, sexual identity, poverty, addiction and much more. We see Chiron grow from a small child to a teenage boy to an adult man. In the beginning, Chiron is depicted as a small, quiet child who is alone in the world with few friends. Luckily, he is taken under the wing of Juan and Theresa, a couple who finds Chiron in a drug house after running from bullies. Juan takes Chiron under his wing, feeding him, teaching him how to swim and allowing his home to be a “safe haven” for Chiron. Unfortunately, Chiron does not have a safe home life. His mother is facing drug addiction (and she buys her drugs from Juan) and treats Chiron with contempt because he is attracted to men (but he doesn’t know it at this point in the film). We see Chiron grow to be a teenage boy who is bullied and eventually retaliates in the classroom, then taken to juvie. After this, we see Chiron as an adult man, who is now a drug dealer, following the footsteps of Juan, but now, Chiron is much more confident in himself. In the end, he sees a friend from high school, the only man who he has ever allowed to touch him.
I find Moonlight to be an extremely powerful film in its beauty and message conveyed. Unlike most films, this one shows more than it explicitly tells. No matter how many times I watch this movie I cry and find myself just as impacted as before. I believe this is because it is a harsh confrontation of the many injustices so many people in the world face. We see Chiron who is just a young boy, have life fail him again and again while he struggles to confront his own identity. The film does a beautiful job of showing how the world often gives people a “single story”, and flips it on its head. We see Juan, who is a drug dealer, but the movie shows him as the most humane and caring individual for Chiron (along with Theresa). We see Chiron’s mother, struggling with addiction and taking money from her son while making him depend on himself when mothers are typically those who take care of us the most. Most prominently, we see Chiron, a man who is attracted to other men, completely defying stereotypes and growing up to be a “hard” (as he describes himself) drug dealer.
Throughout the class we’ve discussed the many different ideas of “identity” which I feel this film does so well. I could continue to go on about many of the themes. Moonlight brings to light the very realistic lives of individuals. I think that’s what makes the film so raw and impactful. It shows that identity is who you chose yourself to be, not who your “roles”, “classifications”, or “titles” define you as. Each character in the film has a trait that directly defies who they are “supposed to be” in line with their stereotype and title.
12 Angry Men is regarded as one of the best courtroom dramas ever made. It was released in 1957 and the premise is that 12 members of a jury are faced with coming up with a verdict for a murder trial accusing an inner-city teenager.
First, I was skeptical at first, but this movie was surprisingly “woke” for its time (Other than of course, the majority of the cast being old white males…) Anyway, a young boy of color, who has grown up in an impoverished neighborhood with a broken family is accused of murdering his father. These 12 white men go to the backroom to decide his fate. All but one juror is convinced that beyond a reasonable doubt, that this boy committed the crime. The one who objected was juror #8, played by Henry Fonda, who starts by saying that they are deciding the fate of a young boy and feels they should all at least have a dialogue before sending the boy to the electric chair. I find it hard to type into words, but each juror brings in their own identity and power dynamic into the back room. I think each one showcases how everyone’s personal biases, emotions, and ulterior motives can cloud and skew decision-making.
It may be kind of obvious, but basically one by one, each Juror changes to a non-guilty verdict. Each juror is either convinced that there is “reasonable doubt” or is faced with their own hypocritical biases that cause them to experience this extreme dissonance, which ultimately gets them to vote not guilty. I think that I could relate this movie to many of the texts we have read this semester. In a much broader sense, I think this is movie is a great example of this class in general. Each character had to reflect on his own biases and widen his perspective to see the whole picture. Initially, it was an easy, “poor colored kid who is abused in a poor neighborhood, of course, he is guilty.” But taking a step back and analyzing all of the evidence, this was not the case. I also think that it shows how all it takes is for one person to “stand up” against injustice, or else the injustice will just continue to perpetuate. It reminds me of all the work we have done with the systematic injustice diaries we have done this semester.
I think most of us are familiar with the movie Brave. It is being released by Pixar Movie. In this movie they challenge the norms that people have about princesses. The princess of this movie princess Merida does not feature the characteristic or feature that is being expected from Disney princess movie. She doesn’t have a long or straight hair she is also being featured as tomboy type of princess. She wanted to create her own path in the movie and she doesn’t want her life to be arranged by her parents. As her parents wish that she will be able to married to the a guy chosen by her parents. So I think in this movie she manage to go against the norm that the society have about the perfect daughter should be.
Her family doesn’t want her to be such a tomboy and wanted her to act like a princess. As she is very skilled archer which her parents think that such skilled in not fitting with her roles as a princess. In one of the scene, Princess Merida is able to outperform all the other male in an archery contest. It demonstrated that female is just physically as strong as the men. It also challenges the stereotype that only strong men can practice military skill. Beside that, in that scene her mother doesn’t wanted her to demonstrate her archery skill as the people wouldn’t want to married her because they are expecting the male should be stronger than the female. In other word, it mean that the husband should always be stronger than his wife.
Princess Merida does not have those expectation people have about princess. As in general, most of the princess will need to be rescue by their prince. Yet in this movie, princess Merida fight for herself and her family.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing is a captivating amalgamation of a coming-of-age novel, love story, and murder mystery. This best-selling novel follows the life of Kya Clark, aka ‘the Marsh Girl’, as she grows up in North Carolina during the mid-1900s. Ostracized from the fictional community of Barkley Cove, Kya finds solace and solitude with the plants and animals of the marsh. Although not exactly a ‘page-turner’, Where the Crawdads Sing is full of vivid imagery, poetry, and character development that immerses you in the life of ‘the Marsh Girl’. Throughout this novel, Kya wrestles with identity, Othering, and place making as she grows up in the marsh.
As suggested by her nickname – the Marsh Girl – Kya is Othered by the residents of Barkley Cove. Children and adults alike will shy away from Kya when she visits town and talk about her as if she is an urban legend. Her identity as a lower-class woman living alone stirs up the misconceptions and prejudices that upper-class, educated individuals use to define Kya. This Othering impedes Kya’s ability to make meaningful relationships with the people in her community and pushes her to embrace isolation in the marsh — where she can live among the mollusks and crawdads without judgment. The marsh becomes Kya’s ‘place’, the foundational part of her identity that creates a sense of belonging and provides liberation from the Othering that she faces in the town. It is in embracing the marsh that ‘the Marsh Girl’ is able to fortify her concept of Self and subjugate the constructs that had ostracized her from her community.
However, the preconceived notions of ‘the Marsh Girl’ weigh heavily against Kya as she finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation surrounding the death of a beloved local, Chase Andrews. Will the community and jury use Kya’s position as Other to convict her of this crime, or will they finally embrace her as part of their community? As you read through the overlaid timelines of Kya’s life growing up and her time on trial, you will find the recurring themes of identity, Othering, and place that make Kya such a dynamic character.
Where the Crawdads Sing is a ‘must-read’ that has remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for over two years and has been recommended by Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. The movie adaptation of Delia Owens’ first novel is also expected to begin production later this year with an unknown release date. Whether you choose to read or view Where the Crawdads Sing, the life and experiences of ‘the Marsh Girl’ will make you think about how our identities tie into our relationships with others and our ability to obtain justice.
Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley that depicts a dystopian society where individuals are through reproductive technology and then engineered to play a certain role for the social class they were born into. Though the novel poses the question of whether happiness or freedom should be valued, the ideas of power, privilege, and others are prevalent throughout Brave New World.
To start off, the idea of othering is at the core of Brave New World. Individuals are born into social classes which determine every aspect of their lives. Individuals are given certain characteristics depending on their class. For example, more socially desired characteristics are given to individuals in upper class standing. This automatically creates an idea of othering, since individuals are put into groups the moment they are conceived through the reproductive technology. Whereas everyone could be given the same features as the upper class, lower and middle class individuals are purposefully not given such characteristics. This then leads to people having different power and privilege based on their social class. However, it is also important to note that individuals that are not a part of this dystopian lifestyle but live their lives in a description like that of people indigenous to the Americas. These indigenous people are refereed to as savages and seen as celebrities when they arrive to society. This is similar to the idea of poverty porn, when individuals enjoy helping others because of the social awareness around it, not because they are helping someone. Furthermore, the individuals not a part of society are referred to as savages. This is like the unethical practice of some western societies who think of individuals who do not conform to their ideals and values as savages.
The class system is utilized in every aspect of life in Brave New World. I would say the main impact of this is on economics, since individuals who are not born into the upper class are not given the opportunity to earn high wages. This also goes into the privilege that individuals in upper class receive, since they are given jobs that are not laborious and thus not damaging to their bodies. Overall, Brave New World shows the problems relating to othering that exist in a society that is obsessed with social structure. I am interested to see how the novel is displayed through becoming a television show and what points in the story will change to make it more entertaining.
This Outer Banks is a 2021 Netflix TV show many are likely familiar with, as it was especially popular during the quarantine days. At first glance, you may only see it as a teen-drama, action and adventure piece. However, analyzing it a little further can reveal classism rooted within any aspects of the show.
The show takes place on the North Carolina coastal town, the Outer Banks, and focuses in on a group of teens and their adventures. There is a distinct social divide in the town; the Pogues are the working class that often struggle to make ends meet, while the Kooks are the wealthy residents of the area. It is one thing to note that they are physically separated at different ends of the town. However, their circumstances, privilege, and treatment by society reveal an even larger disparity between the groups. A demonstration of the injustice is when the hurricane hits the islands. The kooks have generators and regain power within a day or two, while the Pogues go without. This often resembles benefits the wealthy have in real life situations, leaving the lower classes to fend for themselves.
The Kooks also often seem to look down upon and exclude the Pogues. There is a midsummer party and it is a Kook only event. This dynamic between the two classes immediately reminds me of Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” The Pogues resemble the subalterns who struggle to have any type of voice or place in the world of the Kooks. The Pogues also lack all of the benefits the Kooks enjoy, with no power to change the social hierarchy.
One of the Kooks, Kiera, fights the norm of this society and rejects her Kook life. her best friends are Pogues and it often angers her family. Another kook, Sarah Cameron, finds herself breaking the status quo when a Pogue becomes her love interest. In this group of teens where the norm is broken and the classes mix, they seem to be incredibly happy. This is a message that communicates to us your rank socially and economically doesn’t truly matter. You can bond with and form close friendships with those quite different from you; and that’s certainly a lesson that would benefit us all to hear.