How to be a father

Being a father is one of the greatest things a man can do. Not every man has what it takes to be a father. God has only granted certain men with this very important job. In a perfect world a man becomes a father when his wife gives birth to a child, but in today’s society it is not necessarily a MAN’s wife that may give birth to his child but a girlfriend. No matter how it happens it all starts out the same way. A man and a woman have sex and then if her egg is fertilized by the man’s sperm she becomes impregnated.

Taking into account that there are no problems with her pregnancy a woman will have a baby in roughly nine months. The woman becomes a mother and the man becomes a father, this does not mean that he necessarily knows what to do but over time he will acquire the knowledge it takes to be a father. God designed for men to become fathers not at an early age but at a later age so they would be knowledgeable and mature enough to be a father. Throughout the Bible there is a pattern of men being the head of the family. This was God’s design and he wanted to make sure it was followed.

It all started with Adam. God first made a man not a woman. This is because it was his plan to make man the head. This pattern continued throughout the whole Bible when God wanted something done he went to men. Such as when he wanted to destroy the earth by water he chose Noah as his man. “13And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Genesis 6:13-18″ Noah was the only person whom God gave the instructions to on how to build the ark. God chose to give them to a man. Another example of God choosing a man is Abraham. God needed someone to be the father of his nation and he chose Abraham. “4As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. Genesis 17:4-6″ Abraham was chosen to be God’s man in making sure there was a nation of God’s people. The best example of God choosing men to be the leaders is Jesus. God sent his only son to come to this earth and die a lowly death. God did not have a daughter but if he did he would have still sent his son because God has called men to be leaders not women.

Jesus was God’s son. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. ” Luke 1:35″ The first father was Adam. Adam and Eve were blessed with many children and Adam became known as the father of all. Adam was not the only father in the Bible. There were many others, most of them being a better example than Adam on how to be a father. Adam was a bad example in that he gave in to temptation by eating of the forbidden fruit. … nd gave also unto her husband with her: and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6 “ There were also many fathers in the Bible that did follow God. One such father was Abraham. “6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. As seen in the previous passage God tested Abrahams faith by telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Abraham proceeded to do just as God told him which showed great faith and obedience on Abrahams behalf both as a child of God and as father. Although God asked him to do something that would not be in Abraham’s best interest Abraham did it anyway.

That is what all fathers should do but not all of them do it. Such as previously mentioned with Adam, he did not follow God’s command, and as the father of all, all now suffer because of his disobedience. God new Abraham was a good father that is why he made him the father of many nations. “ As for me, behold, thy covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Genesis 17:4″ God would not have made this covenant with him if he was not a good father. Isaac himself was a good father as well.

When he was on his death bed he blessed his son Jacob. 26And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. 27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: 28Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons ow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

Genesis 27:26-29 “ In Bible times it was customary for a father to bless his son before he died. Isaac was a great father in that he continued this tradition although he gave the blessing to the wrong son. It was not his fault that he gave the blessing to the wrong son, he was tricked into giving it to Jacob. Another example of a great father in the Bible is Laban. Laban met Jacob and decided that his daughter was suitable for Jacob and he arranged that Jacob marry his daughter. and Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

Genesis 29:19″ Laban did what every father should do he looked out for his daughters best interest and then made her abide by what he wanted. Many fathers in the Bible showed how to be a father through example one such father is Jerub-Baal. “(For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: Judges 9:17″ Jerub-Baal led through example, in that he delivered his people out of the had of Midian and fought for the people. He was a father that put others before himself.

This showed his sons that they need to put others before themselves as well. There are many other great fathers in the Bible, but these are the ones that stick out. God’s instructions on how to be a father God throughout his scriptures gave fathers instructions on how to raise their children in God and how to be good fathers. God tells fathers not to irritate their children, but teach them the teachings of God. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4″ In Deuteronomy God also told fathers what to do if they had a rebellious son. “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21″ These instructions were given so that fathers would know what to do if there son was not obeying them. God also gave fathers instructions on what to do when his virgin daughter gets married and her husband claims she is not a virgin.

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity.

And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. Fathers were also expected, in the Bible, to comfort and charge their children.

“As ye know how exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,…Thessalonians 2:11″ In this passage Paul was talking to the church in Thessalonica and he was making reference as to how fathers were to deal with their own children. Paul was using this as an example to show how he was dealing with the new church in Thessalonica. Children are gifts from God and should be treated as such. Not everyone can have children, so when someone has children they should be ecstatic and realize that it truly is a miracle. There is a reason for everyone being born into this world.

Every child brought into this world can make a significant contribution. Farrar, 190 “ In his book Point Man Steve Farrar makes a several comments about children being gifts. This first comment reflects on the fact that there is a reason for everyone being born. He also talks about what joy a child can bring to one’s life, especially that of a father. “ If God blesses you with children, you’ll be taking part in one of the most significant accomplishments a man can enjoy. Farrar 196″ He says it is one of the greatest accomplishments a man can enjoy.

He is meaning this in that a father that has a son can look and see himself in that son and realize that it is a spitting image of himself and he can be proud of that. What father would not be proud of his son? A father can also take pride in his daughter because she may share a trait of his such as his eyes, nose or ears. A father truly finds satisfaction in seeing that he along with his wife have created a human being that has his traits. In order to truly be a good father, a father must recognize his children as gifts from the Lord.

Historical and Current Roles of Families and Parents

The central theme of this essay is empowerment and the roles that parents, schools and professionals take on in the quest for the best educational decisions for those children with disabilities and those children that are gifted and talented. It is important to understand the historical development of family-professional relationships to fully comprehend the significance how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go. In Chapter One, the authors discuss the eight major roles that families and parents have experienced over time.

These roles range from the eugenics movement (1880-1930) which pointed to the parents as the sole cause of a child’s disability to today’s view which states that parents can be the cause of some genetic disabilities as well as those disabilities that are caused by drug use or alcohol abuse, but are not to blame for most developmental disabilities. In any case, blaming parents for their child’s disability causes a barrier that impedes progress when we should be expending energy finding ways to support families.

Professionals should avoid placing blame on parents and instead, concentrate on empathy and caring and providing support. Once parents began to organize because of a lack of professional response to their children’s emotional and educational needs, progress has been made in terms of public awareness of disabilities and educational reforms. Professionals no longer expect that parents will assume a passive role in the decision-making process for their children, as has been the case in the past.

Instead, the authors advocate that an environment should be established where collaboration between parents and professionals create a bond of trust that benefits everyone involved. To create such an environment, it is important for professionals to recognize the important role that parents provide for their children in terms of teaching them, as advocates in the political process, as educational decision-makers and as collaborators. Collaboration refers to the relationship between families and professionals whereby resources are shared and decisions are made jointly, with the child’s best interests in mind.

Recent trends in the collaborative process include input from families, students, classmates, teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and other related service providers. In this way, appropriate decisions can be made that are the result of information gathered from a variety of sources. These educational decisions will be much more likely to be successful when everyone works together for a common goal- that of providing the best educational environment for a particular child.

Chapter two describes the general education reform movement that has resulted in enhanced curriculum for all students. There has been a separate reform movement in special education that has also resulted in restructuring student placement and service delivery systems for these students. Most recently, the two reform movements are beginning to converge. The general education reform was started when a national commission report, A Nation at Risk, recommended educational improvements because U. S. students did not compare favorably in testing results with their counterparts in Japan and Germany.

This has resulted in local school districts taking more direct responsibility for decision-making that would affect all students and has included a stronger parent role in advocating for change. Along with this type of school reform, there has been a focus on schools providing comprehensive services for students and families that face multiple hurdles so that families can have their needs met for social, mental and public health services and coordinated in a single point of entry- the school.

The special education reform movement established a free, appropriate public education for all in P. L. 94-142 (renamed in 1990 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA). This public law was needed because of the distinct difference between the education of individuals with and without disabilities. Many students with disabilities were educated in separate classes and schools and were excluded in many aspects of education. IDEA mandates that all schools will receive state and federal monies to assist them in the education of students with disabilities. To receive this money, schools must abide by six principles of education for these students.

They are: zero reject, nondiscriminatory evaluation, appropriate education, least restrictive environment, due process and parent participation. The result of IDEA was to provide a partnership between families and educators in the educational decision-making process. The authors expressed concern because this aspect still is the exception to the norm. A second phase of special education reform focuses on more inclusive placements for students with disabilities and more meaningful curriculum. This is taking place through the Regular Education Initiative (REI) and the current emphasis on inclusion.

Inclusion reform believes in providing placement for an individual based on the student’s strengths and abilities. The attempt at merging special and regular education has been a difficult one, and the authors say that more attempt must be made to include parents in the partnership between special and regular education. When speaking about parent involvement in special education, provisions were made in the IDEA for parents to collaborate with professionals to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) from birth to age 3 that documents the family’s resources, priorities, and concerns related to their child’s development.

When a child turns 3 and until they are 6, early intervention services begin in the form of early childhood special education. After the age of 6, the student receives special education services. The child is provided with an IEP or Individualized Education Program which details the services that a child is to receive under law. Parents are encouraged to participate in the development of the IEP, but participation varies widely. Still, schools need to do more to encourage active participation of parents by providing more communication to parents and more opportunities for decision making for them.

Another reform that is attempting to bring together special and general education is referred to as united systems reform. This system is one outcome of the enactment of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1995. With this act, emphasis is placed on improving and assessing student outcomes based on standards, and encouraging site-based management for restructuring of schools. Higher expectations, however, do not ensure that attitudes towards children with disabilities will change. Many changes still need to occur with the increased expectations.

Through the site-based management aspect of this act, schools are encouraged to meet the standards through involvement of all stakeholders including professionals, students, families and community citizens. However, the authors point out that advocacy for students is still a continuing need in the converging of special and general education. The authors stress that it is imperative for collaboration to occur between families and professionals to increase opportunity for student success. School systems need to be flexible in their approach to providing opportunities in order for these partnerships to occur.

As a professional dealing with the school system and the family, I need to be aware of the challenges I will face in creating opportunities for collaboration. Chapter 3 Empowerment The authors define empowerment as the ability to get one wants and one needs. Empowerment differs from individual to individual and from situation to situation. The goal of special educators should be to provide collective empowerment of ourselves and others involved in a student’s education. This comes into play for educators when securing related services for students and communicating with related service providers to ensure success for students.

Also, it is important for professionals to develop techniques that to help families feel empowered in the education of their child. When considering empowerment, the authors have charted a model that illustrates the concept. In the model, they have included the family resources that consist of motivation and knowledge/skills, professional resources that consist of motivation and knowledge/skills, the foundation that signifies the combined collaborative effort of family and professionals called collaborating for empowerment and education context resources that include opportunities for partnerships and obligations for reliable alliances.

When all of these interact, empowerment is the result. In this chapter the authors introduce a third aspect of the empowerment model- that of education context resources. Along with the other two parts of the empowerment model, that of family resources and professional resources, education context resources adds another dimension of support that is necessary for all parts to be able to function effectively. Education support is necessary because it can make the difference for both professionals and family members to function effectively.

Without education context resources, families can becomes overwhelmed by the system and professionals can be stymied in their efforts to provide support for learning and development for students and families. Efforts must be made by all members, especially families, professionals and schools to collaborate in providing the best educational environment for each individual. Schools need to recognize the importance of family members in the educational decision-making process and make every effort to include them in order to best serve the child.

When this collaborative effort happens, the result is empowerment of everyone involved. Chapter 4 Building Reliable Alliances The eight obligations of reliable alliances that are discussed in this chapter are: knowing yourself, knowing families, honoring cultural diversity, affirming and building on family strengths, promoting family choices, affirming great expectations, communicating positively and warranting trust and respect. The first obligation, knowing yourself, is important because the better you know yourself the better you can understand and appreciate the abilities, personalities and behaviors of others.

Because experience and background differ from person to person, there are naturally differences in the way these people interpret the same information. Cultural differences can also add to the perception problem. It is important for us, as educators, to make ourselves aware of the differences that exist culturally so we can better understand our own beliefs and behaviors. Then, we can make allowances for the differences that exist in other people in terms of their beliefs, values and feelings that result in empathy and understanding.

The second area, that of knowing families, is complex because just as each individual is different, so are families. In order to work collaboratively and effectively with families, we must understand these family characteristics and uniqueness. One way to understand the make-up of families that we are dealing with is to get to know each family member and how they interact with each other in order to carry out the responsibilities of family life. Then, we can make decisions collaboratively in a spirit of trust and teamwork. The third obligation is that of honoring cultural diversity. Race and ethnicity are only a small part of culture.

Culture is a broader vision of what makes up an individual’s group identity and can include such areas as religion, income status, gender, disability status, geographic location and occupation. To make it even more complicated, these variables are changeable over a family’s lifespan. In any case, we need to be sure that every individual we work with is treated with respect by becoming familiar with the traditions and roles of individuals within different cultures. In this way, we can collaborate with understanding when dealing with specific issues with families such as developing IEP’s, conducting evaluations and sharing information.

The fourth obligation is that of affirming and building on family strengths. Quite often, school personnel tend to focus on what is wrong with a family instead of concentrating on what the family is doing right. It is important to recognize the strengths of the family unit in order to be able to collaborate effectively with them. All families have strengths, and it might benefit the professional to sit down prior to discussing issues with a family and list the specific strengths of the families they are dealing with.

A focus on family strength would lead to less blame placed on the parents and lead to more trust and confidence on both sides (professional/family). The fifth obligation is promoting family choices and is considered critical because families need to know that their choices will be heard and considered by professionals. So often, parents do not feel that they have a say in the educational issues that affect their child because we make the assumption that only the professionals have the right answers.

In the past, parents very often were expected to play a passive role, and slowly, this role is changing. In the collaborative model, families and professionals work together in a relationship of trust, caring and respect for one another’s views. The sixth obligation is that of affirming great expectations, which has a great influence on motivation on the part of the family. We know from numerous studies that when a family has high expectations for their child, the child responds with higher academic achievement.

The author says that parents of children with disabilities are no different than those parents of children without disabilities- in fact, parents in the first group tend to have higher educational expectations than parents in the second group. Parents need to feel that there is hope for their child in terms of the future. As professionals, we need to encourage this hope because it is the base on which success can be built. One of the best ways to encourage this hope, the author says, is to share with the family the success of other individuals with similar disabilities, and how they compensate for or even overcome their disabilities.

As professionals, we need to look for these opportunities to share hope for the future. The seventh obligation is that of communicating positively between families and professionals. Communicating effectively takes practice, but everyone can learn to apply communication techniques until they become a natural part of communication style. To be an effective communicator, one must be aware of and accept cultural differences and the role a person’s disability plays in their ability to communicate.

Increased sensitivity to these types of issues plays an important role when working with individuals and families. The book gives many examples for facilitating communication that include verbal communication skills (furthering responses, paraphrasing, response to affect (questioning and summarization), nonverbal communication skills (listening and attending), and influencing skills (providing information, support, focusing attention and offering assistance). Along with these areas, communication can take place as individuals confer or when having a team meeting.

Many times, communication skills need to be used when relaying information in crisis or other difficult situations. To communicate effectively, It is important for a professional to be skilled and practiced in all of these areas. The eighth obligation mentioned in the book is that of warranting trust and respect. This is the most important aspect of all because when trust and respect are in place, collaboration and empowerment are enhanced. Professionals need to be sure that they develop a relationship with families based on mutual trust, respect and acceptance.

Divorce in America

There are, undoubtedly, a number of causes for divorce. Divorce used to be considered scandalous and immoral. This contributed to many marriages surviving despite strains. However, as divorce becomes more common, the more natural and expectable it seems. The number of divorces per year per1000 people in the U. S. has been declining since hitting our highest point in1981. (“divorce_ rate”) The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. As a, couple’s relationship, marriages are more likely to be broken by divorce than death. (“rutgers. edu”) Currently 40% (“divorcereform”) of all marriages end in divorce.

What are the reasons for this destruction of the American family? Some analysts attribute economic and social changes in recent decades as reasons for the rise in divorce. As World War II raged on an increasing numbers of women entered the labor force, From 1940 to 1944 over 6 million women joined the workforce filling jobs that had been exclusively male. (“chicago to go”) They never returned to being homemakers. These, Rosie the Riveter, women became less economically dependent on men and marriage for financial security. Women in unhappy marriages found that they could divorce and still support themselves.

These economic changes were followed by social changes. As a result divorce became more expectable, cheaper, and easier to obtain. People today think that the primary purpose of marriage is to fulfill emotional needs. In the past, people married for practical reasons such as companionship or financial security. Today, Americans are likely to end a marriage when emotional needs are not being met. As an institution marriage has lost much of its legal, religious, and social meaning. (“rutgers. edu”) So how this breakdown of the American family influences individuals is a question of much concern.

The mother, who often gets custody, will have to seek a job out side of the home. This is because child support is inadequate. The children make more demands on her because their father is absent. She has little time for a social life. Finances are strained. Fathers also have a large burden to bear. He may be seeing his children, but in all probability, they will not seek him out for advice, help, or support. Recently there has been an increase in the number of fathers who are awarded custody of their children, 25 percent in the last three years and 75 percent in the last ten years, and is continuing to rise.

In fact, families headed by a single father are growing faster than any other family group in the nation. (“manslife”) Men suffer a similar fate in this situation as women, with increased financial and emotional strain. Still another effect, for the children of divorce is, what they experience becomes a part of their inner world. As these young men and women face the task of creating their own relationships, they mostly lack the template for a loving connection between a man and a woman. New families being formed by children of divorce appear to be particularly vulnerable.

It is here the cycle repeats. The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world around 40%. (“divorcereform”) The number of divorces per year per 1000 people in the U. S. has been declining since hitting our highest point in1981. (“divorce_ rate”) Divorces used to be considered and scandalous and immoral. All marriages are susceptible to divorce, with financial independence, social acceptance, and the lack of a template for a loving connection; I feel that the family institution may be as weak or weaker that it has ever been before.

How Scottish families have changed in the last 100 years

Perhaps the area that has changed the most for Scottish women in the last century is the family and the home. In the first half of the century the norm was for the woman of the house to “service” the male breadwinners within the home and family and to reproduce as their primary roles in life. This included many tasks including preparing meals for the whole family, looking after the family budget (It was usual for the husband to give his wife his pay packet at the end of the week and she would use it to pay the bills and buy the food.

As well as cleaning the house and the doing the whole family’s washing, which all together usually equated to (or more than) full time work. Women were put under heavy strain due to cultural expectations and norms. They were expected to be under their family’s beck and call 24 hours a day and while husbands could escape household pressures such as screaming children, by going to the pub with their friends, women could never even dream of that kind of freedom.

Although their family was seen as a woman’s main priority in life, many HAD to go out and work, often in factories or working as maids or cleaners (24% of employed women worked in the domestic service). They earned far less than men and were also expected to run the family home single handily. Although the 1911 Census of Scotland reported that only 1/20 of married women worked, the results were mainly linked to the middle class, not the poorer families where the woman was forced to work as their husbands wage wasn’t enough to support the family.

This was not uncommon, especially as in 1911, women who married between the ages of 22 – 26, had an average of 6 children (with 20% having 9 or more). In the first half of the 20th century, Scottish families remained larger than those in England did. One of the theories behind this is that Scotland has a smaller middle class, (who on average, have less children per family) and a higher proportion of Roman Catholics, who do not believe in birth control. Scottish homes were often very small with many children, and it was also common to find many “live-in” relatives in the home too.

Conditions were cramped; in 1911, 50% of the population lived in 2 houses of only 1 or 2 rooms (bearing in mind that the average family size was at least 8). In Wishaw, the average density was 4 or more persons to each room. At the same time almost nobody (including the middle class) had hot water, a bath or a toilet in their home. Even by 1957, 32% still lived in 1 or 2 rooms and 43% had no access to a bath. It was very difficult for women in the first part of the 20th century as they were stuck in the home keeping it tidy and looking after their family, with no leisure time or distractions (unlike men or children).

It wasn’t uncommon for women to suffer at the hands of abusive husbands, but unfortunately divorce was almost unheard of. It is difficult to believe compared to how common it is today, that in 1900 only 142 people sued for divorce in Scotland. However things were made a little easier in the 1920s when “Double Standard” divorce laws were removed, meaning that women could divorce men on the same grounds, and then the divorce act of 1938 introduced a wider range of grounds for divorce, including cruelty.

Another victory for Scottish women arrived in 1949 when legal aid was granted for women in divorce cases (this was previously unheard of). Today divorce is very common, making it a lot easier for women to leave unhappy marriages. However it is only very recently that his has occurred, even in 1961, less that 2000 divorces occurred in Scotland, less than 1/6 of the 12,400 Scottish couples that divorced in 1991, 75% of which were initiated by women. Today life is much easier for women in the home.

No longer are women expected to settle down, marry young, have children and become a “housewife”, although to some extent housework and child rearing is still considered to be “women’s work”, but many labour saving devices such as irons, washing machines and even baby bottle warmers are easily available, knocking hours off daily household chores. Women experience much more freedom in many aspects, are encouraged to pursue careers and aim for the top.

Now, if they are not married with children by the age of 30 they are no longer considered a “failure”, in fact today in Scotland, 29% of households are single person. Many women work because they want to (but usually as well as financially) in order to prove themselves. Many see this as a backlash against women’s lifestyles in the early 1900s. Some women still choose to take on the stereotypical role as a housewife, as they see it as offering stability and it helps them to meet the high domestic values that some of them have, especially the working class. Today 67% of Scottish women work, most of them part time.

In fact since 1945 the majority of part time work has been carried out by women as it still is today, leaving the free to “look after the home and family”, thus proving that the idea of “women’s work” is still present in Scotland, even after we have entered the new millennium. Politically, a lot has changed too. In the early 1900s, women were viewed as “second class citizens” in many areas and therefore not allowed to vote. However by the 1800s both the Conservative and Labour parties were involving women in their campaigns, such as the 1832 reform act thus making them more politically aware and demanding their right to vote.

Many women were against a male only vote, so set out to change the ruling by starting the Suffrage campaign. All political parties were against female suffrage so in 1903 the Pankhursts formed the “Woman’s Social and Political Union” (WSPU) and Flora Drummoned (nicknamed “The General”) and Helen Fraser controlled the Scottish side of the campaign. The campaign for the vote was very important for women all over the country, including Scotland; many things divided women’s groups, so their campaign for the vote was the one thing that would unite them.

In 1908, 4 MPs died and the Scottish by-elections took place, giving Scottish Suffregates a chance to promote their cause. Public displays by women were viewed as “inappropriate” but this didn’t stop the female campaigners producing entertaining displays for the public’s attention. In 1909 the “Votes For Women” newspaper was printed and a huge protest in Hyde Park was organised, but without much success. By this time the suffrage protesters had divided into two sections; the Suffregetes who believed in using action to protest and Suffrigists who were anti-violence and used less severe actions than the suffregetes.

AN example of the suffrigists was the Woman’s Freedom League, who were militant but non-violent, holding the “No Taxation Without Representation” view. However the Suffregetes protests were not quite as peaceful as protests included burning down George Youngers (An MP) house in Scotland. By 1914 there were suffrage groups in every town. When WW1 started women were needed to fill men’s jobs, thus helping their campaign for representation. Another boost came in 1914 when Lord George became PM as he was sympathetic to their cause, but other MPs were still reluctant.

In 1914 after many years of protests (including Emily Pankhurst throwing herself in front of a racehorse) a breakthrough finally occurred; women householders over the age of 30 were allowed to vote, the campaigners pressed harder and in 1921, all women aged over 21 were given a vote. Although they had the vote, women’s issues didn’t get very high on a political agenda until Nancy Astor the first female MP until 1921 was elected in 1919, who remained an MP until 1945. Women’s roles in politics continued to grow until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative MP became the first (and so far the only) female PM.

In the 1800s education, especially university was always considered a “no go area” for women. After all, what use would a degree be to them as a housewife? The idea of women becoming lawyers or doctors was simply ridiculous. In 1892 women were finally allowed into universities, but the focus on male education was much higher due to the Victorian male/female division view, but the numbers of women entering higher education establishments was respectable. However, this ratio of women going to university didn’t remain steady, and fell in the 1930s.

Gender equality in higher education was far from achieved and women’s studies were heavily weighted towards the traditional arts degree. Perhaps this gap was due to male’s education being prioritised over females, especially in areas such as engineering (which it was almost unheard of for women to study) and medicine. In 1935 women accounted for only of all university entrants. Even by 1960 this figure had only risen to 1/3, in fact it wasn’t until the mid-eighties (1986) when women accounted for half (51%) of all students.

However by this time women were also covering a wider breadth of courses, even in male dominated courses. When asked, “Do you expect to attend college or university when you leave school? ” in a Scottish study, 65% of girls replied “Yes”, compared to only 65% of boys. This is a singular example of how women’s expectations and hopes regarding education have grown. Since the mid 1970s girls have been outperforming boys at every level (this applies in every social class), but why?

Is it perhaps a backlash against the education that females received in the past, as today’s women, either consciously or not, drive for equality? It seems that women are no longer regarded as “second class citizens” in Scotland. Although there still remains “massive gaps n our knowledge of the changing patterns and continuities in Scottish women’s lives” it is obvious that women have gained freedom, socially, culturally, financially and sexually that they could never have dreamed possible 100 years ago, thanks to their willpower and determination.

Surrogate Mothers Essay

The practice of bearing a child on behalf of another woman. This is surrogate motherhood. Is it considered immoral? By some, yes. In some countries it is bannedand in others it is promoted or up for consideration. In recent days, the issue of “right and wrong” has surfaced in the midst of this argument, sharing different meanings to the opposing sides. To some, it is right only for the woman who brings forth life to raise the child; for it is deemed that she is the only one fit to be the child’s mother. Clearly, we must indeed recognize this side of the argument.

But to those with that viewpoint, that is the end of the argument. They do not see any reason for the issue to be continued further; rather, to end the debate and declare anyone who disagrees to lack morals or values. But have those who preach this anti-surrogate moralism ever experienced what it would be like to be those on the other side of this issue? Suppose, for a moment, that they were the ones who were incapable of having children. Would they condemn themselves the way that they condemn others if they were in another predicament?

It is surely easy to say what one would do in any situation, but one can never know exactly what they would do until that situation comes. How many of you have ever held a small child in your arms and looked into its small eyes and felt the love that you had for it. Perhaps it was a younger sibling, perhaps even a child of your own. You know how much that you love that little one. And of course, you all know how much the child’s mother loves it. What must it be like, I ask you, to be a mother or a father and know that you will never have a son or a daughter to hold and call your own?

Knowing that you will never be able to raise a child and love it must be a terrible nightmare for any caring and decent person who wishes to have a child. What is wrong then, with having a woman give birth to a child that she cannot care for and give it to a wanting mother and father who cannot have a child of their own. What difference is it between surrogate-motherhood and adoption? There is none. Adoption is legal, and is highly respected among people from many walks of life. Pro-choice and Pro-life supporters herald adoption as a way of taking care of children in need.

Why then, should anyone who supports adoption attack another option for a mother that is the same? Surrogate motherhood provides good and decent parents who cannot otherwise have children the opportunity of loving and raising a child and giving it a kind and loving home. Imagine being a woman who has been told that you are no longer capable of having a childyou know that surrogate motherhood is the only way in which you will ever have a child. I ask, What right do any of us have to deny a woman who cannot have a child the right to receive a child to raise and all her own.

I ask, What right to any of us have to deny a man the opportunity to be a father and to raise his son or his daughter. We have no right to deny parents the opportunity to have children! Consider all of the children in orphanages who are alone and feel unloved. What right do we have to deny them of loving parents? And how is it possible that we can allow child-molesters and abusive parents to bear and raise children and deny good unfortunate couples the right to raise a child. Such an idea is ludicrous and insane!

All that we need to do is reason a little to understand that surrogate- motherhood is a perfect way for men and women to raise and love children that it is otherwise impossible for them to have. We have adoption, which is very similar to surrogate motherhood. We have grandparents and aunts and uncles who raise children. Why on earth can’t we allow good and decent people the opportunity to raise and love children as well? It is all perfectly legitimate and decent to allow people to parent and love a child, and who can argue that raising and loving a child is wrong?

The Family Essay

One of the main institutions in society is found within the household and is popularly known as The Family. It is here, in the family, where the commencement of society takes place. It is amongst this unit that the origin of womens oppression began with the constant power struggle between man and woman. With the nuclear family slowly being thrown out the window and the new dual-earner family creeping in to takes its place, its no wonder that womens positions have changed radically over the past one hundred years.

The key work here to this being position, because although womens position has changed, their workload has not. With this radical change many issues can be addressed, particularly, to the womens role and how it has remained fairly constant over the years. A closer examination will look at the development of gender inequality within the family as a result of the ever-changing issue. A second issue that needs to be inspected is that the family roles have changed in regards to family make-up as women have moved into the work force.

This growing capital effort to increase standards of living by pushing every family member into the paid labour force has taken a toll on the family unit. The final issue that will be investigated in this report is how the traditional sex roles have remained constant, even with womens ever-changing family position over the years. For decades, commencing back to the time when patriarchy was the norm and women were their husbands property, men have oppressed women. This ideology of patriarchy existed way before it was ever examined by sociologists and it was accepted as a natural or biological way of living.

It wasnt until the 1960’s when feminist groups began to explore patriarchy and at the same time began to exploit it, that patriarchy was established. Feminists at that time, and even still today, believe that patriarchy operates to achieve and maintain gender inequality and is the essential key to womens present subordination. Not only does patriarchy exist in the pubic domain of the paid labour force, but also in the private domain of the household, or better yet, the family.

With patriarchy by its side, gender inequality has developed into one of the biggest controversies amongst sociologists, feminist groups, and women. In modern day society women are working their way into the labour force, and expanding their roles to include working outside the home as well as being wives and mothers (Kaufman, 1999, 440). As women are moving into the paid labour force, they continue to work longer hours than do their husbands on household tasks, and there is little evidence that mens proportionate share of the family work has changed much during the past decade or so (Blair, 1991, 91).

Although women are moving into the paid labour force at a fairly fast pace, according to Kaufman, mens involvement in domestic roles has increased but at a slower pace than womens entrance into the labour market (Kaufman, 1999, 440). Womens entrance into the labour market evolved rather rapidly from approximately less than 30% in the 1960’s to currently more than 45% of women are in the paid labour force (Levin, class note, Womens Studies). There are many reasons for the increase of womens labour force participation.

The main fact being that the North American standard of living has increased drastically in the past decades, and that double-incomes are needed in order to survive. Along with the increase in standard of living, divorce rates are increasing leaving women with children to support on their own, and therefore, women must find outside work. There are also fewer children to raise, therefore, women have more time to work and raise their children. Also, there is a great change in societal attitudes that push women into the work force.

Finally, with pay equity policies having been established, it is much easier for women to find work that will pay enough to support her and her family. Historical factors have weighed heavily on women’s current status. In the nineteenth century, attitudes toward women were very different to the present attitudes placed upon them now. In the nineteenth century, there was a great need for women to work. Working class women had jobs in clothing factories, or worked as seamstress. Their work was more domestic-related. Middle class women were not expected to work. There were some jobs, but they were very limited.

Middle class women were more expected to teach, to support themselves, until they found a husband. During this time there was a lower value place on a womens work than that of a mans. Therefore, women were paid less to do the same work as men were. This lower value on womens work accounted for androcentric biases, which put men at a higher standing in their work. Men were often paid more for dangerous, dirty, and physical work such as mining. On the contrary, women who worked, per say as nurses whom also did heavy lifting and dirty work, were undervalued and underpaid.

These biases brought into play occupational segregation, which implied that men and women tend to do different jobs because of their gender. According to Luhaorg and Zivian, women have remained concentrated in predominately female occupations, i. e. , clerical, sales, and service occupations,… while men enjoy a much more heterogeneous occupational structure; no major occupational category being dominant (Luhaorg, 1995, 608). Luckily for women, in the 1980’s, federal law declared solutions to their two major problems involving the work force.

Pay equity was established to solve the problem of the wage gap, which enforced that people who work the exact same jobs were to earn the exact same pay. The second solution that was established by the government was employment equity, which helped with occupational segregation and gave employers a set of strategies to follow in order to provide women the same opportunities in the labour market as men. With these regulations set into place, women moved into the work force during the 1980’s at full force, and have continued to do so. Not only did this put pressure on the paid labour force, but it also put pressure on the family unit.

In order to carry out its daily functions as a family, the modern family depends heavily on all the institutions of a society for support. Where as in the past, the family was an independent unit that depended on nothing and no one. With this in mind, the family and the fact that the majority of families have both spouses working outside the home means that dual-earners and dual-career families are becoming the norm in American society (Mintz, 1996, 805). Indeed there are many positive outcomes to having both spouses in the paid labour force, but at the same time there are many stresses for these families (Mintz, 1996, 805).

According to Mintz, these stresses usually revolve around balancing the demand of the paid labour and the demand of the family labour (Mintz, 1996, 805). Throughout the years, the family unit has changed drastically. With dual earner families being the most popular types of families. Three types of dual earner family ideologies were identified by Lye. Those three are the Traditional, Modern, and Egalitarian. As the trend of double income family household increases, the breakdown of the traditional system (Lye, 1993, 157) due to women entering the paid labour force has had profound transformation with respect to family life and gender roles.

The Traditional family as identified by Mintz and Mahalik is described briefly as marriage based on a form on benevolent male dominance couple with clearly specialized roles that are assigned on the basis of gender (Mintz and Mahalik, 1996, 806). To further explain this, the traditional family is a women who identifies with her activities at home and the man bases his identification on his paid work. Generally, the wife is to have less power than her husband does in relation to all aspects of their marriage.

The second type of family, the Egalitarian Family, is described by Mintz and Mahalik as a rejection of both of these ideas (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806) referring to the traditional family. Further explained, the Egalitarian Family is the husband and wife identifying with the same sphere, home and work, or identifying with the same balance between the two spheres of home and work. In this family relationship, the power amongst both the man and the woman is to be distributed evenly, and the same value is to be held upon both husband and wifes paid and unpaid work.

The third type of family is the Modern Family. Mintz and Mahalik describe this type of family as representing a middle position within the marriage (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806). The modern family, also known as the transitional family, is further explained by a wife who is to identify with activities both related to paid and unpaid labour, where as the husband is to relate his identification to strictly his paid work. With the explanation of these three types of families, it is easy to say that along with the types of families changing, the roles of the family have also changed.

Taking a closer look at womens roles, and comparing them to mens roles, Lye said that changing family and gender role attitudes are indicative of a weakening of traditional normative constraints that used to offer the well-defined adult roles of husband-father-breadwinner and wife-mother-homemaker so that diverse range of adult roles are now acceptable and coexist. ” Referring to the different types of families above, Lye clearly explains that it is also possible to have many different types of family roles and expectations working together in the same familial.

Lye also believes that the effects of mens and womens attitudes vary according to their spouses attitudes and to be greater where husbands and wives disagree (Lye 1993, 160). Therefore, men and womens roles strongly depend on the expectations and attitudes that they have set in regards to family roles or gender roles. Having different views concerning family life reduces marital satisfaction of the balancing (Lye, 1993, 183). It is locating an equilibrium that couples find difficult to do in regards to family life and gender roles.

Even today as women are entering the workforce, Kaufman found that wives do four-fifths of the cooking, laundry, and shopping as well as two-thirds of the child care, cleaning, and dishwashing (Kaufman, 1999, 440). For example, Blair & Lichter found that wives perform 96% of the cooking, 92% of the dishwashing, 90% of the vacuuming, 94% of the bed making, and 94% of the diapering of children (Blair, 1991, 93). At the other end of the scale, Blair and Lichter found that husbands performed 86% of household repairs, 80% of the disciplining of children, 75% of the lawn mowing, and 77% of the snow shovelling (Blair, 1991, 93).

These percentages seem rather irrelevant due to the fact that division of household labour is much more than who does what. Blair and Lichter discuss three prominent theories of the division of household labour. They are time availability, power theory, and gender role. The theory of time availability relates to the fact that if a spouse is working full-time outside the home, it is more difficult for he or she to perform the daily household tasks.

Blair and Lichter described this theory as the partner with the most available time presumably will assume the greatest share of household duties. Although this theory seems irrelevant in the explanation of why men do less work in the household, it does not explain why women are still doing the same amount even when she works the same hours as her husband. The power theory is a gender segregated theory that suggests that because women are of lower status to their husband, in regards to paid labour force earnings, the mens paid labour force job is more prestigious than his wifes.

Blair and Lichter raise an issue when they say that family power, which is typically measured by the personal resource of each spouse may also affect the allocation of domestic tasks by reinforcing traditional assignments of tasks by gender (Blair, 1991, 94). Although this theory does make sense, family power is not always divided by who makes more money. The third theory identified by Blair and Lichter is the gender role ideology, and the fact that by nature women are socialised to perform related to tasks to their femininity, as well as men are raised to perform related tasked to their masculinity.

This theory is more related to traditional sex roles of the expressive wife and the instrumental husband. Blair and Lichter report that females are more likely to be assigned to traditional female orientated tasks, such as cleaning, washing, and cooking (Blair, 1991, 94). Whereas men are more likely to perform male dominated tasks such as snow shovelling, taking out the garbage, car repairs, lawn mowing, and household repairs. In addition to these three theories, the personal satisfaction that one receives from the household labour can also be applied.

It is expected that generally wives receive greater satisfaction from particular household task performed, and according to Pittmans article about one third of men agreed that it was not their own household standards that were being performed but indeed it was actually the standards of their wives (Pittman et al. , 1999, 748). It is common knowledge that women care more about the physical appearance of their household than men do. So therefore, it is probable that women are still doing a majority of the domestic work on top of her paid work, because she is simply more concerned with her homes appearance.

Women, even those employed full time continue to work longer hours than do their husbands on household tasks (Blair, 1991, 91). This is true even today, because they are pressured by the traditional sex roles and attitudes that continue to reinforce the conventional definition of men and womens work in todays society. Women have been performing majority of household tasks for decades, and they will continue to do so until domestic work becomes a paid labour.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: Play by Eugene ONeill

In the play Long Days Journey Into Night by Eugene ONeill, the Tyrone family is haunted not by what is present in flesh facing them, but by memories and constant reminders of what has been the downfall of the family for years. ” No it can never be now. But it was once, before you-” (72) [James Tyrone referring to the Morphine addiction of his wife, Mary, which attributed to the undoing of the family]. Their trials and tribulations are well documented by ONeill through the proficient utilization of theme, characterization, plot, setting, and style.

Throughout the play, ONeills theme is one of a disclosure into the life of a seemingly normal family on the outside yet convoluted with bitterness on the inside. It portrays the actions of a dysfunctional family and brings us on a reflective journey from when the fledgling family had started, devoted to one another with high hopes for the future, to what it is today, a family engulfed in turmoil. “Who would have thought Jamie would grow up to disgrace usIts such a pityYou brought him up to be a boozer.” (110) In this excerpt from Marys conversation with James regarding their son, it is obvious that their life had taken a 180-degree turn from when their offspring were mere children with promise.

Characterization throughout the play helps us not only to understand the characters actions but also to see into the soul of each and to comprehend their thoughts and emotions, essentially assessing the motives for their actions. Early in the play, Mary is perceived to be a common, traditional housewife “She is dressed simplyshe has the simple, unaffected charm of a shy covenant-girl youthfulness she has never lost-an innate worldly innocence.” (13) Yet as the play progresses, she is portrayed in a different light. “I hope, sometime, without meaning it, I will take an overdose. I never could do it deliberately. The Blessed Virgin could never forgive me, then.” (121) It is apparent in this muttering by Mary to herself that her addiction has seized control over her and that she no longer can bear the pain.

James Tyrone is faced with many a problem. Through this tough time he is faced with personal, family, and financial conflicts, thus attributing to the plot. Besides having to deal with his wifes addiction, his sons ill health and drinking problems, and his financial decisions, (which have proven to be for the worse), James struggles with a personal conflict throughout the play. He believes that he may be the cause of some of the family problems and that he has dealt with them in an improper manner. “So Im to blame!” (39)

The setting of the play is the Tyrones Puritan New England home, which provides for many of the arguments that take place in the novel. These arguments often arise due to the fact that their house never really felt like a true home to them. “I never felt it was my home. It was wrong from the start” (44) The town in which the Tyrones made their residence also made for arguments and acrimony. Primarily “WASPs” dominated the area and the Tyrone family had always felt out of place, being that they were Irish Catholic. “Ive always hated this town and everyone in it.” (44)

The Style that ONeill uses is one of reflection, as the play is set on one day but goes in-depth about many past issues and events. The use of vivid descriptive phrases by all of the characters creates the feeling of their true unease and disappointment. “we sit pretending to forget, but straining our ears listening for the slightest sound, hearing the fog drip the eaves like the uneven tick of a rundown crazy clock”(152) Symbolism is also utilized by ONeill as he uses the fog that surrounds the Tyrone house to symbolize the “fog” that Mary is in as she is high on her morphine. “Its such a dismal, foggy evening.” (108)

Throughout the play, in his reflective style of writing, ONeill demonstrates how, in the past, all that has been said and done has had a significant influence on all that occurs in the present. The actions and statements which had been done have forever affected the Tyrone family, albeit adversely. Throughout it all, however, Mary always tries to keep a positive view and disposition. The final verse of the play is Mary reflecting on the good in her life, which ultimately manifested into bad: “Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and I was so happy for a time.” (176)

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water For Chocolate is a fantasy-type love story by Laura Esquivel. It teaches a lot about family life in Mexico, the country where it took place. The owner of the De la Garza ranch where the family lived was Mama Elena, who raised three daughters on her own because her husband had died. Tita, the youngest daughter and main character, was the youngest of the three and a wonderful cook. Tita was the narrator’s great-aunt, so the story took place in the earlier part of the 20th century. Tita spent most of her life in the kitchen putting together amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A liitle bit of help from Nacha, the cook, made her more dynamic in her cooking.

One day, Tita fell in love with a young man named Pedro. Pedro and his father came to the ranch to ask Mama Elena if Pedro could ask for Tita’s hand, but the rules in their family were that the youngest daughter could never get married. According to tradition, Tita would have to stay at home and take care of her mother until the day her mother died. This broke Tita and Pedro’s hearts. Mama Elena told Pedro he could marry Tita’s sister, Rosaura though, and he did just so he could be closer to Tita. He never felt any love for Rosaura.

Meanwhile, Tita stayed at home everyday, cooking and feeling depressed, and Mama Elena did not make things any better. She always yelled at Tita, and made Tita do everything for her. Tita could hardly even talk to Pedro. Either, because Mama Elena was constantly watching, and would yell at them every time they talked. Later, Pedro moved away with Rosaura and her other sister, Gertrudis, had run away with some man on horseback, and later became a prostitute. Nacha died, leaving only Mama Elena, Tita, and Chencha, the servant, left on the ranch. One day, Tita went insane because of her overly strict mother, so her mother sent her with Dr. Brown, so he could take her to a mental institution.

He was so in love with Tita that he never took her there. He took care of her in his house and they later planned to get married. Then, when he was gone on a little trip, Tita and Pedro met up, and got back together. When Dr. Brown came back, Tita told him the news about her and Pedro, and he told her to decide who she wanted. Obviously, she chose her long lost love, Pedro. So finally, Tita and Pedro got married, and even though Mama Elena would never talk to Tita again, she did not care. She finally got to be with the love of her life forever.

Like Water For Chocolate contained a lot of symbolism. Through her cooking, Tita had a lot of power. When Tita cooked food, she could make people’s feelings change. At Pedro and Rosaura’s wedding, the tears Tita cried into the wedding cake because of her lost love make everyone who ate the cake start vomiting, thinking about their lost loves. Also, because Tita could hardly be near Pedro when they were on the ranch, her cooking aroused Pedro, and at the kitchen table he could hardly control himself.

Each chapter of the book begins with one of Tita’s special recipes and how to prepare the recipe. Esquirel had a very unique way of dividing up the chapters. Every chapter is named with a different month of the year, so there are twelve chapters in all. I feel she did a great job describing and defining each chapter in its own little way.

Like Water For Chocolate is definitely different from any other book I have read. It kept me interested, making me want to not put the book down. I feel you should definitely read this number-one bestseller in Mexico in 1990. Latter this book was translated into English for our reading enjoyment.

Like Water for Chocolate: Review

Food equals memory and memory equals immortality. In the recipes we pass down from generation to generation, in the food of our mothers, we reawaken the past, make the present more real, perhaps capture a bit of the future. Food is about history, with handed down recipes such as in Like Water for Chocolate, the chef can remember the past. Tita, when she cooked could remember Nacha and her mother. Food is a major part of the story, and is somewhat obvious as the title itself is about food. The title (Like Water for Chocolate) itself, is a Mexican expression that refers to the making of hot chocolate: Water is used rather than milk, and must be brought to a vigorous boil.

Therefore, an extremely agitated person is said to be “like water for chocolate,” so is a person in a state of sexual arousal. A recurring symbol in Like Water for Chocolate is food (the title is a good tip-off of that). Hardly a scene goes by without someone eating or preparing a meal and some of the more hilarious sequences surround a pair of banquets. Each of these scenes has a meaning beyond the obvious, however. Food is equated with life and excitement, two subjects into which this story pursues. Sex, food and magic are mixed in sparingly in the story, which revolves about Tita, third daughter of Mama Elena.

The time is the early 1900’s and the Mexican Revolution is raging, but in the kitchen of the family ranch, the emphasis is on cooking. The family servant, Nacha, Tita’s surrogate mother, teaches her the secrets and makes her the next in an ancient line of great family chefs. From Nacha and her mother Tita learns the art of cooking. While all the food did not center around Tita, most of it was. Even from the time of birth of Tita she was a part of the cooking, for example when she was born and Nacha scooped up the salt left behind from the broken water of Mama Elena after the birth of Tita.

Nacha used this salt in the foods for months. So it seems Tita was destined from the beginning to learn the traits of cooking since her birth, making her emotional connection to the food she cooked later in her life a new form of realism. By family tradition, Tita, as the youngest daughter, is fated to care for her mother till her mother’s death. She cannot marry, cannot have children. And yet she falls in love with Pedro who, when he is refused Tita’s hand, marries her sister Rosaura instead.

Tita was ordered to prepare her sister’s marriage feast, and is seen as cooks shedding tears into the batter for the wedding cake, which subsequently makes all the guests sick, wretched and nauseated. Later, when Pedro and Rosaura have taken up residence at the ranch, Tita creates a dish with quails and rose petals, and through it conquers Pedro’s heart. The food overtook Pedro with love, lust and desire, ending with sex between him and Tita later that evening.

Everybody in the family gets turned on, especially Tita’s sister Gertrudis, whose body becomes so hot she sets the shower stall on fire, and is subsequently picked up on horseback, naked, by a Mexican revolutionary. She will, as you might expect, live happily ever after. There is seems as though no scene where food is not a part of in some way. From wedding cake to watermelon, food is abundant throughout the story. And through the food different emotions are carried.

The role of food seems to also shadow the roles of the rest of the characters in the story, since without the use of this food to convey an added sense of power over the story, the story itself would not be as interesting for the most part. All depending on where the food originated from (chef) and/or the chef’s emotions during the preparation process. Tita communicates her feeling through the food, and she really seems to transform the food with her own emotions.

Critical Analysis: Like Water for Chocolate

An oppressed soul finds means to escape through the preparation of food in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, “A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies,” published in 1989, written by Laura Esquivel. The story is set in revolutionary Mexico at the turn of the century. Tita, the young heroine, is living on her familys ranch with her two older sisters, her overbearing mother, and Nacha, the family cook.

At a very tender age, Tita is instilled with a deep love for food for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food (7, Esquivel). The sudden death of Titas father, left Titas mothers unable to nurse the infant Tita due to shock and grief. Therefore Nacha, who [knows] everything about cooking (6, Esquivel) offers to assume the responsibility of feeding and caring for the young Tita. From that day on, Titas domain was the kitchen (7, Esquivel) Throughout the novel, food is used as a constant metaphor for the intense feelings and emotions Tita is forced to conceal.

Laura Esquivel uses magical realism, symbolism and conflict to postulate the idea that family tradition can hinder love but love surpasses any obstacles.

Upon the birth of Tita, her mother flooded the kitchen table and floor when her water broke. The fluid had turned to salt and had to be swept up off the floor. This type of thing happening in the real world is not going to happen. The fluid turning into the salt was definitely a magical realism element. The mysteries of cooking are treated in Like Water for Chocolate. The magical realism has the definition of being magical and unreal. The love that Tita had for her sister’s husband upon their marriage and throughout the time of their marriage lives.

Tita’s love never changed. It was the magical way Tita felt in her heart about the man she loved and the way she kept quiet to keep her mother happy, and not to hurt her sister’s feelings about the love she had for Pedro. Love is magical any way one looks at it. Tita turned all of her feelings into cooking. The magical way of love that Tita felt went into the cake batter. As she mixed it she cried and the tears dropped into the bowl.

The cake was baked, and people who ate it reflected each one’s feelings toward each other. The cooking had a mystical power that seemed to have some magical realism involved because of all the strange happenings due to the cooking.

The inner feeling of a person that has a boundary or threshold inside of them ready to ignite was what happened to the shower when Tita’s sister was in it. The threshold of the inner feelings of this girl was exploding. During her shower, the inner feelings of passion exploded, and flames from the passion that she was feeling caused the shower to catch on fire. In the excitement of the burning shower house, the girl ran out of the shower without any clothes, not even a towel. The magical realism was all the passion the girl had inside her that just erupted like a volcano. Tita’s sister ran out of the shower while it was burning.

At this time, a man riding a horse bareback came riding up and picked Tita’s sister up kidnapping her. The fact that she had no clothes on was unreal itself. However, a person has to wonder where this man came from, all at once, at the right time to pick her up. It’s as if the passion that the girl felt seemed to call out to this man to come and get her at this point and time. The magical realism was here in the fact that it was magical, yet it seemed so real.

Symbolisms of heat and fire infuse the novel as expressions of intense emotion. Because heat is the medium that causes food to undergo chemical change, substantial waves of it are present at many of the moments when food is being prepared. In the science of cooking, heat is a force to be used precisely; the novel’s title phrase like water for chocolate refers to the fact that water must be brought to the brink of boiling several times before it is ready to be used in the making of hot chocolate.

However, the heat of emotions, cannot be so controlled. Heat is a symbol for desire and physical love throughout the text: in Gertrudis’ flight from the ranch; Pedro’s lustful gazing at Tita in the shower; and the post-coital death of Pedro, among many other instances. The inner fire of the individual constitutes an important theme in the novel, and much of Tita’s struggle centers on cultivating this fire. These uses of fire point toward a duality in its symbolism, as a source of strength and a force of destruction. The coupling of death and desire that occurs when the love between Tita and Pedro is freed epitomizes this duality.
(Smith, Joan).

The conflict between Tita and her mother is the novels central point of emphasis. Throughout the novel Tita strives for love, freedom, and individuality, and her mother stands as the prime opposition to the fulfillment of these goals.

Like Water for Chocolate: Movie Review

Romeo and Juliet and The West Side Story , both romantic sagas that unfold into a struggle between love and family tradition and ways. In the two stories a young girl and a young man from different paths find each other and fall in love, and in both, they are forbidden by either family to be together. In the agony of being forced to live apart the lovers eventually come to a point where they can no longer be without one another. Their love is so strong that regardless if they defy their families wish, they will do anything to be together, even if this includes death. These European and American stories of the tragic effect of a love so strong that it can kill sets the table for the Mexican film Like Water For Chocolate.

This movie tells about desire, love, and rebellion, and is centered around the love of Tita and Pedro, and the struggle of Titas family tradition that does all it can to keep them apart. In this movie we are given an opportunity to see how the attitudes of the characters change over time and how true love, once revealed, can never be held. In the early years of the twentieth century, on a small ranch in Mexico, the story of three sisters and their repressive mother unfolds, and Like Water For Chocolate begins.

Tita is the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, and, as such, because of a family tradition, she is forbidden to marry or have children until after her mother’s death. Tita is agreeable to this situation until she falls in love with the dashing young Pedro. Tita goes to her mother to tell her of Pedros intention to meet with her and ask for her daughters and his loves hand in marriage. Mama Elena is angered by this announcement and upon meeting with Pedro and his father, she informs them that no such union between him and her daughter Tita is possible because of their family tradition.

When Pedro learns that he cannot marry Tita, he agrees to an engagement with her older sister, Rosaura, in the hope that by marrying her, he will have ample opportunities to spend with his real love. Tita cries bitter tears while making their wedding cake, and the wedding guests are overcome with feelings of sadness and memories of lost love when they eat the cake. Pedro and Rosaura live in the same house as Tita and Mama Elena and even though no one speaks a word about it, it is obvious to all that Pedro does not love Rosaura his wife, he only love Tita.

Constantly forbidden and scolded by Mama Elena, Tita is once again forced to supress her feelings for Pedro that are now to Tita, bigger than life. Although now, from the incident with the wedding cake Tita realizes that she is able to send her love and passion to Pedro through the food she cooks. On one occasion, Tita makes a dish using roses Muzquiz gave her, and her dinner guests all become sexually aroused. Her sister Gertrudis becomes so aroused that she catches afire, then runs off with a revolutionary. Caught up in the suspicion of his marriage intentions, Pedro finally after 3 months concemates his marriage between him and Rosaura and in this they have their first child, Nicholas.

Sicken by a harsh labor, Rosaura is unable to tend to her child and Tita is forced to care for the newborn, including breast feeding. Mama Elena is once again agitated by Tita and Pedro love and passion for one another that she suggests that Pedro and Rosaura move to San Antonio where they will be closer to the doctors. Not long after their relocation, word gets back to the family ranch that Nicholas has died due to starvation and illness because he would not eat. Tita is devastated by this and goes into a spell of insaneness and is sent away to a hospital where she meets and romantically connects with the doctor.

Tita returns to the ranch after the tragic death of her mother and just in enough time to deliver Rosaura and Pedros second child, Esperanza. This time Rosauras labor was worse than before and the doctor informs Pedro and Tita that she will not be able to have anymore children and because of this Esperanza is the next to inherit the family tradition. Once again living in the same house Tita and Pedro can not stop their attraction for one another even after Titas acceptance of the doctors wedding proposal. This time they go beyond the food and Tita loses her virginity to Pedro.

Tita, scared by the idea of carrying her sisters husbands child, she confides in Gertrudis that has returned for the first time and is now a general in the revolution and is married to one of her men. Gertrudis convinces Tita to tell Pedro, who is in love with the idea of having a child by Tita. Tita on the other hand was unable to enjoy this happening because of her dead mothers haunting and curse that she placed on Titas unborn child. Feed up with this, Tita finally stands up to her mother and tells her that she hates her and to go away forever.

This declaration by Tita forces her mother away forever but not before she gets Pedro and goes he to catch fire during a drunken celebration. Tita goes about caring for him and during this time, she finds out that she was not pregnant, she was just late, and goes about shutting out Pedro and professing her love for the doctor who she is soon to be married to. Her denial of her love for Pedro, of course does not work and she can not bring herself to marry the doctor. Rosaura eventually dies due to intestinal problems and the family tradition ends with Tita.

Tita and Pedro finally get together after 20 years when Pedros daughter Rosaura marries. Unfortunately, during their love making, Pedro dies and in the spirit of Romeo and Juliet and The West Side Story, Tita kills herself. An admittedly unusual title for a film, Like Water for Chocolate fits the mood — odd, playful, and sweet. It equates the boiling point of water for hot chocolate with the height of passion.

Told by Titas great grandniece this is a story with occasional surrealistic fantasy sequences interspersed between the commonplace goings-on of regular lives, and the film weaves a subtle spell of enchantment until a disappointing conclusion. I believe that this was one of the most beautiful stories of love and its power that has every been told. Even though this is a foreign movie with sub-titles, it is such a strong story that you easily forget that it is in Spanish. This is truly a Romantic.

Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

No one in today’s society can even come close to experiencing the heartache, torment, anguish, and complete misery suffered by women in slavery. Many women endured this agony their entire lives, there only joy they found was through their children and families, who were torn away from them and sold, never to be seen or heard from again.

In the book, Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl, Linda Brent tells a spectacular story of her twenty years spent in slavery with her master Dr. Flint, and her jealous Mistress. She speaks of her trials and triumphs as well as the harms done to other slaves. She takes you on the inside of slavery and shows you the Hell on Earth slavery really was. She tells you the love and heartbreak she experienced being an unmarried slave mother.

At the age of twenty or so, Linda escapes and with no place to hide she ends up in very small garret outside her grandmothers house. The garret was only nine-foot long and seven-foot wide, so small she could not even stand up. She lived in this hole with no light, no fresh air, and she barely moved for almost seven years. Linda finally escaped the confines of the garret and made her way to the North where she and her children lived much happier and most of all they lived free.

Linda Brent said, “Slavery is terrible for men, but is far more terrible for women.” She makes a good and true point, for when her life and the life of other slave women are compared to men’s, mentally, slavery takes a much larger toll on the suffering of women.

Women are responsible for their children, and the children of their masters. Mothers are often left feeling guilty for bringing their children into the cruel world of slavery. As Linda Brent expresses, “I often prayed for death; but now I didn’t want to die, unless my child could die too . . . it’s clinging fondness was a mixture of love and pain . . . sometimes I wished that he (Benny) might die in infancy . . .death is better than slavery”. In the book Linda has mixed feelings about her children because she so dearly loves them. She doesn’t want them to suffer in slavery as she has so she wishes they would die, but she loves them and she doesn’t want to lose them as many slave mothers had. I can only imagine how torn and incapable she must have felt as a slave and a mother.

Linda also speaks of “The Slaves New Year’s Day”, this was the time that slaves everywhere were sold and leased. Many mothers were torn from their husbands and their children. Linda speaks of one woman she witnessed, “I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her, but they took all . . .(The woman screamed) Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?” Linda explains that these things happened daily, even hourly. This is only a small piece of the torture it was to be a woman in slavery.

Linda’s master often made perverted comments to her in which she expressed as too filthy to tell. He constantly threatened her and her life explaining that she was his to with as he pleased.

When Linda became pregnant with the son of a white man, Dr. Flint became very angry and he constantly reminded her of the fact that her baby was also his property, like a piece of land. When she had the boy she named him Benjamin, he was premature and Linda herself became very ill after the delivery. Linda refused to let anyone send for a doctor, because the only doctor that could treat her was Dr. Flint and she despised him. Finally when they thought she would die they sent for her master. He treated her and her child (Benny), and soon they recovered.

Almost three years later Linda had a daughter whom she named Ellen, which angered Dr. Flint even more. Once when Benny ran to cling to his mother when Dr. Flint was striking her, Dr. Flint knocked the child all the way across the room nearly killing him.

After the abuse afflicted on Benny, Linda finally escaped in search of a safe way to the North; she hid in various places, first, in a white friend’s house, where she was made very sick when concealed in a very damp place under the floor. She then remained in a locked storage room upstairs until she found out her children were sold to their father, who never really claimed them. Mr. Sands the children’s biological father handed the children and their papers over to Linda’s grandmother, so they thought. The woman Linda was staying with finally thought it best for both their sakes that she left, because people were becoming suspicious.

When Linda left, her family had no where to conceal her so, they disguised her and sat her out at the snaky swamp for two days while they build her a small garret outside her grandmother’s house. At the swamp she described the snakes, as being so plentiful that they had to push them away with a stick and the air so thick with mosquitoes she became ill from all the bites.

They finally finished and Linda hid out in the small garret that measured about three feet in height, nine feet in length, and five feet in width. Linda spoke of the suffocating air, the dampness always about during the rains and the smothering heat in the summer. She even talked about the rats and mice crawling over her body. She told about watching her children Ellen and Benny grow up through a small peephole. Her grandmother would bring her food at night and talk with her. Even as her great aunt was dying she could not leave to tend to her; all she could do was stay in her little smothering space.

Soon Dr. Flint began saying that Linda’s children belonged to his daughter and the contract of their sale was not legal because she was too young to consent to sale them. So in fear that he would take Ellen, Mr. Sands said he would send her to stay with a cousin, in the North where she would go to school.

Linda and her grandmother agreed and Ellen was on her way to Boston. The night before Ellen left her mother came out of her hole and into the house to talk with her. She told Ellen, “I am your mother.” and Ellen replied, “Are you really my mother?” Ellen couldn’t even remember what her own mother looked like. Linda spent that night with Ellen and they wept on each other and spoke of the things that had happened over the years. Ellen departed for Boston the following morning.

Finally, Linda received word that there was a safe way to get to the North and she left, after spending almost seven years in that tiny space. Linda finally made it to the North, safely and discreetly, no one suspected a thing. Dr. Flint assumed she’d lived in the North for years, he’d even gone in search of her several times. Although the North wasn’t everything Linda thought it would be, she was for the most part free. The people weren’t as nice as she thought they would be, and many of them were still extremely prejudice.

On her train ride to New York Linda had to pay to ride in a back car full of the smells of tobacco and whiskey. Shockingly, when Linda got there her Ellen had not been living very well. She had worn thin clothes and sometimes no shoes. She hadn’t even been sent to school even though she could have attended public schools for free. Ellen was extremely unhappy. She had actually been given to Mr. Sand’s niece as a handmaid. Although Linda was extremely angry she said nothing for fear of the selling of her daughter.

Linda found a job being a nurse to a nice family by the last name of Bruce and eventually got her daughter back and they later sent for her son to be with them. Dr. Flint continued to come to the North in search for her, but she had many friends who hid her.

In September 1850, a few years after Linda arrived in the North the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, it made it easy to legally seize and enslave any black man or woman at-large. All they had to do was apprehend the person, go before the commissioner, swear to the ownership of him or her and get a certificate of arrest. The commissioner received ten dollars for giving the certificate and five for denying it. Therefore, there were few denials.

The black man or woman accused of being a fugitive slave had no right to a trial and jury.
After the death of Dr. Flint, and Linda’s dear grandmother, Linda began thought it necessary to reading the paper everyday to see the new people checking into town. Linda especially looked for her mistress’s name, Mrs. Dodge, whom she’d heard, had been very low of funds and needed Linda simply to get some money.

Sure enough Mrs. Dodge showed up, Linda ran with the baby she nursed to California to stay with her brother. Benny was learning a trade with her brother and Ellen was in boarding school. At last Linda’s dear friend Mrs. Bruce purchased her for three hundred dollars. The Dodge’s were so certain that they’d never find her and so low on finances that they probably would have sold her for anything.

At last Linda and her children were free. Never to become captured by the Fugitive Slave Law and never again burdened with the thought that someone might know them and turn them in. What a relief that must have been after living such a long life as a runaway slave and poor slave mother.

As you could see Ms. Linda Brent was a very strong woman who’s love for her children fueled her determination to ensure that they would not live the horrible slave life as she had for so many years. She endured many painful years with the thought of one-day securing freedom for herself and her children, which she finally obtained. But I often wondered how strongly Linda must have about the word “free”. As I stated in my opening sentence no one from today’s society will ever come close to understanding the life of an enslaved person, and for that reason we will never understand the intense feelings Linda had about the word free.

Ibsen’s “Ghosts”

At the time when Ghosts first appeared, it was considered extremely dangerous and indecent. The themes it contains of inherited illness (siphylis, though this is never directly stated) and hypocrisy were unacceptable to the later nineteenth century audience, even to those who considered themselves liberals and had championed Ibsen’s earlier plays.

The story of the play is that of a young man, who returns home from the bohemian life of an artist because he is suffering from a mysterious illness. He has been brought up abroad, and has always believed, as the world in general has believed, that his father was a pillar of the community. He begins to fall in love with his mother’s maid.

His mother is extremely alarmed when she realises what is happening. She is the only one who really knows what her dead husband was like, and she knows that he was in fact the father of the serving girl. There are parallels between her past history and the story of Nora in The Dollshouse; she too tried to leave her husband, though he was far more unpleasant than Nora’s. She, however, was persuaded to return by the local church minister, with whom she had sought refuge. For the sake of her son, she spent the rest of her life covering up the truth about her husband.

The story very powerfully brings out its themes, but is very much less shocking than it seemed over a hundred years ago. It is still a play which makes one think about what you really inherit from your parents, anticipating Philip Larkin’s famous poem by many years.

Ibsen’s Ghosts has been subjected to a succession of interpretations and re-interpretations. Like any great work of art, it has meant widely different things for different generations. It has been seen variously as a social drama of revolt, offering an outspoken challenge to the hypocrisy of late nineteenth-century European society, as a melodramatic pice thse focusing attention on 0svald Alving’s inherited disease and his final lapse into dementia, and, in complete contrast, as a moving tragedy showing the suffering of a mother who finds that the past cannot simply be exorcised.

Over the years critics have differed widely in their estimation of the play’s merit and in their views as to what precisely the play is about. So far, however, there has been a fairly widespread degree of unanimity in critical views as to what the play is not about. Most critics have agreed that Ghosts is not primarily, if at all, a play about interaction.

There is general acceptance of the view that Ghosts, as the title would seem to indicate, is a play about action in the past. The various characters in the play, it is argued, merely react during the course of the play to a series of events and occurrences that are rooted in the past; they do not interact significantly with each other in the present.

Ghosts can also be seen as a play about one single mind defining itself against its surroundings, its own past, concentrating on the quest of a single individual

Theme – the gradual process by which a noble woman, who imagines herself to be enlightened enough to exorcise the ghosts of past actions, comes at length to know the complete irrevocability of deeds done long ago.

Ghosts can also be seen as a play about family conflict, tracing out the interaction of parent and child, rather than a play concerned with physical inheritance: Much that Ibsen wrote about Oswald’s illness reflected the attitudes of physicians of his day. Thus he suggested that its cause lay in the degeneration – or softening – of the brain as a result of the inheritance of disease from a profligate parent, and that its course would inevitably be a progressive decline to idiocy. Yet the essence of the play lies in the dramatic representation of the conflicts in the family triangle formed by Oswald and his mother and father.

During the action of Ghosts a number of decisive events occur, engendering a crisis with a catastrophic issue. Important things are said and done which have far-reaching consequences, but the characters involved are not necessarily aware of what it is they are doing and saying. The play presents a complex tissue of on-going process in which it is difficult and, at times, almost impossible to ascertain who is doing what to whom.

If we look, for instance, at the opening scene in the play between Regine and Engstrand, we find that ostensibly it records Engstrand’s attempt to persuade his daughter Regine to return home with him and leave Mrs. Alving’s service. Engstrand has plans for opening a seamens’ hostel-cum-brothel in town and has calculated that Regine would constitute something of a star attraction in such an establishment. The scene also ostensibly records Regine’s flat refusal even to consider such a project. What is actually going on, however, as these two characters interact is something rather different and rather more complex. In terms of the actual words used, and even more in terms of intonation and gesture, both characters act out a pattern of response derived quite specifically from the family nexus in which they once lived. The scene is shaped in such a way that it revolves around a number of unresolved conflicts from this family nexus, and, as they interact, both characters activate old wounds that have never properly healed.

Decisive experiences such as these defy easy resolution in later life; in Regine’s case, the mere thought of returning home with her father is enough to make her relive, in the most terrifying fashion, some of the more degrading and humiliating scenes she endured as a child. Unable to forget what she once experienced, she can now certainly never forgive Engstrand. All she feels is the desire to wound, for it is only at this level that she can communicate with her father.

Summoning up all her resentment, she insults him under her breath so that he shall not even properly hear what she says; significantly she picks on his club foot, his noisy, grotesque, clumping foot that her mother had so disliked. (In the next act Engstrand himself points to his gammy leg as one of the factors which made Johanne originally turn down his early proposals of marriage.) Even now Regine’s rejection of her father, intended to be doubly insulting through being expressed in French, which Engstrand, as she well knows, is too vulgar and uneducated to understand, is conditioned, not so much by what is said and done in the present, but rather by the memory of what was said and done in Engstrand’s household. Regine is still her mother’s child and responds to Engstrand quite instinctively in the way she learnt at home. Here, as elsewhere in the play, praxis and process are inextricably linked.

Engstrand, for his part, is not unmoved by all this. He too still suffers from the spiritual scars left by his marriage, though he is rather better at coping with such misfortunes than his daughter. He had once been in love with Johanne and had proposed to her even before she went to Rosenvold to work for Captain Alving; but she only had ‘eyes for the good-looking ones’, and she turned him down.

When Johanne returned from Rosenvold, pregnant and in disgrace, Engstrand seized his opportunity, obtaining both her person in marriage and the money she had been given by the Alvings to remain silent. He clearly thought this was a golden opportunity for making the best of a bad situation. However, his marriage proved to be a catastrophe. Johanne was a frigid, nagging wife who was intent on making him feel socially and sexually inferior. In one of his replies to Regine, Engstrand offers a brief glimpse into the kind of humiliation to which he was subjected during his marriage, the kind of humiliation that either breaks a man’s spirit or drives him to drink – in Engstrand’s case perhaps one should say, back to drink. Fortunately Engstrand possessed both a stout liver and considerable resilience. He survived his various drinking bouts and never once cracked during all the years he lived with Johanne. Even now, when Regine imitates the way his wife used to insult him, he still preserves his cool. Engstrand knows how to survive. He is also a man of considerable stubbornness, which in turn provokes and feeds Regine’s resentment. Both of them are locked in a closed circle of misunderstanding.

In more ways than one, Regine is like her mother, and as Engstrand begins to spell out the real nature of the deal he is proposing, his thoughts automatically return to Johanne. This in turn leads him into making what is meant to be a flattering comparison between Regine and her mother, who managed to do quite well for herself, according to the tale she told him, with some rich foreigner or other before Engstrand married her. Now this is a subject that presumably has only been mentioned before during Engstrand’s drunken brawls with his wife and Regine has been taught, because of her partisan alignment with her mother, not to believe a word of it. In Regine’s eyes, therefore, what Engstrand says is an unforgivable insult.

Shocked or at least thrown by Engstrand’s sexual flattery, she tries coping with him by adopting an air of nonchalant superiority – ‘Sailors have no savoir vivre’ – but when he uses her mother as an example to suggest that she become a whore, a common doss-house tart, she is outraged to the depths of her being. As she sees it, Engstrand, in the most grotesque form imaginable, is insulting both her mother’s memory and herself at one and the same time. Any further communication between them is unthinkable, except at the level of physical violence. And it is precisely this that Regine now threatens.

Completely unaware of how the other person thinks and responds, both characters act out a pattern of destructive responses in this scene. Regine, subjected in the past to a process of deliberate mystification by her mother, judges and condemns her father from a position of childhood fantasy. Engstrand, embittered and cynically hard-headed after his long years of suffering with Johanne, is totally incapable of understanding Regine’s emotional sensitivity.

Farewell to Manzanar: Book Report

In the true story “Farewell to Manzanar” we learn of a young girl’s life as she grows up during World War II in a Japanese internment camp. Along with her family and ten thousand other Japanese we see how, as a child, these conditions forced to shape and mold her life. This book does not directly place blame or hatred onto those persons or conditions which had forced her to endure hardship, but rather shows us through her eyes how these experiences have held value she has been able to grow from.

Jeanne Wakatsuki was just a seven year growing up in Ocean Park, California when her whole life was about to change. Everything seemed to be going fine, her father owning two fishing boats, and they lived in a large house with a large dining table which was located in an entirely non-Japanese neighborhood. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was the moment Jeanne’s life was critically altered. This started WWII and all Japanese were seen as possible threats to the nations safety.

It is not difficult to see, but difficult to justify this view, and therefore Jeanne Wakatsuki, just a child, was now seen as a monster. Her father was immediately arrested and taken away, being accused with furnishing oil to Japanese subs off the coast. And now, Jeanne left without a father, her mother was trapped with the burden of Jeanne’s rapidly aging grandmother and her nine brothers and sisters. Too young to understand, Jeanne did not know why or where her father had been taken.

But she did know that one very important part of her was gone. Jeanne’s father was a very strong, military-like, proud, arrogant, and dignified man. He was the one who was always in control, and made all the decisions for the family. He grew up in Japan, but left at the age of seventeen, headed for work in Hawaii, and never again went back. Leaving his own family behind and never contacting them ever again. But now it was time for Jeanne’s family to do something. They found refuge at Terminal Island, a place where many Japanese families live either in some transition stage or for permanent residents.

Jeanne was terrified. ” It was the first time I had lived among other Japanese, or gone to school with them, and I was terrified all the time.” Her father, as a way of keeping his children in line, told them, “I’m going to sell you to the Chinaman.” So when Jeanne saw all these Japanese kids she assumed she was being sold. They were soon given 48 hrs. to find a new place to stay. Again they found refuge in a minority ghetto in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. But then the government issued Executive Order 9066 which gave the War Dept. power to define military areas in the western states.

Anyone who could possibly threaten the war effort (Japanese) were going to be transported to internment camps. As Jeanne boarded the Greyhound bus someone tied a number tag to her collar and one to her duffel bag. So, for now on all families had numbers to which they could be identified. No longer people, but animals hearded off to some unknown place. This was to be their destiny for the rest of the war, and long after. Being a child, Jeanne was too young to comprehend what all this really meant. She knew that her dad was away and her family was moving a lot. At first, for Jeanne this seemed exciting, like an adventure, since she had never been outside of L.A. before. Jeanne is a Nissei, a natural born citizen of the United States. But, again this really didn’t mean much to her.

What could she do, and what could she know? Up to this point her life had been relatively simple. As a 7-yr. old one doesn’t really no much of life anyway! This was soon to change for her, as she is now being forced into a world guarded behind barbed wire. Manzanar, located near Lone Pine, California was the camp Jeanne’s family, kept together only by an effort made by Jeanne’s mother, was assigned to. The conditions were raw, cold, windy and unfriendly. In a sense a metaphor for Jeanne, their treatment, and the unstable condition of her family and life. 10,000 Japanese shoved into a quarter mile piece of dust-land surrounded with barbed wire, and guard towers.

The living quarters were shabbily constructed wooden barracks which didn’t provide any shelter from the blistering cold wind and the dry dust. Not quite a concentration camp, but not quite adequate either. At first Jeanne actually didn’t mind the situation that much. She referred to as like camping. But for the adults and her older brothers and sisters, including one newlywed couple sharing a barrack with a family with two young kids, it was hell. 6-8 people sharing a 15 by 20 foot space with a cot, two army blankets, and a stove which didn’t work very good. “Animals don’t even live like this,” was a comment made by Jeanne’s mother after her oldest brother Woody tried to ease their mama’s pain.

As months rolled by and their father still imprisoned at Fort Lincoln, Montana Jeanne began to notice her life changing. Japanese families had always been very tight units and this was beginning to break down. As a family they would always eat together, but the conditions of the mess halls to eat at and Jeanne’s Grandmother unable to make the walk to dinner, this tradition ended. Adults ate seperately from the children, and this in itself begins to break down the structure and unity of the family. The parents lost control over their children. The barracks were too small for any in-home activity and the children were forced, not like they objected, to be outside all the time.

The housing units were strictly for coming home at night to sleep in. This break down of family structure forced the kids to find alternate ways of occupying themselves, rather than having parental guidance or some type of authority to watch over them. After nine months Jeanne’s father finally returned. Jeanne admitted that she really didn’t think about him that often. When he arrived no one rushed to greet or hug him, only after a brief hesitation did Jeanne approach and serve as the entire family’s welcome home party. They Were silent because he seemed to be a changed man. He was again using the cane he had carved years back which he used to extend a type of military authority over everyone.

Before being imprisoned, as I said, he had great dignity, but now seemed to have lost that. He had lost it because all his loyalty and honor was repeatedly questioned there. Drinking began to take control of him and he never would leave the barracks. He brewed his own rice wine and brandy, and became a drunken tyrant. Jeanne was never aware that her mother and father used to fight the way they did there. Because she always had a room to escape to. She began to despise her father and his authority. Jeanne was discovering new things, and before her father’s return became seriously interested in Catholicism.

She loved all the women martyr stories, and possibly could relate to them or to some aspect in them. But before she could get baptized her father had come back and exercised his control over it, and wouldn’t allow it. He told her that their family was Buddhist and that she was to young to even understand what Catholicism was. Even though they never practiced the religion only celebrated a few holidays. She was confused and wanted acceptance in any way she could find it. She took up the baton and became very skilled at it. But her father criticized this activity, saying she should not try to become American, but rather take up some traditional Japanese activity, like Odori dancing.

Even though he himself left that life behind him in Japan to move to America. He could not expect his children growing up in America to only do Japanese things, even though this place they were trapped in wasn’t what America should be for them. She began to desire the outside world. It was where everything was, but couldn’t be reached. She would see things in the Sears Roebuck catalogue and dream of that place out there that has all these things. She even referred to this catalogue as the same as God. She was now aware that this place she was in was not where she should be. Manzanar became to her and her family their home. They had food, clothes, and shelter.

It had become their world all rolled up within a quarter mile, with baton lessons, dance, schools, religion, and even a band. But the war was ending and the camps due to close in December, 1945. Where were they to go and what were they to do? These questions frightened her and her parents. There were no answers. How could a government take everything away, put us in camps, then let us loose with nothing? And how were they to be treated once they were out there. Fearing the stories they heard that earlier released internees had been beating or even killed. But when they finally left it was different. They expected people lining the streets with guns, or billboards reading “go home you dirty Japs” on them. They were put up in a housing compound in Cabrillo.

It was small but her mom now could cook and the cold winds didn’t get in. Jeanne enrolled in Jr. high school, and her mother got a job at a cannery. Her father refusing to stoop that low didn’t find a job for a long time. Her first experience on the outside of Manzanar had the lurking of all her fears of not being accepted. When asked to read in class as the new student, she stood up and read well. Then a girl said something that haunts her to this day. “Gee I didn’t know you could speak English.” This remark made by a white girl, whom she became friends with later, made her realize that this is how things were going to be. They weren’t going to beat or injure her, they were going to see she has slanted eyes and assume that she is different.

She only wanted acceptance. And realized that it was going to happen unless she proved something to them. She did. Since she had taken baton at Manzanar she made the marching band as majorette. The first Japanese majorette ever at her school. Then on to win beauty queen in high school. These things made her feel accepted, one of the others. But she was denying the fact that she was doing this for them not completely for herself. She realized this when she was walking down the isle to receive her carnival queen award. A kind of revelation hit her that none of this really mattered any more, and wished she had taken Odori classes like her father wanted her to.

I think this revealed that she had finally found herself among all these other people and didn’t have to be the same as them, she could now be her, for herself. Nearly 30 yrs. Later when she herself was married and had 3 children of her own was she able to accept that part that over the years she tried to forget. She said that she was always putting off trips to Manzanar because she was afraid it might have the same effect on her as it did when she was young. That feeling of inferiority and nothingness in this world she had always been a part of.

She used to hate herself for the way white people would get to her with one little comment like “Oh! You speak English,” that she would feel completely foreign in her world. When she finally visited the ruins of Manzanar she “no longer wanted to lose or have those years erased. Having found it, I could say what you can really say when you’ve truly come to know a place: Farewell.” This says it all. She had finally been able to see that Manzanar was one giant stepping stone she had climbed, and that gave her worth, so she could feel at peace with herself. Her life had really begun at Manzanar, but she isn’t about to let it end there. In conclusion, this story was well written and I could sympathize with every trial and tribulation she encountered.

Some may say she didn’t value her Japanese heritage enough or was pitying herself for being Japanese. But she, in my view is a hero because she took everything that was imposed on her and endured through it. She was able to accept herself through a kind of spiritual growth, which was both revelational, and inspirational. I only hope that one day I can make some sense of the things gone wrong in my life, or at least grow from them. Jeanne is a woman now, who as a child was thrown around in a racial roller coaster, and can accept herself as an important part of society and life, rather than needing others to accept it for her.

David Copperfield: Book Review

The novel David Copperfield, written by Charles Dickens, deals with the life and times of David Copperfield. About a century ago in a small town in England, David was born on a Friday at the stroke of midnight, which is considered a sign of bad luck. David’s father has already died and his aunt comes to stay with him and his mother as this novel gets off to a very slow start. Soon David becomes aware that his mother has relations with another man and asks one of his servants, “if you marry a person, and the person dies, why then you may marry another person, mayn’t you?” David is immediately angered that his mother has betrayed his father and goes off to live with his aunt.

A while later, David goes back home but quickly gets into trouble and is sent off to school. Dickens uses excellent description in his telling of this story and the reader can easily relate to the characters. The setting of a small town in England is standard in all of his novels, including Great Expectations. The reason for this Dickens’ setting is because he was born in the town of Portsmouth, England in 1812. Although as a young child he moved to Chatham where he experienced a pleasant childhood in which many scenes from his childhood are intertwined throughout his novels.

Dickens father was constantly in debt and was eventually sent to jail. This memory was agonizing for young Charles as years later he wrote: “No words can express the secret agony of my soul. I felt my early hopes of growing up to be a learned and distinguished man, crushed in my breast.” This directly relates to Dickens discussion of David in a wine house later in the novel. A couple of years later, Dickens attends school at the Wellington House Academy where he fell in love with Maria Beadnell but her father opposed the marriage and nothing became of it. David Copperfield is more of a biography of Dickens life made into fiction than of just a regular story about a boy.

Dickens writing skills are apparent as he ties chapters together in an easy to understand novel where the writing seems to move along swiftly. Dickens work is rich with metaphors and enjoyable to analyze as in statements such as, “he eats at one gulp exactly like an elephant.” This book is a classic and may be considered his best work. There are times when the novel moves slowly, but the positives outweigh the negatives and David Copperfield is a book for everyone. That summer after returning from school he finds his new baby brother, and doesn’t exactly know what to think of the situation. He soon must leave again for school but is actually happy for his mother. He and his mother did not get along, and David knew that he would never see her again.

She dies soon afterward, and although they did not get along, David takes her death with much grief and sadness. Soon David sets off to Miss Betsey’s house, an old friend, and again Dickens’ description is brought out as David is described as being, “a dusty, sunburnt, half-clothed figure.” The novel is gradually picks up flavor and humor as David’s aunt, Miss Trotwood, is described. A parallel to his life is drawn here when he finds out that his previous guardian was put in jail because of unpaid debts. After not being able to find his aunt he stays with a doctor and becomes fond of the daughter Agnes. As David is introduced to his teacher, the plot starts to take a light-hearted, humorous twist. Thus the boring introduction is forgotten and Dickens graceful style is brought out.

David eventually meets a young girl named Dora and marries her at the age of twenty one in which time he becomes a successful writer. About a year passes and he starts to have troubles with his marriage, but his writing becomes more successful every day. David is soon expecting a baby and he hopes that it will “make more of a woman” out of Dora, for she is a poor wife. Sadly though, the baby dies soon after it is delivered. Soon after, David gets a letter which says it is urgent to meet at his aunt’s house. The letter worries him because he thinks Emily, his childhood love, is dead. But when he goes, he soon realizes that Emily is alive and overhears a conversation she is having with a lady.

David then hears the tale of how Emily disappeared. Soon after, his wife dies as does Emily’s husband. But David is too distraught to take action and leaves the country for three years, during which time his books gain much popularity. When he returns the exciting climax of the novel is brought out through Dickens classic style. Throughout the novel, there is no set antagonist that Dickens uses. Mr. Murdstone, the man that David’s mother marries could be classified as the antagonist because he often beats David and drives David’s mother to an early death. Because this novel is more of a biography of Dickens life it is hard to find a certain person that goes against David, however, the man that marries his childhood love could also be classified as the antagonist.

Again there is no set theme to the novel because of its biography form. Although a theme throughout David’s life could be to take advantage of the situation and if you see something you want, grab it, do not hold back and your life will prosper because of it. As the book ends, Dickens wraps up the novel disposing of all of the characters in the book. This is basically Dickens “anti-climatic wrapping up” portion of the novel in which he does at the end of all his books. Overall, this book displayed humor at times and sorrow at times but was fluent in style and a fun book to read.

Themes in “Bridge to Terabithia”

There are many main themes in Bridge to Terabithia. One of the most important is Jesse and Leslie’s magical kingdom in the woods called Terabithia. Terabithia is a small castle they built in the woods where they go to escape and have magical adventures. The “bridge” is a rope they use to swing over the dry creek. Another main theme is Jesse running every morning during the summer so he can be the fastest runner in fifth grade, only to be beat by Leslie, the new girl in town.

One more theme is Jesse being the only boy in his house. He has two evil older sisters, who always get their way by whining. He has a younger sister who looks up to him and a baby sister, who of course, gets all the attention. Every time the baby cries his mother assumes it’s because Jesse had something to do with it. A few main ideas are the differences between Jesse’s family and Leslie’s family. Jesse’s family is quite poor and high strung. Jesse’s mother is a housewife. She cooks; she cleans and raises the children. Jesse’s father is usually angry. He works and tries to bring home some money. Until he gets laid off but even then he doesn’t give up. He wakes up at the same time ever morning to go to the unemployment office. Jesse’s two older sisters are Brenda and Ellie.

All they do is whine to get off of doing their chores and criticize Jesse for anything. His younger sister May Belle, looks up to him but he tries to act like an older, tougher brother and doesn’t give her much thought, even though he loves her. The youngest sister, Joyce Ann isn’t really mentioned except when Jesse tries to push May Belle to her so she’ll leave him alone and when Jesse’s mother yells at him because of her. Jesse’s hobbies are his art and running. Before Leslie moved in, his best friend seemed to be Miss Bessie, the cow. She would watch him run every morning. Leslie’s family on the other hand is actually rich. Both her parents are writers and they decided to move because they felt they were getting too absorbed in their money and lifestyle.

Leslie is an only child but even though she is it seems as if she doesn’t spend much time with her father. When her father was fixing up the house and asked her to help she felt so needed and happy. It seems as if he’s always busy with his books that he barely spends time with her. Leslie calls her parents by their first names, which confuses Jesse. Leslie’s hobbies are scuba diving and making up great stories. An important message is how Jesse was always so afraid of water, mainly because he couldn’t swim and Leslie gave him the courage to swing over the creek.

It was ironic how she ended up drowning in the end. Another important message was how Jesse and May Belle “connected” in the end after Leslie died. He took her to Terabithia and over a real bridge that Jesse made. May Belle was now part of Leslie’s and Jesse’s kingdom. She was the new queen of Terabithia. I was upset when I finished the book. I wasn’t expecting Leslie to die on Jesse’s “perfect day”. The poor boy had enough problems. I don’t think his best friend should’ve died.

I really enjoyed the ending. Through out the book I felt as if May Belle was always excluded and she really needed her older brother. I was very glad to see that Jesse brought May Belle to Terabithia and made her the new queen. I hated to two older sisters, they seemed to be cold hearted. I didn’t like Janice from school either until I found out what her problem was. All in all I thought it was a great book with many characters and lots of ambition. I was happy to see that even though Leslie died, Terabithia did not.

Bridge to Terabithia: Short Review

Bridge to Terabithia is set in rural Virginia in the mid-1970’s. The story revolves around characters; the Aarons, the Burkes, the students and faculty in the elementary school. Jess Aaron, is one of the central characters. He has four sisters, two older and two younger leaving him in the middle. Brenda and Ellie are the older teenage sisters that have a strong bond with their mother and dont pay much mind to Jess.

Joyce Ann and May Belle are his little sisters that look up to Jess. Mr. Aarons is always away from home working in a city nearby leaving Mrs. Aarons to hold many of the responsibilities. Since she believes in the men taking care of the men jobs Jess always has work to do in place of his father. The girls never seem to have to do any work and Jess feels he is unappreciated and the black sheep of the family.

The Burkes move from Washington D. C to rural Virginia. They are well off and move to the area to re-evaluate their family values. Leslie is the other main character who is looking for a sense of belonging and friendship. Bill and Judy are here parents that are writers. They are consumed with their work and dont pay much attention until their book is completed. Jess and Leslie attend the same Elementary school where they become friends resulting from a race that Leslie won.

The two become inseparable and have a special place in the woods called Terabithia. To get to their perfect imaginary world you must swing across the creek on a rope. The lake becomes flooded from the constant rainfall and starts to concern Jess. He continues to be quite and swing across the dangerous water since Leslie is so fearless and he doesnt want to look like he is afraid of anything.

Later, Jesss music teacher invites him to spend a day in Washington D.C. while Leslie travels to Terabithia without him and the rope breaks and she drowns. Jess returns home that night to find out that his best friend Leslie is dead. Jess goes through the emotions of grieving, angry, to upset, from this incident. A few days later he returns to Terabithia so he can place a funeral wreath for Leslie. Without Jess knowing May Belle has followed him but cries for help since she was stuck in the creek. Jess brings his sister to safety and eventually takes her to Terabithia where he will make her the new queen.

One of the many strengths of this book is the strong sense of plot. Plot is the sequence of events showing characters in action(Lukens sixth edition.) The book provides in-depth views on friendships, family structures, school life, fantasies, and death. Friendship between the two was represented with such realism. The author shown the tight bond between them in order for us to feel lose at the end of the novel. Jess didnt have much but showed how much thought he but into their friendship when it came time for Christmas. He even stated that he would buy her a television to stop the other childrens snickering. Paterson does a wonderful job of intertwine each sub-plots in supporting a powerful key plot.

The author uses sentimentality which allows the reader to feel a concern or emotion for another person. Throughout the novel we are shown the growing friendship between Jess and Leslie. We follow their adventures and mischievous acts like when the two sneak a love note into Janices desk to get revenge. As the two grow we the reader grow with them. This is why we feel empathy towards Jess when he loses his best friend. We are sensitive to the moving parts within the novel. Not only does Paterson show us friendship she also shows of death and how important and precious life really is.

I feel the novel age appropriate for boys and girls ages nine to twelve because it deals with real life situations and problems that many children find difficult to cope with. Yes we view this age group as merely children and feel they will not understand the situations but I feel we dont give them the credit they deserve. It may be on a different level of felt emotion but they are capable of feeling.

A few months back my opinion might have been different but a tragic situation has changed my mind. A very close friend of the familys son died and his little brother still living is nine years old. We were all very much afraid to speak to him about death because we didnt feel he would understand. In actuality he was well aware of death and went through the emotions we all did. He is feeling many emotions and I feel this book would be comforting to him and will recommend this book to him. Even though it is fictional he will be able to relate.
Words

“Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolpho Anaya

In the book “Bless Me Ultima”, by Rudolpho Anaya, there were two families represented, the Marez family and the Lunas family. These two families were very different, but were brought together by the marriage of Gabriel Marez and Maria Lunas. Through the eyes of their son Antonio one may see the comparison of the two. The differentiation of these two families is very clearly noticeable, such as in their personalities, the expression of their religion, and their everyday ways of life.

One can easily see the difference in their personality even down to the most basic things. The Marez’s are very free spirited, they do not like to have to worry about things. They can be seen mainly riding their horses around the llano. An example of this is shown in the book where Gabriel Marez speaks of his move to Guadeloupe at the birth of his son, Antonio.

In this he says, “The move lowered my father in esteem of his compadres, the other vaqueros who clung tenaciously to their way of life and freedom.” On the other hand the Lunas are more down to earth. They are farmers, so they stay in one place to grow their crops, and are very land oriented. They concentrate more on work and less on the free will that can be seen in the Marez family.

As far as religion goes the Lunas are far more religious than the Marez family. Religion plays a very important part in the life of the Lunas. They believe highly in God and everything else that is involved in the Roman Catholic religion. Maria Lunas is shown to be praying to the Virgin Mary on many different occasions in the book. The Lunas family has been encouraging Antonio to become a priest throughout his life, to the point that he believes he is obligated too.

This is clearly shown in the book where Antonio states, “My mother was a devout Catholic, and so she saw the salvation of the soul rooted in the Holy Mother Church, and she said the world would be saved if the people turned to the earth.” On the other hand the Marez family is not very religious at all. They don’t believe that God plays a very important part in their lives.

One can even see the differences through there everyday lives. The Marez family are very restless people. They are wanderers, they would like to just roam throughout the land. They think about their own needs and desires before thoughts of others. In one of Antonio’s dream’s he describes his birth. In this dream he says, “Then the silence was shattered with the sound of hoof beats; vaqueros surrounded the small house with shouts and gunshots, and when they entered the room they were laughing and singing and drinking.” The Lunas, antithetically, are very tranquil, relaxed, and even tempered family. They care about the needs of their entire family, and they do what they can to fulfill those needs. They also take very much care for their land and the llano.

Two families with such contrasting characteristics were brought together in this book. With one family being so caring and loving, while the other so carefree. One not so serious about their religion and the other revolving around it. One being so loving of the land, while the other of themselves. Yet through the personal journey of a young boy, Antonio, one can see how they can blend so well together.

Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

The book Black Elk Speaks was written in the early 1930’s by author John G. Neihardt, after interviewing the medicine man named Black Elk. Neihardt was already a published writer, and prior to this particular narrative he was at work publishing a collection of poems titled Cycle of the West. Although he was initially seeking infor-mation about a peculiar Native American religious movement that occurred at the end of the 19th century for the conclusion his poetry collection, Neihardt was instead gifted with the story of Black Elk’s life.

Black Elk’s words would explain much about the nature of wisdom as well as the lives of the Sioux and other tribes of that period. The priest or holy man calling himself Black Elk was born in the December of 1863, to a family in the Ogalala band of the Sioux. Black Elk’s family was well known, and he counted the famed Crazy Horse as a friend and cousin. Black Elk’s family was likewise acknowledged as a family of wise men, with both his father and grandfather themselves being holy men bearing the name Black Elk.

The youngest Black Elk soon experienced a vision as a young boy, a vision of the wisdom inherent in the earth that would direct him toward his true calling of being a wichasha wakon or holy man like his predecessors. Black Elk’s childhood vision stayed with him throughout his life, and it offered him aid and wisdom whenever he sought it. It is from the strength of this vision, and the wisdom in his heart that Black Elk eventually realized his place as a leader and wise man in the Ogalala band of the Sioux.

The wisdom possessed by Black Elk is immediately present in his recollections of various lessons learned by himself and by others. These stories ran the whole gambit of life experiences from the most innocent acts of a boy in love, to the hard les-sons learned from the treachery of the whites. Through these stories a greater insight can be gained into the ways of the Sioux, as well as lessons into the nature of all men. Most important in these lessons on the nature of man was wisdom, and in all of Black Elk’s recollections somewhere a deeper wisdom can be found.

The story of High Horse’s Courting stands out as a perfect example of one of Black Elk’s narratives. Typically, Black Elk’s narratives try to bestow a lesson (or les-sons) that the listener can learn from, just as the subject of the story sometimes does. High Horse’s Courting begins when a youth named High Horse falls madly in love with a girl of his tribe. High Horse neither possessed the respect nor the wealth to obtain this girl from her parents, so he had to resort to stealth and trickery to gain any access to her at all.

Eventually, High Horse did made contact with the girl and learned of her similar feelings for him, but also learned that she wished to be earned from her father like a lady and not to be stolen away dishonorably. The disclosure by the girl only acted to frustrate High Horse more, and he eventually had to turn to his cousin Red Deer for help. To help his cousin, Red Deer advised High Horse on two separate occasions to sneak into the girl’s teepee and make off with her, both attempts ended as comical failures.

Finally, in a fit of disgust and embarrassment, High Horse proclaimed that he was going on the warpath since he could not have the girl. Red Deer, still wanting to help his friend and cousin, decided to follow. High Horse and Red Deer fell upon a Crow encampment that night. The two youths killed the sentry guarding the Crow horses, and each made off with a small herd for himself. Returning to the tribe with his new herd, High Horse immediately rode up to the girl’s family teepee.

When shown the herd of horses that High Horse offered the girl’s father acquiesced and allowed him to have his daughter, but not solely because of the amount of horses High Horse had offered. Instead the father revealed that the true price High Horse paid was in his showing that he was a man in obtaining the horses in such a skillful manner, and thus able to take care of his only daughter. Thus the lessons of life are displayed to the listener of the story.

High Horse gets the girl through persistence and brave acts, Red Deer shows the rewards of loyalty by following his cousin on the warpath and coming out a wealthy man, and the girl’s father caps it all with his display of guile in selecting a suitable husband for his daughter. This is how the wisdom of Black Elk comes through in the narrative, as a simple but relative story possessing many nuggets of observant truths. The period in American history in which Black Elk lived witnessed the massive movement of whites into the Sioux territory seeking land and gold.

Much of the narrative in Black Elk Speaks describes the tribesmen’s actions and fears concerning the encroachment onto their lands. This underlying dread of what is to come is pervasive in the text. From his birth to his old age, Black Elk lived through the entire westward expansion of whites into the land of his ancestors, therefore he possessed a unique perspective on slowly going from a state of total freedom to one of dependence and servitude.

The loss of the wisdom gained by his people was a concept that mortified Black Elk. Wisdom was paramount to Black Elk’s whole existence since his vision as a child. This wisdom that he relied on so fully predicted the coming of the whites, and it helped him to advise during the struggles that eventually followed. Though his life seemed full of loss and destruction, Black Elk always found meaning in the people and things around him, and his strongest trait seemed to be his ability to see the truth or joy in life when there was not much to be happy about or believe in.

Therefore, after seeing his people’s culture all but destroyed, Black Elk realized that the wisdom of his vision must not die. Black Elk felt that the telling of his story was “. . . incumbent upon him. His chief purpose was to ‘save his Great Vision for men (preface – xix).'” This is why he decided to tell his tale to Mr. Neihardt, because it is not just his story, it is the wisdom of his people and of his vision. The lessons gained in Black Elk Speaks are some that are as relevant today as they were almost two-hundred years ago.

The lessons on bravery and wisdom would benefit a child today just as in previous times. Even more poignant is the correlation between the wise posture of the Ogalala towards the land and its peoples, contrasted with the scheming, greedy advancements of the Americans. The Ogalala and the tribes alongside them walked these same lands for possibly thousands of years before the introduction of the white man. In all that time the land stayed fertile, and the people lived like content children under the sun.

In little over a hundred years since, the white man has prospered here at the expense of the land. Possibly, Black Elk was acting out of prophesy when he suggested that he needed to tell his story, for he knew what the white men would eventually mean to the health of the land. Black Elk knew that only when the white man acknowledged what he had done to the land and her people, would wisdom ever shine on his nation as it did on the Sioux.

Black Boy Vs. Catcher in the Rye: Book Reports

Black Boy is an autobiography of Richard Wrights early life in the south before he reached Chicago. The Catcher in the Rye is a fictional book whos main character, Holden Caulfield, finds maturity on a trip home. The main characters in Black Boy, by Richard Wright, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, share similar and different qualities. Richard Wright and Holden Caulfield have many similarities.

They both have a passion for reading. Richard reads anything he can get his hands on, including racist newspapers. Holden enjoys reading books by his brother, D.B., and Ring Lardner. Neither gets along with teachers very well. Aunt Addie and Richard Wright had several incidents in Sunday school. Holden Caulfield had problems with all his teachers, resulting in his expulsion. Both boys have had harmful, addictive habits.

Richard was a drunkard at the age of six. Holden was a heavy smoker. Mr.Wright and Mr.Caulfield had many similar characteristics. While Richard and Holden had many similarities, the differences are many. Richard Wright is a black man. Holden Caulfield is white. Richard has an intense urge to learn. Holden has a different opinion on learning; he finds it dreadfully boring. Richard couldnt stay in school due to his constant travel and shift of residence.

Holden, on the other hand, was constantly expelled from school because he failed most his classes. Richard had only one parent growing up. Holden had both, whether they were there for him or not. Richard and Holden had many different qualities. Richard Wright had a rough childhood. Abandoned by his father at a young age, Richard was left to fend with his mother and younger brother. Richard had an abusive youth; he was almost beaten to death at age five. His family moved frequently, to and from his Grandmas house. Grandmas strict Christian way of life took its toll on Richard, as he rebelled against authority. Growing up Richard was tormented with the fact that hes black. As Richard was quoted, This was the culture from which I sprang. This was the terror from which I fled. (Wright 257)

On the other hand, Holden doesnt like to talk about his family, but we get the hint that it was strict. As Holden said, … my parents would have two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. Theyre nice and all, but touchy as hell. (Salinger 1) Richard had been moved from school to school over many years and didnt get a full year of schooling until he was older. When he was younger, Richard learned a number of obscenities from the older boys at school. He learned to prove himself when he moved to Greenwood by fighting the school bully. In middle and high school, Richard did very well in his studies. He was elected valedictorian of his class. At the beginning of the school term I read my civics and English and geography volumes through and only referred to them when in class, remarked Richard. (Wright 133)

Whereas, Holden Caulfield wasnt a big fan of school, teachers, or homework. He was expelled from his private school because he was failing four out of five classes. If Im not mistaken, I believe you had some difficulty at the Whooton School and at Elkton Hills, too, said Holdens teacher, Mr. Spencer. (Salinger 13) Richard was partially brought up by his Grandma, who was an avid Christian. He didnt really believe all the church stuff, though. You see, Granny, if I ever saw an angel like Jacob did, then Id believe.(Wright 117).

Richard was bored with Sunday school and played hooky from church with his friends. He was baptized, but only because he didnt want to risk embarrassing his mother in front of the whole neighborhood. Similarly, Holdens religious beliefs were to the extent of his foul vocabulary. He went to chapel at school, but didnt care too much. Holden thought it was all very phony, and Holden didnt like phony things or people. He told us we ought to think of Jesus as our buddy and all. That killed me.(Salinger 17)

Richard Wright and Holden Caulfield led very different lives, yet they both suffered from the same discrimination. Richard was discriminated because of the color of his skin; Holden because of his age. The two characters were very complex. In conclusion, Richard and Holden were very alike and very different.

Black Boy Summary

Black Boy, Richard Wright’s autobiography, covers his childhood and early adulthood. It opens with four-year-old Richard’s rebellion against authority, an important motif in Black Boy. At the time, Richard was restless and resentful of his mother’s injunction of silence. Richard accidentally burned down his grandparents’ house in his attempt to find something to occupy his time. After his mother determined that he was unharmed, she beat him so badly he lost consciousness.

When Richard and his brother were very young, Nathan Wright, their father, abandoned the family, plunging them into poverty. Richard’s constant hunger made him extremely bitter toward his absent father. Over the next few years, Ella, Richard’s mother, would desperately attempt to feed, clothe, and shelter her children. Her long hours of work often meant leaving her children with little supervision. When Richard was six years old, he began begging drinks in a nearby saloon where the customers plied him with nickels if he would repeat various curse words and offensive phrases. When beatings proved ineffective in breaking her son of his growing obsession with alcohol, Ella engaged the babysitting services of an older black woman in the neighborhood.

Ella moved in with her sister, Maggie, and Maggie’s husband, Silas Hoskins. Hoskins was the proprietor of a successful saloon, so there was always more than enough food to eat. Nevertheless, Richard was unable to lose the fear that his hunger would return anew, so he hoarded food all over the house. Unfortunately, the newfound stability was not destined to last. The local whites were jealous of Hoskins’s profitable business, so they murdered him and threatened to kill the rest of his family. Maggie and Ella fled with the two boys to live in another town. Maggie and Ella’s combined wages proved adequate to feed and clothe Richard and his brother, but Maggie became involved with “Professor” Matthews, a wanted man. Ella and the children fled to the North after Matthews killed a white woman; Ella once again had to work alone to provide for herself and her children.

Ella’s health began to deteriorate. Lacking rent money, she and her sons were forced to move several times. A paralytic stroke disabled her, so Richard was forced to write to his grandmother for help. Ella’s siblings gave what help they could, but none of them could take on the responsibility for both of her children. Richard’s grandmother took on the responsibility for caring for Ella. Maggie took Richard’s younger brother to be raised in Detroit, while Richard chose to live with his Uncle Clark, who lived close to Richard’s grandmother. However, Richard ultimately could not get along with Clark and his wife, Jody, so he returned to Jackson to live with his mother in his grandparents’ home.

Richard’s grandmother was a strict Seventh Day Adventist, but Richard was an atheist from an early age. He also had aspirations to be a writer, a profession that his grandmother distrusted as “worldly.” His relationship with his grandmother was, therefore, a never-ending confrontation. His Aunt Addie eventually joined the crusade to save his soul, and Richard was enrolled in the religious school where she taught. One day, she beat Richard in class for an offense that he did not commit. She tried to beat him again after school, but Richard fought her off with a knife. In the following years, Richard would have to arm himself against the violence of various members of his family.

Despite his erratic schooling, Richard managed to graduate from the ninth grade. He tried to work to save money in order to move to the North, but he found himself unable to assume the role of humble inferior to his white employers and co-workers. During this time, he suffered numerous frightening, often violent, confrontations with white racism. He moved to Memphis where the atmosphere was less dangerous. He rebuffed the attempts of his kindly landlady, Mrs. Moss, to marry him to her daughter, Bess. Meanwhile, he began saving in earnest for his escape to the North. His mother, brother, and Aunt Maggie joined him in Memphis and later moved with him to Chicago.

Chicago awakened new desires and dreams in Richard, but he was still too afraid to fully acknowledge them. Mired in the sadness and chaos of the great depression, Richard found an ideology that appealed to him in Communism. He felt that he could aid the Communists in spreading their message via his writing, but to his horror and dismay, he soon discovered that petty rivalries and paranoia ran deep among his comrades. He found himself the object of suspicion and distrust because he was branded an “intellectual.” After a series of political battles and a great deal of persecution, Richard became estranged from the Party. He was ousted by several Communists when he tried to march in a May Day parade, but he did not let this rejection defeat him. Instead, he resolved to find his own forms of expression and self-realization through his writing.

Black Boy an Autobiography by Richard Wright

Black Boy is an account of a young African-American boy’s thoughts and outlooks on life in the South while growing up. The novel is 288 pages, and was published by Harper and Row Publishers in 1996. The main subject, Richard Wright, who was born in 1908, opens the book with a description of himself as a Four-year-old in Natchez, Mississippi, and his family’s later move to Memphis. In addition it describes his early rebellion against parental authority, and his unsupervised life on the streets while his mother is at work. His family lives in poverty and faces constant hunger.

As a result his family lives with his strict grandmother, a fervently religious woman. In spite of his frequent punishment and beatings, Wright remembers the pleasures of rural life. Richard then describes his family’s move to Memphis in 1914. Though not always successful, Richard’s rebellious nature pervades the novel. This is best illustrated by his rebellion against his father. He resents his father’s the need for quiet during the day, when his father, a night porter, sleeps. When Mr. Wright tells Richard to kill a meowing kitten if that’s the only way he can keep it quiet, Richard has found a way to rebel without being punished. He takes his father literally and hangs the kitten.

But Richard’s mother punishes him by making him bury the kitten and by filling him with guilt. Another theme is seen when his father deserts the family, and Richard faces severe hunger. For the first time, Richard sees himself as different from others, because he must assume some of the responsibilities of an adult. In contrast to his above characteristics, Richard soon shows his ability in learning, even before he starts school, which he begins at a later age than other boys because his mother couldn’t afford his school clothes.

Rebellion, hunger (for knowledge and food), and the sense of being different will continue with Richard throughout this book. In the following chapters the Wrights move to the home of Richard’s Aunt Maggie. But their pleasant life there ends when whites kill Maggie’s husband. Later the threat of violence by whites forces Maggie to flee again. Additional unfortunate events include Richard’s mother having a stroke. As a result, Richard is sent to his Uncle Clark’s, but he is unhappy there and insists on returning to his mother’s.

Later, Richard confronts his Aunt Addie, who teaches at the Seventh-Day Adventist church school. He also resists his grandmother’s attempts to convert him to religious faith. He writes his first story and blossoms in a literary sense. Richard then gets a job selling newspapers but quits when he finds that the newspapers hold racist views. Soon after this incident, his grandfather dies. Richard publishes his first story. The reaction from his family is overwhelmingly negative, though they can do nothing to stop his interest in literature.

When he graduates, Richard becomes class valedictorian. But he refuses to give the speech written for him by the principal. Upon entering the harsh world of actual adulthood, Richard has several terrifying confrontations with whites. In the most important of these confrontations, he is forced out of a job because he dares to ask to learn the skills of the trade. These same harsh realities of life also force Richard to learn to steal. By stealing he acquires enough money to leave the Deep South.

Richard finds a place to stay in Memphis. The owner of his rooming house encourages him to marry her daughter, Bess. As a result of his inborn fear of intimacy, he refuses. Richard then takes another job with an optical company. The foreman tries to provoke a fight between him and a black employee of another company. In the culmination of Richard’s interest in literature, he borrows a library card and discovers the hard- hitting style of columnist H. L. Mencken and begins to read voraciously.

Finally, in the last chapter, Richard leaves for Chicago. When Richard tells his boss that he is leaving, he says that his departure is at his family’s insistence. The white men at the factory are uneasy about a black man who wants to go north. They seem to consider that desire an implicit criticism of the South and thus of them. On the train north, Richard reflects on his life. He wonders why he believes that life could be lived more fully. His answer is that he acquired this belief from the books he read, which were critical of America and suggested that the country could be reshaped for the better.

Wright seems to have wanted a different and better life long before he discovered Mencken and the other writers he read in Memphis. As Richard continues his reflections, he thinks the white South has allowed him only one honest path, that of rebellion. He argues to himself that the white South, and his own family, conforming to the dictates of whites, have not let him develop more than a portion of his personality. Yet he also thinks he is taking with him a part of the South. Here Wright focuses on the way his life in the South has been typical of other black lives, all stunted by racism.

Wright’s portrayal of himself growing up seems to be accurate; his personal feelings at the time of the book’s composition, and during his childhood adding to the reader’s understanding of the life and times of the author. Although an arguably confused and purposeless individual, Wright did achieve much in his strife against racism and its limits on his people. In becoming a community leader, he shared his perception about America, a perception of a part of America that was unknown territory. His admirable character allowed him to channel all the anger and ambiguities in his life and focus them to a good cause.

 

Black Boy By Richard Wright Summary

Chapter 1

At Richards’ grandmother’s house. He sets some curtains on fire, which leads to the house catching on fire. The family moves to Memphis. Richard hangs a cat after his father tells him to (sarcastically) Richard’s mother punishes him. At six while hanging out at a saloon he becomes a drunkard. At this age there are no racial differences to him. Richard and his brother are taken to an orphanage to live. His father has left the family for another woman. His mother is ill and can’t work.

Chapter 2

His mother takes Richard and his brother to live at their grandmother’s house. They move to Arkansas to live with Maggie and her husband b/c granny’s religious rules tie them down. Maggie and Richard’s mother are sisters. Maggie’s husband, a successful saloon owner, is killed. In fear for their lives they go back to granny’s house. They then move back to Memphis. Aunt Maggie left with a man who killed a white woman.

Chapter 3

Richard’s mother had a stroke. Her left side was paralyzed. They went to live with Granny. Afterwards Richard’s brother goes to live with Aunt Maggie in the north. Richard goes to live with Uncle Clark. After finding that a boy died in his room he can’t sleep. He finally went home to Granny. His mother is living at Granny’s her health is improving.

Chapter 4

Richard is twelve years old. The poetry of religious hymns inspires Richard to write his own poetry. Richard isn’t religious his granny tries to convert him. One day at church he tells his grandmother that if he ever saw an angel he would believe. His grandmother misunderstands him and thinks that he has seen an angel. His grandmother tells everyone that he has seen an angel. Afterwards Richard apologizes and promises to pray for salvation. When he prays he find nothing to say to God. This is when he writes his first story. Richard is given up by the family. He is an outsider.

Chapter 5

Richard wants to earn some money to buy lunch. His granny won’t let him work on the weekends. So he threatens to leave. Granny gives in. He starts selling papers. He enjoys the supplementary section of the newspaper. It has stories in it. When Richard finds out that they are published by the Ku Klux Klan he stops selling them. In the summer he takes the job of an assistant to an illiterate insurance salesman. But his employer dies during the winter. Richards grandfather dies. Richard’s grandfather served in the Union Army. He spent the rest of his life expecting the government to give him his pension.

Chapter 6

Richard gets a job working for a female white. She insults him by giving him moldy bread and old molasses. When she inquires what grade he is in school he tells her that he is in the 7th grade and that he wants to be a writer. The white woman tells him that he will never be a writer. He doesn’t return to the job the next day.

Chapter 7

Richard is now in 8th grade. When he writes a story for a local black newspaper everyone is confused by it. This wasn’t expected of a Black Boy.

Chapter 8

As Richard gets older he is isolated from his classmates and relatives. His brother, who comes to visit, also becomes critical of his ways. He also finds out that his Uncle Tom is telling his cousin Maggie to stay away from him. Richard wants to leave. Richard is valedictorian of his 9th grade class. The principal wants Richard to read a speech he has written. Richard has already prepared a speech. The principal threatens that Richard will not graduate if he doesn’t read his speech. Richard reads his own speech. He is isolated even more by his peers and relatives. In the year 1925 he goes out into the world at the age of 17.

Chapter 9

As he works at different places the hatred of white people follow. He is beaten up by white boys. He is fired from one job for seeing the beating of a black woman. At an optical house his white co-workers mistreat him. His employer who is from the north understands Richard’s problem but the co-workers are out to get him. Richard wants to escape to the north.

Chapter 10

Richard wants to leave the south. To go north he needs money. He gets the money through crime. His conscience is his punishment. When he obtains the money that he needs he stops stealing. He tells his mother that he will send for her. He leaves Jackson for Memphis.

Chapter 11

Richard moves to Memphis. Mrs. Ross he is Richard’s landlady. When he arrives she greets him with warmth. She offers Richard her daughter, Bess. He refuses her. This will ruin his plans of going north.

Chapter 12

Richard gets a job at an optical house. He watches in disgust as Shorty an elevator operator lets himself be kicked by a white man, just to get 25 cents. Richard meets a boy named Harrison who works at the optical house across the street. Their employers made them fear each other by telling them that the other was out to get them. The whites then coaxed them into fighting each other for 5 dollars each. They accept. Afterwards Richard is humiliated.

Chapter 13

Richard borrows a library card from a Catholic co-worker, Mr. Falk. He obtains books to read. Through these books he learned that words could be used as weapons. He keeps the fact that he reads books a secret. Richard sends for his mother and his brother to live with him.

Chapter 14

Aunt Maggie comes to live with them. Her man has left her. The family decides that Aunt Maggie and Richard should go to the north first then his mother and brother would follow.
Part Two
The Horror and the Glory.

Chapter 15

Aunt Maggie and Richard arrive in Chicago in 1927. They stayed with Aunt Cleo’s. After a while Richard’s mother and brother came to live with them. Then Richard moved into a two room apartment with Aunt Cleo. He read lots of books and practiced writing. He got a job as a dishwasher in the North Side Caf. Richard took a postal workers exam. He failed b/c he didn’t meet the weight requirement. He started to eat a lot of food.

Chapter 16

In the spring he gained enough weight to meet the requirement. They moved to
A larger apartment with his increased pay. He was happy. He met an Irish chap who was as cynical as Richard was. He introduced Richard to Irish, Jewish, and Negro group of friends. He met a Negro literary group on Chicago’s South Side.

The Great Depression arrives. Jobs are scarce. Aunt Cleo, his mother and his brother become ill. He got a job from a distant cousin selling insurance policies. He became an insurance agent. Sometimes if the clients could not pay they would exchange sex for premiums. They were usually from young, black, illiterate girls. He also helped in swindling clients. Communism among blacks increase. Times get hard. He can’t sell insurance anymore.

Chapter 17

Richard went to a relief station for help. When Christmas came he was called for a temporary job at a post office. When that job ended he was assigned by the relief station to a medical research institute. He helped take care of the laboratory animals.

Chapter 18

Richard was invited to join the John Reed Club. To contribute writing. Richard wrote poems and they were published. After two months of belonging to the club he was appointed as executive secretary of the Left Front group.

Chapter 19

Richard joined the Black communist party. He was surprised to find out that they were not very serious about their issues. Richard had decided to write biographical sketches on Ross, a black communist who was under an indictment for inciting a riot. Richard was warned that the communists did not like intellectuals. They discriminated against intellectuals. Ross was later charged on three violations of the communist party. Richard was ordered by the communist party to stay away from Ross. The clubs that he was writing for were dissolved by the communist party. He also heard that his ideas were corrupting the communist party. He was going to resign from the communist party. When he told his comrades about this they said that no one could resign from the communist party. That he would be publicly expelled.

Chapter 20

From the Federal Experimental Theater he was transferred to the Federal Writers Project. There he was ostracized by the communists. On May Day there was a march when he tried to join in the march he was shoved out of the way. This made Richard feel even more alone. In the south he had been discriminated against because he was black. Here in the Black communist party he was discriminated for being an intellectual. He felt that the whites were just as miserable as their black victims were.

“Babylon Revisited” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In “Babylon Revisited,” F. Scott Fitzgerald authors the story of a man trying to regain what he lost as a consequence of his former wanton lifestyle. Some things are irretrievable once they are lost, but others are not. Charlie Wales had previously, in a weak moment, agreed to transfer custody of his only child to his deceased wife’s sister, but after having put his life back together, realizes the terrible mistake he had made. He is now determined to correct that error by regaining custody of the most important thing in his life, his daughter.

In doing so, he must return to the place of his downfall, a place full of pain, suffering, and dreadful memories precipitated by the frivolous lifestyle he had led together with his wife. This story illustrates how one can never entirely run away from his or her past. Not so much that ones past returns to haunt them, rather that ones actions carry consequences which remain forever, even after one might have changed oneself.

A year and a half prior to our story, Charlie Wales lived with his wife, Helen in Paris. As members of the social elite, a position granted to them on account of their great wealth, they had very few responsibilities. Having more than enough money, with more rolling in daily from their investments, Charlie did not see any reason to continue working. Instead, he opted to retire and enjoy life together with his wife and friends. An entire society existed of these seemingly fortunate folk, who perceived themselves as being better than everyone else is. “We were a sort of royalty, almost infallible, with a sort of magic around us,” Charlie reflected.

In the following year and a half, Charlie worked very hard to reestablish himself as an honorable member of society. He moved away from the place of his life’s destruction, found a good job, stopped his former bad habits such as drinking, and readied himself for the responsibilities of bringing up his daughter as a single father. At that point, he returned to Paris to speak with his sister-in-law and her husband, in an attempt to regain custody of his daughter. He reasoned with them, or rather argued his case to the best of his ability.

He seemed at first to have persuaded them, until a chance encounter with some friends of his past ruined his stand. Duncan and Lorain, partners of Charlie in the now extinct Parisian social elite, showed up at his sister-in law’s house unexpectedly, behaving as though nothing had changed in the last year and a half. They were rude and discourteous, acting as if they had the right to be wherever they wanted whenever they wanted, without giving as much as thought to who they might be inconveniencing or disturbing. They had come to invite Charlie out to dinner and catch up on the past few months. Although he flatly refused their invitation and politely informed them that he was no longer interested in their company, his sister-in-law, Maurine, still found grounds to refuse his request to regain custody of his daughter.

On the surface, Maurine had no basis on which to refuse Charlie. He had not done anything wrong. He had not done anything, for that matter. Actually, when this unfortunate event presented itself, he displayed genuine sincere outrage. There was nothing more he could have done, and no better to have reacted. Only upon a deeper look can one understand what had transpired. Upon finalizing the decision to return custody of Honoria to her father, Maurine was suddenly and rudely reminded of how Charlie had been not too long before. Even though he had changed and was in fact a different person, he nevertheless was the same man who had lived and behaved so differently just a short while before.

People can change themselves, but they cannot, by any means, change their pasts. The consequences of a person’s actions live on with them forever, becoming their personal rival to be overcome and conquered. Whatever success one might realize in this ongoing battle let it always be remembered that ones mistakes and wrongdoing will never disappear.

Anna Karenina – Part 2 Chapter 3

In part two chapter three, Kittys broken heart causes her health to decline. There is a moment in this part of the story that Tolstoy adds to show that money and social status should not be the reasons for marriage. Kitty realizes this when she finds out about Anna and Vronsky. Kitty has something that sets her apart from the other women in her family, pride. Her pride makes her different from her sisters and her mother in that she does not want to marry someone that she does not love and vice versa. What she says tells the reader that she will not put up with adultery. This particular moment occurs between Kitty and her sister Dolly while they are having a conversation about what is making her ill and how she should be cured. The moment begins when Darya Alexandrovna brings up Levins name,

The mention of Levins name seemed to deprive Kitty of the last vestige
of self-control. She leaped up from her chair, and flinging her clasp
on the ground, she gesticulated rapidly with her hands and said: why
bring Levin in too? I cant understand what you want to torment me for.
Ive told you, and I say it again, that I have some pride, and never, NEVER
would I do as youre doing – go back to a man whos deceived you, who
has cared for another woman. I cant understand it! You may, but I cant!
When Kitty says this she hurts her sister, but Dolly probably understands and agrees with what her sister is saying.

In this scene she speaks of having pride and says that she could never go back to someone who has betrayed her. This shows that she is destined to be different than the rest of the women in her family and society also. She sees what her sister is going through with her cheating husband and the humiliation that she must suffer because of him. When she says I have some pride, she is telling her sister that she will not put herself in the position to have to endure the humiliation that she has. This makes Kitty a stronger person than most characters in the book. She knows whom she should marry according to society and her mother, but she will not go through with it if it means living like Dolly.

This is also the moment at which she realizes that she has made a colossal mistake in turning down Levins marriage proposal. The last thing she needed to be reminded of in this instant was that she has turned away from someone who loves her beyond words and who is also someone that she cared deeply about. We know she cannot bear the thought of this when Tolstoy says, The mention of Levins name seemed to deprive Kitty of the last vestige of self-control. She probably feels that Levin may not want her anymore and that her chance of happiness has been lost because of her misjudgment of Vronskys character. Little does she know that because of her pride she will have a happy, adultery-free marriage in the end.

One may see this minor moment as merely a poor young girl trying to overcome a broken heart, but it has much more meaning than that. This is a moment in which the youngest of three sisters refuses to lead her life as the women of her family in the past have. Their way of life is to marry whomever your parents and society sees fit, regardless of the absence of love. Kitty has feelings for both Vronsky and Levin and at first chooses Vronsky because of reasons that were instilled in her by the women in her society.

She knows that Levin genuinely loves her and it breaks her heart to break his heart but she feels it is her duty to marry someone like Vronsky. In Part one chapter 15, after she has refused Levins proposal, she contents herself only by thinking of Vronsky, She vividly pictured to herself that strong manly face, that well-bred calm and the kindness toward everybody he always showed. Kitty doesnt realize at this point that Vronskys public persona is what she loves and not the real person that he is. Hes the man that deceived her into thinking that he was interested in marrying her and who will eventually get a married woman pregnant.

In conclusion, this minor moment in part two chapter three has a significant meaning to the story because Kitty is the only one who challenges society and the way that marriages should be arranged. She falls in love with Vronsky not really knowing who he is and what he is about. She refuses to give him or anyone for that matter, a second chance because she will not be humiliated in the way that so many women in her society have. Pride in her case turns out to be a good thing because she demands more out of a marriage than simply financial security and a man with high social status. She wants a marriage in which love is the most important thing that holds them together, not the fact that they have three children and society expects them to remain married because that is whats proper. Her values make her different from her sisters and mother and are what lead her to a happy marriage and life with Levin.

Angela’s Ashes: Analysis

It is a common view that times for the Irish majority in the 1930’s and 40’s were very hard. Especially for the Irish Catholic families with the stereotypical drunken father, emotionally wrecked mother, kids running round her with her sore back from the next child ready too be born. In Angela’s Ashes, McCourt examines his childhood experiences, the tragedies, hardships, learning, all involved with growing up.

One of the most interesting aspects of the writing in Angela’s Ashes is how the text is written, from McCourts interpretation of the situation at his age he was at the time, the spelling and grammar also indicates that the child is writing, not the adult. This contributes immensely to the emotions and enjoyment evoked from reading the book. It also better describes how a child actually sees the things going around them, and what they may be thinking. Personally, sometimes is made me think for a while about how I interpreted things I saw when I was that age, and the fun I had being a ‘kid’ with my sister.

McCourt describes his brothers and sister, even the ones that died and how much he enjoyed growing up with them, how they cared and loved for each other. Because of the appalling quarters they lived in and the lack of money and food there was terminal illnesses in the family which proved fatal to some of his siblings. McCourt in his ‘child-like’ writing style describes how his siblings and he, interpret what’s happened and how they see their parents reacting. McCourt also analyses how his younger brother Malachy looks up to him and how much he takes Malachy under his ‘wing’ and takes care of him.

Parenting is said to be one of the hardest tasks out there today, especially sole-parenting. McCourt carefully examines his mother, how she copes with her drunken betrothed, how her cousins who married ‘gentlemen’ are constantly try to run her life, and how she acts as a woman. His father, the ‘Irish drunk’ who is constantly making him and his brother swear their lives for Ireland and singing Roddy McCorley and Kevin Barry after a night at the pub. How his father will tell him stories about old Irish folklore and get sacked from job after job.

As Frank progresses into adolescence, he explores the feelings and changes he goes through. Such topics as sexuality, puberty, religion, drinking are investigated and the outcomes are dealt with. It could be said that all adolescent males should read this book for this reason only, ‘what to avoid’ in growing up through the teen years. While this part of the book is very humourous at times, it still strongly reinforces the point of a dysfunctional family and the effects it has on children.

The ‘child – like’ writing style really makes the book enjoyable and can make the reader laugh or cry at the child’s interpretation of the situation. It does however take some getting used to and sometimes you may have to re-read a sentence to make sense of words, or what exactly is happening. Also the lack of punctuation makes it very difficult sometimes to tell who is speaking and what is said as a whole. But by about a quarter the way through the book you will be used to this and notice how words are suddenly spelt correctly or are still incorrect, but spelt a different way. This aspect while not being a great one, seems necessary to add to the style of writing.

The guts of the book is the humour and style of writing, and it would appeal to those who wish for a book to summon forth emotions or humour, sadness and reflections on personal child experiences.

A Critique of Angela’s Ashes

It is a frequent view that times for the Irish majority in the 1930s and 40s were very hard. Especially for the Irish Catholic families with the stereotypical drunken father, emotionally ruined mother, kids running around her with her a sore back from the next child to be born. In Angelas Ashes, Frank McCourt examines his childhood experiences, the tragedies, hardships, and learning involved with growing up.

One of the most interesting aspects of the writing in Angelas Ashes is how the text is written, from McCourts interpretation of the situation at his age that he was at the time, the spelling and grammar also indicate that the child is writing, not the adult. This contributes greatly to the emotions and enjoyment evoked from reading the book. It also better describes how a child actually sees the things that are going on around them, and what they may be thinking. Personally, sometimes it has made me think for a while about how I interpreted things I saw when I was that age, and the fun I had being a kid.

McCourt describes his brothers and sister, even the ones that died, and how much he enjoyed growing up with them, how they cared and loved for each other. Because of the appalling quarters they lived in and the lack of money and food there was terminal illnesses in the family, which proved fatal to some of his siblings. McCourt in his childlike writing style describes how his siblings and he, interpret whats happened and how they see their parents reacting. McCourt also analyzes how his young brother Malachy looks up to him, and how much he takes Malachy under his wing and takes care of him.

Parenting is said to be one of the hardest tasks out there today, especially sole parenting. McCourt carefully examines his mother, how she copes with her drunken husband, how her cousins who married gentlemen are constantly trying to run her life, and how she acts as a woman. His father, The Irish drunk who is constantly making him and his brother swear their lives for Ireland and singing Roddy McCorley and Kevin Barry after a night at the pub, and how he will tell him stories about Old Irish folklore and get sacked from job after job.

As Frank progresses into adolescence, he explores the feelings and changes that he goes through. Such topics as sexuality, puberty, religion, and drinking are investigated and the outcomes are dealt with. It could be said that all adolescent males should read this book for the reason only, what to avoid in growing up through the teen years. While this part of the book is humorous at times, it still strongly reinforces the point of a dysfunctional family and the effects if has on children.

The child-like writing style really makes the book pleasant and can make the reader laugh or cry at the childs interpretation of the situation. It does however take some getting used to and sometimes reading again to make sense of words to understand what is actually happening. Also the lack of punctuation makes it difficult to tell who is speaking and what I said all together. But by a quarter of the way through the book you will be used to this and notice how suddenly words are spelled correctly, or are spelled incorrectly but in a different way. This aspect while not being a great one seems necessary to add to the style of writing.

The guts of the book are the humor and style of writing, and it would appeal to those who wish for a book to summon forth emotions or humor, sadness and reflections on personal child experiences. It also shows how Frank McCourt was a rock for his family. He was a steady foundation for his family to lean on. He never gave up on life through all his adversity. In the end, Frank wonders how he survived it all. Well, he survived because he adapted to what society threw him. He became socialized even though his role was to drink away his life. He became the real man of the family, and he did his best to save his family from the inevitable.

Angela’s Ashes – Brief Plot Summary

In Angela’s Ashes, the author Frank McCourt gives his whole self in the telling of this story. It is his life’s journey- the hardship, horrors, pain and suffering that he endures.

Set in 1936, Angela’s Ashes follows the difficult lives of Angela McCourt, her husband, Malachy and their children. The oldest child of the family Frank McCourt was born into the worst kind of poverty in Brooklyn, New York. Frank and his family wore nothing more than rags and the little food they had came from the charity of kind people. His mother, Angela didn’t work and his father always drank his paycheck away. Even with out steady income to support one child, the McCourt family kept on growing extending to Malachy, Margaret, the twins- Eugene and Oliver, and eventually Michael and Alphonsus. Thus, beginning at a young age, Frank had the responsibility of tending to his brothers and sisters while his mother was desperately trying to find food to feed the family, and his father was getting drunk in the bars.

Although Frank’s father was not around for most of Frank’s life, Malachy did nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he could provide: a story. Throughout Angela’s Ashes Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain and The Angel on the Seventh Step, Frank’s very own angel who also brings his mother babies.

“Would the Angel on the Seventh Step tell you what to do, if
you didn’t know what to do?”
“He would son, he would. That’s the job of an angel. Even the one of the Seventh Step.”
I know he’s there because the seventh step feels warmer
Than the other steps
(Pg.125)

After the death of Margaret, the McCourts move to Ireland where the situation only worsened. Frank’s father continued to drink the money away and most nights the family was left to starve.

“I want ye to stand in the middle of the pub and tell every
man your father is drinking away the money
for the baby. Ye are to tell the world there isn’t a scrap of food
in this house, not a lump of coal to start the fire,
not a drop of milk for the baby’s bottle.”
(Pg.183-184)

Life for the McCourts was testing and difficult. The children wore rags for diapers, Malachy and Frank wore torn shoes in the winter, and Angela was forced to gather scraps of coal and paper from the roadside just to light a fire. Frank’s mother, Angela did all she could to keep her family alive. However, throughout all these tribulations, young Frank is determined that there must be a better life out of the slums of Ireland. He feels there must be more meaning to life than tormenting poverty, condescending priests and discriminating schoolmasters.

Tis class distinction. They don’t want boys from lanes on the altar.
They don’t want the ones with the scabby knees and
Hair sticking up. Oh, no, they want the nice boys with
Hair oil and new shoes that have fathers
With suits and ties and steady jobs. That’s what it is, and tis hard to hold
Onto the Faith with the snobbery that’s in it.
(Pg.149)

When Frank’s father left to work in England and did not send any money home, Frank was left to take on the role of father, brother and son.

My heart is pounding and I want to cry
But I can’t because my father isn’t there
And I’m the man of the family.
(Pg.182)

Over the years, Frank witnesses the deaths of many loved ones, deaths of friends and the deteriorating health of his mother. However, Frank McCourt remains strong within himself and never gives up. He goes on with fierce courage and the determination to make life better. Even though his own health is in danger, he eats scraps from the ground and has to deal with the wild emotions of being a teenager himself.

How could I with my hair sticking up, pimples dotting my
Face, my eyes red and oozing yellow, my teeth
Crumbling with the rot, no shoulders,
No flesh on my arse after cycling thirteen thousand miles
To deliver twenty thousand telegrams to every door in
Limerick and regions beyond.
(Pg.338)

Through all of this Frank remains a rock, a steady foundation for the sake of his family.

In Angela’s Ashes, Frank endures poverty, near starvation and the cruelty of relatives and neighbours- yet he overcomes his misfortunes. Although Frank McCourt faced numerous impediments, he is ready to start over and better his life.

On my days off from work I walk around Limerick
And look at all the places we lived, the Windmill Street,
Hartstonge Street, Roden Lane, Rosbrien Road, Little
Barrington Street, which is really a lane.
I stand looking at Theresa’s Carmody’s house till her mother comes
Out and says, What do you want?
I sit at the graves of Oliver and Eugene in the Old St.Patrick’s burial
Ground, and cross the road to St.Lawrence’s Cemetery
Where Theresa is buried.
Wherever I go I hear voices of the dead and I wonder
If they can follow you across the Atlantic Ocean.

Angela’s Ashes: A Look at Irish Culture during the Depression Era

Frank Mc Court, the author of Angelas Ashes, was born during the Great Depression. A few years after immigrating to the United States because their families believed they would find their fortune here, his Irish family moved back to Ireland in hopes of a better life. They were met with only more hardships in their native country. His book shows the struggle and small joys of daily life with siblings, school friends, and the adults in his life. It also provides much insight into the way the people in Ireland lived at that time. The author tells the story from the viewpoint of Frank, the oldest child of a father whose background in “the North” (having been involved with the IRA) causes continual suspicion. His mother, Angela, had never known her father and her own mother is very miserly and offers no help to the woman and her children.

Through the course of telling about his own life and his familys hard times, McCourt touches upon the fighting that went on between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland and the toll this had on the Irish people. He also delved deeply into the issue of poverty among the Irish and the many ways they dealt with the hardship in their lives.
Life in the Irish city of Limerick is so hard that starvation is a way of life for most of the residents “Consumption,” pneumonia, and typhoid are rampant; children go to school barefoot or in pieces of flopping rubber; and stealing is a necessity. Frank’s baby sister and twin brothers die due to the familys economic situation causing a lack of nutrition and medical attention. There is also “the drink”– the disease of Irish fathers who spend their weeks’ wages in the pub on Friday night. (p. 184)

Franks mother was forced to seek Relief, the Irish version of Americas welfare system. She also sought help from the Catholic and Protestant Church in feeding her family. The iron in the book was that help was not given out without an accompanying sermon, in hopes of persuasion to join one or the other. Mc Court depicts those in charge of the Relief system as being biased and unchristian type of people who looked down on those they were in a position to help. (p. 150)

There are many amusing stories in the book revolving around the way the young children had to fend for themselves while their parents sought work. In an effort to keep their apartment heated throughout an especially cold winter, the children tore apart the furniture, and when that was gone they began to use the wood from the walls. When the landlord came to see the apartment, he commented that he thought he had rented them a 4-room apartment when it was only a 3-room, not realizing they had torn out an entire wall. (p. 79)

Even those relatives who had some money were not always eager to help the family. They were critical of the drunken father and for the mother who continued having children they could not support. Ironically, however, when there was a death in the family, everyone showed up with lots of food and beer, since the deceased at that time was laid out in their familys parlor. They children therefore grew up kind of looking forward to these events so that they could eat.

Frank did not like school too much. The teachers were very strict and often would beat the children with a stick for minor infractions or because they did not understand their lessons. The Irish children were often more concerned about filling their stomachs rather than their minds, and would cut school to go out looking for food and coal.

After experiencing a very sickly childhood and spending much of his time in a convalescent home, (p. 338) Frank leaves school to earn money for the family after his father had joined the war-time wave of work in England and did not return. Franks hopes were to return to America. Blessed with verbal skills and stamina, through stealth, charm and struggle he manages to save what is needed to book ship’s passage to America. As the Hudson River flows by en route to Albany, the ship’s Wireless Officer says to Frank, “My God, . . . isn’t this a great country altogether?” Frank in the single phrase making up the last chapter answers, ” ‘T is.” (p. 365)

This book was very interesting because it was written from first hand experience and it was my first experience with a culture I had heard much about through cultural events in America, but had not really learned much of its history. It is easy to see that Irish people must be strong because many of them struggled against great odds to get ahead in life.

From speaking to people, Ireland today is quite different from the country depicted in Mc Courts book, largely because of the influx of technology that has created jobs in the country. Today, Ireland enjoys good schools with education available for everyone and a government-run health care system where anyone can get equal care. Jobs are plentiful and the governments economy is strong.

Angela’s Ashes and The Color of Water: Book Review

Both books that Ive read, Angela’s Ashes and The Color of Water both demonstrated behavior than can be considered dysfunctional. A dysfunctional family is one that fails to meet some or all the basic needs of its members. Sometimes these needs, such as food, shelter or clothing are so basic that people take them for granted. More often, emotional needs, such as the need for love, support and security go unmet. Although a family can be dysfunctional in several ways there are some characteristics that occur more often than others.

Drugs, alcoholism, death, abandonment, starvation and anxiety are some examples of dysfunctional characteristics that can be found in both Angelas Ashes and The Color of Water. Just because a family is dysfunctional does not mean its members do not love each other. Dysfunction usually results from a large amount of problems in the lives of the parents. Parents usually do the best that they can with their children but the truth is that theyre human too and cant always manage the difficult task of parenting if they are overwhelmed by their own troubles. It could be that their parenting skills have been impaired by mental or physical illness or simply by ignorance.

Also, many parents of dysfunctional families grew up in unhealthy or abusive families themselves and dont know how to break the mold. It may be hard for a person in a dysfunctional family to believe or understand it, but the truth is that poor parenting is rarely intentional. The result of dysfunction vary from the type of dysfunction the family endures. Ive heard of people becoming abusive, alcoholics, drug abusers, or runaways. Some people are too weak to cope with the situations in their home, so they flee and start new lives which usually end up becoming dysfunctional again. Dysfunction rubs off on children.

Because children are so vulnerable they look at their parents as role models. Children usually end up having no sense of their own reality; therefor no sense of self. The cannot deal properly with their own feelings because they have been taught to deny those feelings. they cant value their needs realistically because their needs have always come second to the needs of the family, which were to stop anything from changing in order to ward off abandonment. In The Color of Water the stepfather dies creating an unhealthy and new environment for the family. As the mother is now forced to raise her twelve children alone, she is forced to take on even more responsibility.

Rachel Shilsky never before had a job. She was struggling to make ends meet. Playing games with her children to determine who was going to eat dinner and breakfast that day. The winners would eat and the losers would suffer because the family was living in poverty, not to say that poverty is a dysfunction, but the dysfunction develops as a reaction to the consequences that the family has to face. Many wealthy people can become dysfunctional. Rachel places five children in two beds. Most of the time the kids were so uncomfortable that they chose to rather sleep on the cold cement floor of their Red Hook, Brooklyn housing project.

The kids never realized that they were living a different life than other kids until they are sent to school and James, the youngest of twelve children asks his mother why she doesnt look like the other childrens moms. Not only are they living in different atmospheres enduring situations that most kids didnt have to endure, but their mother was white, the kids were mixed and the people in their neighborhood were all black. Their family were outcasts. James and his siblings learned to deal with the color of their skin, the death of loved ones, the poverty and the fact that they didnt know where they came from.

The children often thought about where their mother was from.  We traded information on Mommy the way people traded baseball cards at trade shows, offering bits and pieces of information fraught with gossip, nonsense, wisdom and sometimes just plain foolishness. What does it matter to you anyway? my older brother Richie scoffed when I asked him if we had any grandparents, Youre adopted anyway. This shows how the children dealt with realities that they had no control over. Another time the kids would joke around with James telling him that Rachel wasnt his real mom, but his real mom was in jail. They would tease him until he seriously began to think about it.

The only good thing that comes out of dysfunction is strength. Sometimes it takes years of therapy to find the strength and self-individuality but most of the time people find it. Other times people become empty and hopeless and look to substances, people or behaviors to fill themselves up because they have not learned to fulfill themselves from their own resources. People who have lived in dysfunction often need help in finding out who they are, separating from their families and learning how to love their lives, as themselves in mature healthy and functional ways.

This is a more positive outlook into leaving dysfunctional ways. Angelas Ashes and The Color of Water are alike in many ways. Both stories contain mothers who are loving, caring and would do close to anything for their children . Angela goes as far as to begging for food and going to the St.Vincent DePaul Society for boots for the children. Both families have to cope with the absence of paternal figures when Malechy is constantly out to the pubs wasting the dole money that is supposed to be used for food and rent to satisfy his own habits while Angela is at home struggling to make ends meet without him.

Malechy is not a proper father figure for his children. Rachel Shilskys first husband and second husband die leaving her to struggle to keep food on the table. She even manages to send her children to summer camp. Rachel got her strength from turning to god. She was a dedicated church goer. Both families deal with criticism about their marriages. Franks mother Angela was criticized by her two cousins, Philomena and Delia (the big breasted one) for marrying Malechy who they didnt approve of because he was a Orangeman, someone from the North and to add to that he had Presbyterian in him. Rachel was constantly critiqued by her old family friends for marrying a black man twice and raising her children Christian.

In both books the children were one time embarrassed by their mothers actions, in The Color of Water when Rachel would ride her little red bicycle around the neighborhood being the only white person in miles, she was bound to be a victim of robbery or possibly worse. In Angelas Ashes Frank becomes upset when his mother has no choice but to beg for food, to him that is worse than his father wasting the dole money. Not all the people in the books are survivors of dysfunction. Being raised in Limerick, Ireland is considered quite adysfunction If we look back on it today.

With the rainy weather and the lack of medication and care, people died. Among those were Angelas children, Margaret the little baby, the twins Eugene and Oliver. Frank prospered and lives on today to tell his heartwrenching story of his hard times growing up in Limerick. James McBride lives on today to speak of his new found identity and his emotional journey through confusion. Both books help the reader to celebrate life and never take it for granted. I highly recommend both books.

Angela’s Ashes: The Setting Effects The Actions Of The Characters

The autobiography Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt tells the life of the McCourt family while living in poverty in Limmerick, Ireland during the 30s and 40s. Frank McCourt relates his difficult childhood to the reader up to the time he leaves for America at age nineteen. The book has many prevailing themes, but one of the most notable is the settings relationship to the family. The setting of the book ultimately influences the choices and lifestyle of the McCourt family in many ways.

Living in poverty and not being able to meet basic needs leads the characters to result to desperate measures such as stopping Frank McCourts education and taking a job to support the family. Frank is forced to take the job mostly because his father is an alcoholic and uses all the dole money and his wages to buy beer instead of feeding his family. Frank describes this pattern of drinking away the money by saying ” When Dad comes home with the drink smell there is no money and Mam screams at him till the Twins cry.”(42) This situation lasts until Mr.McCourt leaves to work in England and is never heard from again which forces Frank to take a job at fourteen years old. Frank takes on the role of the head of the family proudly and comments ” Its hard to sleep when you know you know the next day youre fourteen and starting your first job as a man.” (p.309) Franks ability to provide financial stability leads to greater comfort and living conditions for the family.

The members of the McCourt family are also forced to beg and steal in order to help the familys well being. Mrs.McCourt begs charities especially the St. Vincent de Paul Society for help with basic necessities for the family such as food, clothing, and furniture. Mrs.McCourt is even forced to beg for the familys Christmas dinner. The butcher who she begs to tells her ” What you can have now missus, Is black pudding and tripe or a sheeps head or a pigs head.”(97) Mrs.McCourt reluctantly accept the pigs head and is ridiculed walking home it. Also, the children are forced to pick up scraps of coal for the fire from a road on Christmas Day. Frank describes the childrens humiliation by saying, ” Even the poorest of the poor dont go out Christmas Day picking coal off the road.” (99)

Unlike their mother the McCourt children would rather steal than beg for what they need. The children are subjected to constant humiliation for begging and receiving goods from charity. Frank and his brothers steal food and money when situations become desperate and their parents provide no support. Frank steals bananas from a store for his hungry baby brothers and describes the situation by saying ” I make sure no one is looking, grab a bunch of bananas and we feast on them in a dark corner” (p.32). Also, Frank and his brothers steal lemonade for their sick mother who begs them for lemonade after a miscarriage. Frank is motivated by his mothers desperation for the lemonade, ” I try to find the music in my own head but all I hear is my mother moaning for lemonade.”(236) Stealing for Frank and his brothers was not their first choice of providing necessities but a last resort.

Living in poor housing also influences the thoughts and actions of the McCourt family in various ways. Most of the houses the family lives in throughout the book are shabby and unsanitary and promote the familys unhealthiness. One of the houses the McCourt family lives in is characterized by the comment ” dad tells them the lavatory could kill us with every class of disease, that the kitchen floods in the winter and we have to stay upstairs to keep dry” (p.104) . Because the lavatory smells so bad and the first floor floods in the winter, the McCourt family moves up to the second floor which they refer to as Italy because it is warm and clean. The charity societies visit the Mc.Courts and realize how desperate the situation is for the family. One charity worker exclaims, ” Thats not It…..aly upstairs, thats Calcutta.” This realization allows for more charity and personal humiliation to be received by the McCourts.

Houses the McCourts live in are also cold, damp and lice infected which leads to sickness and discomfort for the family. Lice bothers the children as described by Frank McCourt telling about his brothers reaction when he first was bitten. ” Eugene went on crying and when Dad leaped from the bed we saw the fleas, leaping, jumping, fastened to our flesh.”(59) The children are constantly cold and uncomfortable because of drafty houses and using coats to keep warm because they had no real blankets. At one point in the story, the McCourts are forced to take wood from the wall to keep a fire going. Mrs.McCourt tells the children ” One more board from that wall, one more and not another one. She says that for two weeks till theres nothing left but the beam frame.”(276) Eventually the landlord discovers the damage to the house and the McCourts are forced to move in with Mrs.McCourts cousin.

The McCourts find little hospitality in their extended family or the people of Limmerick, Ireland during the depression. Mrs.McCourts cousin resentfully allows the children and mother to live with him after being kicked out of their home, but insists that Angela do all his chores and wait on him at any time. The only time Mrs.McCourts family extends help is during times of great desperation and the assistance given is meager. An example of this is the childrens Aunt Aggie, who takes care of them for a short period of time when Mrs.McCourt develops pneumonia. She tells the children that she ” cant stand the sight of them anymore”(242) and allows them to briefly stay with her until the mother gets better. Aunt Aggie allows them a little food and is constantly degrading the children by saying thing such as “Jesus above, cant you do anything right?”(245)when the children ask questions.

Although Aunt Aggies assistance is given grudgingly, it is more than help given by Mr.McCourts side of the family. When the McCourt family arrives in Ireland and needs a place to get settled and live Grandpa McCourt tells the family ” God knows, we dont have room for six more people”(50) and that they should move to Dublin. The Grandparents offer to ” loan the family the bus fare to Dublin” (50) but, never communicates with the McCourt family after they leave the house.

The People of Limmerick, Ireland, where the family mainly resides, have many strong prejudices against the poor. The family is constantly tormented because of shabby clothes or poor housing and having to ask charities for help. The store managers try to cheat the poor out of the full amount of food they are to be given. A friend tells Mrs.McCourt
“When you go to McGraths, keep an eye on her for shell cheat you on the weight. Shell put stuff on a paper on the scale with the paper hanging down on her side behind the counter where she thinks you cant see it.” (66)

Also, the religious of Limmerick discriminate against poor children as in the case when Frank McCourt tries to become an alter boy but is denied. Mrs.McCourt explains why he is denied by saying ” They dont want boys from lanes on the alter. Oh, no they want the nice boys with hair oil and new shoes that have fathers with suits and ties and steady jobs”(149). The Mc.Court family is constantly aware of the discrimination it faces because of the poverty they live in.

The various settings of ” Angelas Ashes” effect the characters actions and lifestyle in various ways. Living in poverty challenges the family to meet basic needs through begging and stealing as well as children getting jobs to help the situation. Also, the poor housing causes the family to be subjected to disease and coldness. The society the McCourts were part of causes the family to be aware of social prejudice and learn actions to take in order to protect their rights. The setting of the book influences the McCourt familys actions and style of living.

The conception of Gay Parenting

The conception that lesbians and gay men may be parents is frequently perceived in todays society as impossible or immoral. Gay men and lesbians are often viewed as excluded from having children because sexual reproduction is related to men and women only. My approach to this uniquely controversial topic of gay parenting will be that of attempting to analyze the Pro side first. Gays and lesbians are human too and who is to say that they dont deserve equal rights in society.

Society has to realize that the modern family has developed into many different forms in recent years in that the “nuclear family” is not necessarily the most common form anymore. Then I will attempt to analyze the Con side which expresses the fact that two people of the same sex should not be raising and rearing children together. Many believe that if the couple is unable to produce children together, then they shouldnt be raising them as parents.

Children need a balance in their lives and different sexed parents can provide that balance efficiently. Each parent (mom or dad) socializes the child differently and the child needs to be introduced to both worlds. I will then proceed to critique both sides on strengths and weaknesses, based on facts, studies, and my own opinion, and then draw some of my own conclusions on this controversial topic of Gay Parenting.

The Three Key Concepts of Sociology Applied to Analyzing Single-Parent Families

What is the term family? What does it mean? Who decides what makes up a family? The definition of family means “a set of relations especially parents and children” (American Century Dictionary 205). This might include anyone related to by blood or by adoption such as: step parents, grandparents acting as parents, and even brothers and sisters sometimes sharing the same household. The term family has been believed to coincide with the word “marriage”. If you were to have a family, you were also thought to have a husband or wife. This was thought to be the norm for many centuries. This was named the “institutional family.

But we have reinvented the word family. A family can consist of single parent family, step family, or a first marriage family. The role of the family is also a key concept in defining the family (Doherty 11). “In all societies the first major agent of socialization for most individuals is the family” (Thompson and Hickey 105). It is the nucleus of American life. The role of the American family is much the same as in any other country. Each family member has to fulfill his or her own part. Being a father, a mother, or a daughter. The mass media will have an influence on the familys role.

For instance, the media has portrayed men to be thought of as the “bread-winner”. To more or less support the family. This family type was atypical of the American family. This was called the “Traditional Nuclear Family. ” This kind of ideology has existed for centuries (Thompson and Hickey 386). But of all family types, single parent families have made the most gains during the past few decades. According to a sociological book called Society in Focus, the definition of a single parent family is “families in which one parent resides with and cares for one or more children” (387).

Researches estimate that a century ago one in three children spent part of their childhood in a single parent home” (384). This estimate is taken during the colonial period of America. More families in the twenty-first century will be single parent. This is because of the factor of people getting married later in life, the high rate of divorce, and the opportunity to gain a career. By view of the social structure, single parenting has changed the views of the way parents treat and raise their children.

By definition, social structure is “the ordered relationships and patterned expectations that guide social interaction” (Thompson and Hickey 142). Even though there has been a decline in marriage, functionalism believes that the family is the foundation of social order. According to the sociologists Talcot Parsons, “any other type of family other than the nuclear family is dysfunctional in society because they are not suited for societys economic needs and therefore may be a potential threat to society” (2). Please do not plagiarism my paper The structural functionalist perspective views society as having a structure of several components.

Family, religion, schools, state, and the economy. Each of these institutions are interrelated and interdependent (Thompson and Hickey 24). For instance marriage. The foundation of functionalism is the family. The family fulfills vital functions for instance culture, support, and status. The institute of marriage is important because functionalism ignores conflict and diversity. So functionalism, encourages marriage. Functionalism does not take into account the reasons why there are single parent families (Mills 2). In the Conflict Perspective, marriage and family do not coincide with one another.

Rather conflict theorists agree that the environment and other forces shape the marriage and family. These powers “are rooted in structures of social inequality” (Eitzen and Baca-Zinn 1987:13). The Marxist view is those who have the means to produce wealth and those who dont. Capitalism is the capitalist class vs. the working class. With the divorce rate so high, single parents dont really affect capitalism. In fact, they might help benefit that economy. “Single mothers can produce cheap labor, social services not amenable to profit making, and new laborers for temporary dead-end jobs” (Thompson and Hickey 378).

From the symbolic interactionist perspective, there are no fixed meanings. Marriage and family do not coincide together like, functionalism. Symbolic interactionism does not force the word marriage with the word family. “Most single parent families are headed either by ex-spouses who have custody of the children and depend on inadequate child-care payments or by unmarried women” (Thompson and Hickey 387). Women feel more independent than they did 100 years ago. Who chooses these decisions to be a single mother or to be a single father?

What laws govern these choices? The choices that were made by these kinds of families fall under a category called social actions. A social action or social act is defined as “behaviors influenced by or shaped by the presence of others” (Thompson and Hickey 143). This means that someone somewhere had to decide that they wanted a divorce or they decided to become a single parent. People began to follow these trends for several reasons. These trends include the possibility of violence in the family, the spouse had died, or the particular idea of being a single parent.

Divorce rates have increased incredibly during the past half-century and now are currently among the highest in the world. “Since World War II, more than 70 percent of single parent families have been created by divorce and separation and the rest by unmarried mothers or fathers who have chosen to raise children by themselves” (Thompson and Hickey 387). “Marriage has been seen as an unbreakable contract and the economic perils of a solo existence made abandoning ones partner difficult, particularly for women” (Kramer 160). Functionalism believes that trends do not exist.

Structural functionalist ignore family violence. Functionalism is made up of institutions, and then again do not believe in the separation of a family. When a victim is beaten, functionalist theorists focused on these family members and recognized their “ability to adjust and reorganize, rather than the need for social change at the macro and extra familial level” (Adams 13). Conflict theorists disagree. If there is battery in a marriage, then the physically abused spouse should leave. In the conflict perspective, the patriarchal family exists. This means the men have the control over the women.

Within the conflict viewpoint, feminism has a strong argument in the social action category, under single parenting. Feminism remarks on how women are in distress and have defined violence as a reflection of the patriarchs power. This might be the cause of so many divorces and in turn, leading to single parenting. Please do not plagiarism my paper Symbolic Interactionism provides a different meaning. Trends correspond along with divorce, single parenting, and individuality. If a family depends on a divorce, symbolic interactionism will allow this to take place, under the laws of the state and the government.

Individuals should be free to enter marriages, as they are free to choose their spouses, that in turn they should be free to eliminate those spouses in a time of urgency. “Today marriages have often become individual endeavors in which partners seek to satisfy their own needs – and can often easily dissolve the marriage when needs are unmet” (Johnson 12). “The family is the toughest institution that we have. It is the institution to which we owe our humanity” (Mills 3). The family can emphasize so many different things. Culture, parental guidance, education, and family history.

The family is so curtail and no other institution can provide like the family can. Functional integration is this basis. The terminology of functional integration is “the integration resulting from the manner in which the different specialized parts of a whole society interact, interrelate, and make reciprocal contributions to each other and to society as a whole” (“Integrative Concept” 1). Functional integration is what makes up the family. It is what keeps the family together in a time of crisis. Functional integration is curtail on providing the role of child bearing, child raising, and adulthood.

Structural Functionalism is the basis here. The norm here is the nuclear family and that family alone. Dorothy Smith comments on how the nuclear family is seen as an ideological code that is “deeply embedded within the discourse of sociology and operates so subtly, that it prevails despite the conscious intentions of the authors” (2). Structural functionalists do not see the single family as a family. Rather they ignore it and believe that kind of institution to be dysfunctional. By Coser, “the family is the most elementary social unit and the prototype of all other human associations, for these evolve from family and kinship groups” (1).

By way of the conflict perspective, conflict theorists view the family as an institution to which we will get all of our knowledge by determination of class. Conflict will acknowledge that all families have an important role in the development in a childs life, depending on the social class of that family. So the functional integration of the single parent family can exist in the conflict theory, but the determination of that childs outcome has its reliance on the social class from whence it came from (Mills 1).

Through the rationale of symbolic interactionism, relies on individuality. The institution of a family in this perspective is important because it can provide the background for culture, humanism, power, and character. Yet, symbolic interactionism does not believe that the institution of the family is the complete basis of all knowledge, but rather “the significance of the relationship to the human conduct is nevertheless a by-product of interaction with others” (Blumer 3).

So parenting, much less single parenting, is an output of social interaction with the children. Power in the family is very important. It stands for who is in charge and who isnt, who has the authority and who doesnt. The sociological meaning of power is “the ability to realize ones will, even against resistance and the opposition of others” (Thompson and Hickey 22). Power in the family is what may make or break the family. Too much power might cause a spouse to move away.

Gay Parenting Controversy

Gay parenting is an issue that affects a great number of people worldwide. Although the number is a minority, the issue still causes heated debate. People who are in favor of Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual parenting rights claim that as long as there is a commitment to parenthood then successful parenting is achievable as a homosexual or bi-sexual. Since within a gay couple there is no chance for accidental pregnancy, the couple must make a conscious decision to become a parent.

People opposed to homosexual parenting argue that homosexual couples are not capable of having long enduring strong relationships required for the successful upbringing of children. They claim it is in the child’s best interest to be raised by one female and one male. Such a family would provide the best environment for healthy intellectual and emotional growth. Obviously the debate over homosexual parenting brings for concepts of individual rights and the definition of family. What the argument boils down to is the definition of a family. With “family” defined there is little argument over who is capable of becoming a parent.

An editorial found in Pride Page, an online gay community news and information cite, offers a defense to the gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual right to parenthood. The article by Brian W. Fairbanks entitled “Gay Parenting is still Parenting” attempts to provide the reader with valid reasons as to why gay couples should be allowed to become parents. Fairbanks believes that the same reason a heterosexual couple should be allowed to have children is greater in homosexual couples. Heterosexual couples are given the right to child-rearing because the are seen as fit to be parents.

Homosexual couples have the advantage. He points out that the only way a homosexual couple could become parents is through actively choosing to become a parent. In no way would it not be planned, unwanted, or unexpected. Fairbanks’ also argues, “it takes love” to make a family and sex is not a part of the equation. The author is clearly very level headed regarding this issue. He doesn’t make outlandish remarks or accuse anyone as being the cause of the problem. He attempts to touch the reader’s heartstrings instead of raising anger. The evidence he presents is quite valid and believable.

He brings forth one fact from the American Bar Association as well as three references to pop culture, which anyone can recognize. The author opens with reference to a quote from Jean Kerr; “Now the thing about having a baby…is thereafter you have it. ” Fairbanks’ argument is that this quote doesn’t “sink in with potential gay parents anymore than it does with many straight ones. ” In other words, he believes that no matter what the sexual orientation people simply don’t realize all that is involved in having children. Parenting is to be taken seriously.

It is hard work which necessitates “selflessness, responsibility, and commitment that few people…are always prepared to give. ” Here the author is trying to put homosexual couples on the same playing field as heterosexual couples. To define what it takes to be a good parent allows the reader to become subjective no matter what the point of view regarding gay parenting. I feel the method Fairbanks used was excellent in forcing myself to look at the true essence of parenting and opened the playing field for any point of view, which he was about to make.

That next point would be regarding the choice of parenthood. Fairbanks claims there is one advantage homosexual couples have over heterosexual couples. There is no need for birth control or abortion and there is no fear of accidental pregnancy. Because of this homosexual couples must make that conscious decision; the intelligent, responsible choice to become a parent. If the parent(s) are willing to give themselves to have a child then, according to Fairbanks, that would make gays just as good of a candidate for parenthood as anyone else.

As long as “the commitment to parenthood is there, successful parenting is wholly within the gay couple’s grasp. ” With successful parenting being defined earlier in his work Fairbanks has made a convincing argument. The author next brings to light moral ideals set by our society. He strongly pokes fun at Dan Quayle’s failed attempt to condemn “Murphy Brown” for having a child out of wedlock. Quayle did not believe that a child could be brought up successfully without the “traditional man-woman household. ” Fairbanks continues, “but the facts prove otherwise.

It is here he mentions data from the Family Pride Coalition. Their data, derived from the American Bar Association, points out that six to ten million American children were brought up around a gay parent. Fairbanks does mention that although these children are product of heterosexual relationships the numbers are climbing. Fairbanks’ refutes his opponents’ claim of gay couples being more “promiscuous and incapable of the kind of lasting, stable relationships that children need by proving that “sexual orientation is not really the issue.

By stating the fact that heterosexual couples are increasingly becoming divorced and thus can’t claim to be more stable than any homosexual relationship, Fairbanks affirms his argument that no matter the sexual preference a chance for instability as a couple is present. He also argues that if gay marriage would be legalized there is a greater potential for increase of committed gay relationships. Fairbanks makes another valuable argument regarding the standard family as is accepted in today’s society.

He notes Quayle’s argument was based on religion, a religion which promotes one male heterosexual, one female heterosexual raising children. Yet, according to Fairbanks, families have “long…defied the accepted norm. ” His proof is that there have been, for some time, multi-racial, multi-generational, single mom, single dad, and foster families. His judgment to be a family comes in the presence of love and acceptance. Underneath all of the controversy over homosexuality Fairbanks wants people to understand that it is not a question of homosexuality but rather one of who is willing and capable of being a good parent.

Fairbanks is successful in conveying his message that love and sacrifice are what’s necessary for proper parenting and that homosexual couples are just as willing, and competent individuals, able to become parents. His final line is very heartfelt. It is the type that stays with you even if you forget what the previous text was about: “Parenting is the most important job in the world, and it’s not for everyone. It takes commitment. It takes sacrifice. Most of all, it takes love. Love, not sex, and gays and lesbians are just as qualified for the job as anyone.

This sums up his view without being demanding or critical of anyone’s personal point of view. I must note that before reading this editorial I had not given much thought into the subject. Because of Fairbanks’ writing I do agree with his view. He has struck a nerve that has caused me to think of homosexual parenting in comparison to my own upbringing. Because Fairbanks’ was writing without a controversial tone I was, in a sense, listening better. I understood his argument and his proof, without being too technical, did cause me to reflect on my own definition of ‘FAMILY. ’

A Cross Cultural Perspective of Polygamy

As an institution, polygyny, the social arrangement that permits a man to have more than one wife at the same time, exists in all parts of the world. From our present knowledge, there are very few primitive tribes in which a man is not allowed to enter into more than one union. In fact, ethologists now believe that only one to two percent of all species may be monogamous (Tucker). None of the simian species are strictly monogamous; our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, practice a form of group marriage.

Among the 849 human societies examined by the anthropologist Murdock (1957), 75% practiced polygyny. Many peoples have been said to be monogamous, but it is difficult to infer from the data at our disposal whether monogamy is the prevalent practice, the moral ideal, or an institution safeguarded by sanctions (Malinowski 1962). Historically, polygyny was a feature of the ancient Hebrews, the traditional Chinese, and the nineteenth-century Mormons in the United States, but the modern practice of polygyny is concentrated in Africa, the Middle East, India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The extent to which men are able to acquire multiple wives depends on many factors, including the economic prosperity of the man’s family, the prevailing bride price, the differential availability of marriageable females, the need and desire for additional offspring, and the availability of productive roles for subsequent wives. Even in societies that permit polygyny, the conditions of life for the masses make monogamy the most common form of marriage. The two variations of polygyny are sororal (the cowives are sisters) and nonsororal (the cowives are not sisters).

Some societies also observe the custom of levirate, making it compulsory for a man to marry his brother’s widow. It must be remembered that any form of polygyny is never practiced throughout the entire community: there cannot exist a community in which every man would have several wives because this would entail a huge surplus of females over males (Malinowski 1962). Another important point is that in reality it is not so much a form of marriage fundamentally distinct from monogamy as rather a multiple monogamy.

It is always in fact the repetition of marriage contract, entered individually with each wife, establishing an individual relationship between the man and each of his consorts (Benson 1971). Where each wife has her separate household and the husband visits them in turn, polygynous marriage resembles very closely a temporarily interrupted monogamy. In such cases, there is a series of individual marriages in which domestic arrangements, economics, parenthood, as well as legal and religious elements do not seriously encroach on each other.

The polygyny with separate households is more universally prevalent. Among the great majority of the Bantu and Hamitic peoples of Africa, where the number of wives, especially in the case of chiefs, is often considerable, each wife commonly occupies a separate hut with her children, and manages an independent household with well-defined legal and economic rights (Pasternak 1976). Where, on the other hand, as among many N. American tribes, two or more wives share the same household, polygyny affects the institution of matrimonial life much more deeply.

Unlike wives in many other African groups who live in their own huts, Ijaw wives have apartments within one large structure and our brought into much more frequent contact with their co-wives (Rosaldo 1974). Various theories have been advanced to explain the cultural endorsement of polygyny. One of the earliest explanations was based on the notion that men have a greater disposition for variety in sexual partners than do women (Tucker). Many ethologists believe that there is a sociobiological imperative for men to have as many sexual partners as possible (Sayers).

While this theory is of historical interest, there exists no empirical support for the greater sex drive of the male, nor is there any reason to expect the male sex drive to vary from one culture to another. Women are just as naturally interested in sex, perhaps even more so. Women can be multi- orgasmic and have a much broader range of sexual stimulation than men. Non-monogamy is reproductively savvy for males in order to spread their genes, and for females in order to improve the hardiness and genetic variety of their offspring (Benson).

It has also been suggested that polygyny as a marriage form evolved in response to lengthy postpartum sex taboos because polygyny provides a legitimate sexual outlet for the husband during this period of taboo (Whiting). Whiting discovered that societies dependent on root and tree crops (presumably low protein societies) are more likely to have a long postpartum sex taboo, and there did seem to be a statistical association between the presence of this taboo and a preference for polygyny.

While men may seek other sexual relationships during the period of a long postpartum taboo, it is not clear why polygyny is the only possible solution to the problem, since the legitimation of sex does not depend exclusively on marriage. The problem could be alleviated by extra-marital alliances or masturbation. The existence of a low sex ratio, a scarcity of men in relation to women, has also been offered as an explanation for the origin of this practice (Pasternak 1976).

Polygyny maximizes the opportunities for females to marry in a society in which adult males are in short supply. The fact that the sex ratio at the same time of young adulthood is numerically balanced in some societies suggests that while a sex ratio imbalance may contribute to the development of polygyny in special cases, it is an incomplete explanation for the existence of polygyny in the majority of societies in the world. For example, plural marriage developed among the Mormons in Utah when, as in most of the western states of the United States, there was an excess of males.

The theory that has stimulated the most empirical investigation links the existence of polygyny to the productive value of the woman. According to this theory, the occurrence of polygyny is positively related to the extent to which women contribute to the subsistence bases of their respective societies (Pasternak 1976). However, further research suggests that the relationship between women’s economic contribution and marriage form is more complex and that there exists a curvilinear relationship between women’s productive value and the existence of polygyny (Rosaldo 1974).

Polygyny has been found to be a feature of economic systems where potential female contribution to subsistence is high (such as in gathering and agricultural economies). In many African communities, the chief derives his wealth from the plurality of his wives, who by means of the produce of their agricultural labor enable him to exercise the lavish hospitality upon which so much of his power rests. The practice has also been found in economic systems, however, where potential female contribution is low (such as hunting and fishing economies).

It has been suggested that multiple wives are valued in the first instance, for economic reasons, while in the latter instance, they are valued for reproductive reasons in that the taking of multiple wives maximizes the potential to produce sons, who in turn make an economic contribution (Malinowski 1962). A multitude of wives, however, may increase not only a man’s wealth but also his social importance, reputation and authority, apart from the influence of the number of his children.

Hence, we find in many Bantu communities of Africa that the desire to have many wives is one of the leading motives in the life of every man; while the fact that in many Melanesian and Polynesian communities, polygyny is a prerogative and therefore the chief testifies to the social prestige attaching to it (Priso). Politically or socially stratified divisions within a society also favor the emergence of polygyny, since economic rights to women can be acquired, and since marriages can be used to create political alliances between unequal groups (Rosaldo).

While polygyny tends to be viewed by Western cultures as an instrument for the domination of women by men, the degree of autonomy experienced by women in polygynous unions varies within and among cultures. The degree of autonomy of each cowife is influenced by the availability of opportunities outside of the home, the degree to which she maintains contact with her family of origin, the availability of gainful employment, the degree of importance attached to the children she has produced, and her life cycle state.

Benefits for the wives also include the sharing of economic and domestic responsibilities, the freedom that derives from living apart from the constant supervision of a husband, and the diminished pressure for constant sexual accessibility. For example in many African polygynous societies women gain economic autonomy through trading. Trading not only gives de facto independence from the husband’s authority (and may ease tensions between cowives), but also brings women together in extra-domestic cooperative groups such as trading associations (Benson 1971).

Paradoxically, polygyny becomes attractive to both parties. For instance, in Africa a man who controls much land may marry several wives to work for him. Since he is providing only about half of their income, even a man of modest means can take several wives. In addition, women find polygyny helps lighten their work burden. In many cases, the first wife takes the initiative in suggesting that a second wife, who can take over the most tiresome jobs in the household, should be procured. In the traditional African setting, marriage is a matter of considerable importance.

It is through marriage that the constituent elements of society reproduce themselves and that groups and individuals further a complex strategy. Women play a crucial role in this process, since they gather and control other women as wives and companions for brothers, sons, and husbands. A husband chooses his first wife with care, since she is responsible for training all subsequent wives and organizing them, older children, clients, wards, and, in the past slaves, into an agricultural work force.

The senior wife is responsible for producing the agricultural wealth of the household, and if her warrior husband is absent or preoccupied for long periods of time, it is she who often functions as the effective head of household. Even though a husband may marry younger, more beautiful wives, he continues to regard his “big wife” with great respect and consideration (Rosaldo). In Mende, the head wife in a large polygynous household is given much religious as well as economic power.

She organizes the agricultural work force, and stores and markets economic surpluses. Because of these roles, Mende head wives are seen as authority figures, and occasionally a chief’s head wife will succeed him in office even though she resides virilocally in his chiefdom and has no genealogical right to rule in the village of his kin (Tucker). Jealousy, while not an inevitable consequence of polygyny, is reported in many polygynous societies.

Tension is common when women are competing for goods and services from the husband and since each wife attempts to build a uterine family at the expense of her co-wives’ children (Rosaldo). Among the Kanuri of Bornu (part of a centralized Muslim state), women are married very young, often to middle-aged men. A woman’s ability to control a husband’s dominance depends on her ability to withdraw food and sexual services. A second wife is a considerable threat to her, resulting in less attention for her as well as for her children, and she loses some of her ability to gain compliance from her husband.

However, Malinowski (1962) notes that jealousy among cowives is more a rivalry to secure maximum access to resources for themselves and their offspring than sexual jealousy. To minimize this conflict among cowives, a set of rules is often established that specifies responsibilities and rights concerning sex, economics, and personal possessions. A Patani man follows a prescribed order of sleeping with each of his wives, as does the Korokorosei husband, but the women differ in the scheduling of their domestic responsibilities to him.

A Patani woman cooks and cares for her husband only when it is her turn to sleep with him. A Korokorosei woman must cook for her husband every day and perform domestic tasks for him whenever he asks. The presence of associations in Patani assists a woman in coping with difficulties in her co-wife relationships. The Korokorosei woman must resolve her own problems (Priso). In group families the predominant themes is not swinging sex, however, the “swinging” label still may persist in areas where polygyny is not so common.

A fundamental problem with parenting in such group’s stems from the social stigma attached to “deviant” life-styles. There are obvious difficulties in raising children in a social environment so extensively criticized or condemned, especially when the parents realize that their children may grow up alienated either from them or from the mainstream culture to which they eventually will be called on to adapt (Sayres). Children in polygynous unions may be reared primarily by their mother, under the supervision of the senior cowife, or jointly with a system of rotation.

Because the economic claims that many cowives make on their husbands are on behalf of their children, one of the advantages of occupying the position of senior wife is that the position carries with it preferential treatment for the offspring. The notion that mothers in polygynous unions develop extraordinary close ties with their children because of the father’s absence is not supported (Tucker). Although an African husband can expect to have his wife or wives supporting themselves and working for him, he has very little claim to his children.

Female farming and polygyny are nearly always coupled with “matrilineal descent,” meaning that heritage is traced only through the mother’s line. Often children bear their mother’s name. The result is that marriages are relatively transient and divorce is common. In African divorce, the husband obtains certain domestic and sexual services from the wife, but her other loyalties and her offspring always belong to her lineage (meaning her natal family). If there is divorce, the lineage will care for her and her children. She is not “absorbed” into her husband’s lineage.

In Stanleyville (the Congo), well over half of those who had been married had also been divorced. According to one calculation, Hausa women (in Nigeria) average about three marriages between puberty and menopause. Eight out of ten persons over 40 years of age in a Yao village (Nyasaland) were found to have been divorced. In the Voltaic group of the Mossi, men who have migrated to neighboring Ghana may establish households with the Ashanti women but avoid marriage because the Ashanti matrilineal descent pattern would not let them take their own children back with them.

In patrilineal or “dual descent” societies, by contrast, marriages are stable. Illegitimacy is also regarded differently since children belong to the mother’s line anyway. Early illegitimacy can even have a positive aspect, since it proves fertility. (Malinowski 1962) Some believe that polygyny is linked with HIV and Hepatitis C. In places like Rwanda and Burundi, polygyny decreases infection by allowing women for whom there are not enough available marriageable mates (due to war, violence, imprisonment, etc. o be married to the few available marriageable men and be sexually fulfilled without having to find sex promiscuously or turning to prostitution to find fulfillment or support themselves.

Those who keep their sexual and body fluid activities within their bonded polygynous marriages do not spread or acquire HIV. The false hope placed in condoms (which have a 20% one-out-of-five failure rate according to the FDA and our Public Health Depts. ) results in far more deaths from these diseases than such deaths from polygyny (Sayres).

Although antecedents to the occurrence and maintenance of polygyny vary from society to society, ideology and customs develop once polygyny is adopted that contribute to its perpetuation long after the original reason for the practice disappears. In traditional societies that have encouraged plural marriages in the past, however, the trend is moving toward monogamy. In some cases, this movement occurs in stages, and in other cases, polygyny is permitted but discouraged by recognizing the first marriage as legal and relegating additional wives to the status of concubines.

The explanation most commonly advanced for this movement away from polygyny is that monogamy is more compatible with industrialization (Benson 1971). Of course, the role of ideology and the banning of polygyny must also be considered as factors contributing to the decline of the practice. Some American men take the position that monogamy protects the rights of women. However, are these men concerned with liberation movements from the suffragists of the early twentieth century to the feminists of today? The truth of the matter is that monogamy protects men, allowing them to “play around” without responsibility.

Easy birth control and easy legal abortion has opened the door of illicit sex to woman and she has been lured into the so-called sexual revolution. Nevertheless, she is still the one who suffers the trauma of abortion and the side effects of the birth control methods. Taking aside the plagues of venereal diseases, herpes and AIDS, the male continues to enjoy himself free of worry. Men are the ones protected by monogamy while women continue to be victims of men’s desires. Polygyny is very much opposed by the male dominated society because it forces men to face up to responsibility and fidelity.

It forces them to take responsibility for their polygynous inclinations, and protects and provides for women and children. The bottom line in the marriage relationship is good morality and happiness, creating a just and cohesive society where the needs of men and women are well taken care of. The present Western society, which permits free sex between consenting adults, has give rise to an abundance of irresponsible sexual relationships, an abundance of “fatherless” children, many unmarried teenage mothers; all becoming a burden on the country’s welfare system.

In part, such an undesirable welfare burden has given rise to a bloated budget deficit, which even an economically powerful country like the United States cannot accommodate. We find that artificially established monogamy had become a factor in ruining the family structure, and the social, economic, and political systems in this country. Polygyny has been practiced by mankind throughout the world for thousands of years. It has been proven advantageous economically and politically for both males and females.

Having other cowives lets women share the economic and domestic responsibilities of the household, it allows independence from the husband, and also the freedom from fulfilling constant sexual needs of the male. In some cases, polygyny allows women to achieve a higher status within her community that she normally could not achieve in a monogamous relationship. Polygamous relationships serve as an alternative to single loneliness, fatherless children, and increasing violence and juvenile crime in families where the father has left. Polygyny has proven itself to be an advantage to a host of societies and cultures.

The make-up of the family

This essay will begin by describing the three spheres that tie society together. The main institution of society is the family or household which is broken up into thousands of units. Secondly, it will discuss the economic institution and its ties to the family. The use of labour power and how that effects the power struggle with the capitalist marketplace will also be discussed. Lastly, the political institution of government will be shown along with its relationships to the family and the familys ability to create reform and change regulation. One of the main institutions in society in the household or family.

It is here that almost all the consumption in society takes place. It is also here that almost all the labour power in society originates. The make-up of the family is not as “cut and dry” as it once was. The nuclear family is dead and what has replaced it has put all old theories about the family to the test. One major change has been the rise of the dual-earner family. In 70% of households today there is no single breadwinner. Women’s position in the family has been changed radically from that of one-hundred years ago. Three important issues have been raised about women’s position in the family.

One is that the development of gender inequality within the family is a result of the changing economy. This being the extra accumulation of property in private households. The second issue is that capitalism being the only form of economy we are familiar with pushes for the working of every family member to create a strong economy. Lastly, the evolution of the family dispersed from economic development and instead become a more social issue. Because the position of women in the family has been so altered from past history, projections made, even forty years ago, are increasingly wrong.

Though, even with the changing structure of the family the economic labour power has not significantly increased. The role of housewife in the post-industrial age was just as important to women as today’s dual earning household. The housewife was the counter-part to the husbands role of breadwinner. It was the wife who cleaned the husbands clothes, prepared his food and provided emotional support, without which he could not fulfill his role as breadwinner. With the evolution of the labor market and capitalist economy with the ever-increasing consumption of the family unit the homemaker was called to enter the workforce.

In 1901 only 12% of Canadian women were economically active, however, in 1961 there were 29. 5% economically active. This percentage has gotten exponentially bigger with time. In 1981, 54% of women with dependent children were economically active. Another facet of the economic family unit is reproduction. The goal of the family unit is to produce children, which in turn expands the labor force, which creates a larger economic base. In Canadian families the emphasis is on quality not quantity and because of this there are gaps in the unskilled labour force.

It is only through immigration that the capitalist economy has been able to keep up with the demand for cheap unskilled labour. So the value of labor power is determined outside capitalism, in non-capitalist units that maintain and reproduce labor power… families. Corporations produce wealth in the form of goods and services and a can last well beyond an individual life span. Capitalism is a powerful institution with holds on the economy, political state and family as well. The payment of wages allows the corporations to grow and continue to produce goods and exploit workers. (Bailey, 1974:127) Families consume.

In the modern era, most families are not units of production and consumption, mainly just consumption. They do not accumulate wealth, but simply take the wage and spend it on commodities that satisfy their needs. As Karl Marx put it, “if I exchange a commodity [labour power] for money, buy a commodity for it and satisfy my need, then the act is at an end. ” (Smith, 1982:29) Families have a limited life span, related to the cycle of growth and decline of individual family members. The family, unless it has property, will inevitably decline to be replaced or reborn in new formations down the generations.

Wages earned allow families to survive and reproduce labour power, in the form of children. It is the children that will outlive the family and become the new labour power. Working for wages allows those with economic activity to support the non-wage-earning members of the household, young and old, caring and dependent. In the spirit of support the family acts with altruism to aid reproduction and in turn this aids the reproduction of the capitalist enterprise. (Smith, 1982: 105) Marx put it like this : The maintenance and reproduction of the working-class is, as must ever be, a necessary condition to the reproduction of capital.

But the capitalist may safely leave its fulfillment to the laborers instincts of self-preservation and of propagation. (Smith, 1982:106) If Marx is correct in his ideology then the family will be forever in the service of the controllers of the economic and political states. Already the family is related to these two institutions in a number of ways. The economy and household/family are separated easily in the modern era. As already stated above, the family of today is primarily a consumption unit, while the economic state is filled with units of production and consumption as well, it produces wages and employment.

Other creations of economy are; capitalist welfare programs (company housing, welfare, pension programs), corporate taxes and employer contributions. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:13) The familys main tie to the economic state is through labour power. Jack Wayne, in his essay “The function of Social Welfare in a Capitalist Economy” writes: The reproduction of labor power is, however, private; it generally takes place outside the jurisdiction of capital, in families and households, and is separated from the circuit of capital. The use value of labour power is, of course, of interest to the capitalist, but processes and undertakings determine it.

The only point of intervention available to the capitalist is the wage. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:79) It is the wage that ties the economic state and family together, and allows the corporations or as Marx calls them capitalists to harness the labour power for their own needs. There is only one form of labour that is not totally governed by the capitalist market and that is domestic labour. A very low level of division of labor characterizes domestic labour. The same person (usually the housewife) does a range of activities which, in the social spheres are carried out by specialists.

Some examples of this are catering, education and health businesses. Secondly the products of domestic labor do not have to be sold on the market for the labor to be recognized at useful. This makes domestic labour a non-market production. Lastly the labour-power is not offered on a market and therefor makes up non-waged labour (housework is non-paid). (Gouverneur, 1983:7) Closely tied in with the economic state is the political state. The taxes from the economic market feed the collective consumption of the government and legislation and boards from the government provide occupational health and safety standards.

The government also provides a stabling influence on the changing economy. As far as the family is concerned the State provides redistribution of transfer payments and substitute wage programs. The government also strengthens the social welfare net and provides charity and philanthropy to those in need. Labour market regulation allows the regulation of child labour laws and gives more bargaining power to families and wage earners. One major form of this is the ability to strike and discuss minimum wage legislation.

Dickinson/Russell, 1986: 17) Saskatchewan, under the first socialist government in North America the CCF, was the first to give wage-earners the right to go on strike in 1944. It took Ontario twenty years to give its provincial residents the same right. Households and families units of ,individual consumption, use this increase in labour power to provide more taxes, if not out of the good of their hearts then for government stability, to the political state. Thus, the family unit helps balance the power struggle the government has with the ever increasing economic sphere in a symbiotic relationship.

In “The State and the Maintenance of Patriarchy: A case study of family, labor and welfare legislation in Canada”, Jane Ursel writes: An important role of the state in class societies is to ensure a balanced allocation of labor and non-labor resources between the two spheres of production and reproduction so that the system is maintained both in the long and short term…. The state is the guarantor of the rules of class and the rules of patriarchy and must insure that one system does not disrupt the other. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:154)

The government uses its control to regulate and perpetuate the status quo and the family is a part of that. However, she does not believe that the patriarchal system is all-bad. She continues to write: Patriarchy is important because the state cannot (inspire of some ill-fated attempts) legislates procreation. It must instead set up a system via family, property and marriage laws, which will serve to translate social and economic requirements into compelling household imperatives. The characteristic feature of familial patriarchy is its pronatalist dynamic.

This results from the nature of the interaction between class and patriarchy which creates a determinant relation between productivity and procreation at the household level. (Dickinson/Russel, 1986:157) the family can change these regulations as well. According to what has been discussed so far the definition of a family would be a non-capitalist unit in which the maintenance and reproduction of labor power takes place. (Bailey, 1974: 34) The Websters Dictionary describes a family as “a group of related things or people”. 990)

However, the Canadian government defines the family as “now-married couple (with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both spouses), a couple living common law (again with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both partners) or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one never-married son or daughter living in the same dwelling. (Statistics Canada, 1994:10) Because the governments definition of family lets several groups that may still be considered families “slip through the cracks”, this gives bargaining power to the family unit yet again to change government regulation.

The Canadian government still does not recognize it sex couples, three generations living in the same household and individuals living apart from spouses and children. In 1991, 424,950 individuals aged 18-25 lived with non-relatives, in institutions, or by themselves. This represents over 20% of the age group. (Statistics Canada, 1994:19) One aspect of the political sphere that the family continually challenges is gender equality. Starting with the latter part of the nineteenth century where waves of feminist protest egan throughout the western world.

Women organized in groups starting at the family level and gaining support from other women’s groups. One of the first cases early feminists argued before the government was their collective right to vote. As early as 1916 in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba women were given the right to vote, this increased the families power with swaying the political sphere… it essentially doubled it. (Wilson. 1982:119) The women’s movement appeared to lose its momentum after women gained the right to vote.

But although women’s groups were no longer held together by a single goal. They continued to fight for women’s rights on several fronts. The YWCA and Canadian Business and Professional Women remained active in support of women’s issues. However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the movement regained its previous strength. (Wilson, 1982:125) Women in families are not the only ones who have argued with the political sphere and won some political rights. Some Gay families or same-sex couples have won the right to adopt children and in some American states get married.

The Modern family depends heavily on the all the institutions of society for support. Where in the past the family was independent, now it needs the bonds created through long access to each sphere either political or economic. The labour power generated by the family unit gives it he bargaining power to compete head to head with the ever growing and dominant labour market and government bureaucracy. But because the family is the smallest group and is based on individual consumption it can seem over-taxed when dealing with mighty corporations and large political states.

However, in the global market-place the power lies in the hands of those that control the labour and the consumption. Currently, the family institution relies on the economy and political state, but as the bargaining for labour power continues the family is emerging as the dominant force. As new evolutions of families are being allowed to participate in our culture, more power will create more labour and more reproduction. It is a basic fact that history repeats itself, maybe the family will gain the dominant role it had before the industrial revolution and mercantilism.

Time Management and Family Issues

Upon returning to college, the mature student (any student over the age of 24) soon realizes that their ability to manage time effectively directly impacts their learning experience and their family life. Unlike traditional students, the mature student may have a spouse, children and a full-time job that is necessary for them to survive financially. Adults with families will readily agree that their family alone places serious demands on their time. When adding the responsibility of school, it becomes even more difficult to make time for family, work and personal time.

Enough time needs to be spent on these three major facets of life. Too much time spent in one area usually means to little time spent in another, which usually leads to stress. Time management professionals say that stress is usually the result of poor time management. Effective time management has to be the foundation of any successful and productive life. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. If one is employed full-time, then about nine hours (540 minutes) of the day is spent at the office and commuting. The time left in the evening for family and self is very limited.

Some companies allow their employees to telecommute, in which the company’s network is accessed from the employees’ home, usually via a high-speed or broadband connection. Telecommuting increases available time for family and self by eliminating the employee’s commute. Along with telecommuting, some companies offer Flex-Time. Flex-Time allows the work schedule to be configured differently from the typical Monday through Friday, 9am-to-5pm workweek. One will still work a total of 40 hours that week only one day may be shorter than the rest.

Flex-Time is basically a flexible work schedule. Flex-time and telecommuting are examples of Flexible Work Options (FWO). FWOs allow employees the opportunity to find time for their families and selves by introducing a time management element that “bends”. Along with the changing nature of office-hours via telecommuting and Flex-Time, there is a need for employees to be more efficient at work. Companies are implementing the “virtual office” which partly entails telecommuting but with the main focus being a more efficient, yet mobile workforce.

With the virtual office, traditional office setups such as permanent workspace and a personal telephone become a thing of the past. An employee can either telecommute from home or come to the office. Once at the office, they can check out a computer and a cordless phone and proceed to log into the company’s network from any number of places in the building. Employees can log in from the cafeteria, conference rooms or their favorite place in the building. Once they log in, a central computer routes phone calls to the cordless phone that was checked out at the beginning of the day.

Other companies are making the office more accessible by having satellite offices, wherein employees can work from any number of offices spread throughout their particular city or region. Literally, the employees can be anywhere and still perform their work duties. To the customers or clients they do business with, their location is seamless. Companies like IBM and Apple have reported increases in productivity and morale since they went to the virtual office format. Corporations are finding creative ways to yield more efficiency from their associates while giving them more time for family and personal life.

When adults with a family and a career decide to continue their education, the demands on their time and energy increase dramatically. Along with re-entering college come the requirements of attending class, studying, homework and team research projects. If one has to attend class for four hours a week, spend an additional 8 hours for homework and studying, and three hours on team research then he or she has to somehow find an additional 15 hours in a week to perform those duties. Since it is impossible to put more time into a week, one is left with only one option – devise a system of creative and thoughtful time management.

When embarking upon the implementation of a successful time-management system, one has to deal with the irony that it takes time to create an effective time management system. It is suggested by many time management professionals that one must first begin by making a list of priorities and keeping a daily log of his or her activities hour-by-hour for one week. Many people are not aware of how they are spending their time; therefore the idea behind keeping a daily log is to gain a clear idea of exactly how your time is being spent.

There are usually blocks of time revealed in a person’s day or week that are not being used optimally, i. e. , time that is not being used to address priorities. If one is spending time on activities that do not rank highly on his or her priority list then he or she should start replacing those activities with ones that do. If the time log only reveals eight hours that could be used differently during the week, then in effect one has gained eight hours for that week.

It may not seem like much time, but if looked at over a four-week period, then thirty-two hours have been gained for use on priorities. Other suggestions for better time management include keeping a journal, using a day-planner or breaking big projects into smaller projects so that the rewarding sense-of-accomplishment is felt more often. Take, for instance, Jane, a wife and working mother of two that decides to go to college at night in order to earn her degree and get ahead at the office. Let’s say her husband also works full-time and her children attend public school.

Before noon, her lunch hour at the office, she must accomplish the following: shower, get ready for work, get the kids up and dressed for school, do a load of clothes, get breakfast on the table, kids to school, meetings at 9 am and 11 am, check voicemail and email, get draft of proposal to boss, call restaurants for business luncheon that’s in two days. She has about three and a half hours at the office, but only about one and a half hours to get the proposal done, check voicemail and email and call the restaurants.

Managing her time correctly will keep this day from running away from her. Let’s see how she does it. She’s up at 6:30 am in order to shower and layout her and her children’s clothes and get dressed herself. She then wakes the kids at 7 and puts the clothes in the dryer while they’re getting dressed (her husband put the clothes in the wash before he left at 6). She then heads to the kitchen where she lays out bowls, spoons, cereal and milk, organizes the kids’ lunches and sits down with her cup of coffee (again, her husband made it before he left for work) while waiting for the kids.

The kids finish breakfast and rinse their bowls and spoons and within fifteen minutes of getting to the kitchen table, they’re all heading out the door. Kids are dropped off promptly at 8:15am and Jane arrives at work at 8:30 am. From 8:30 am until 8:50 am, Jane checks her voicemail and email and organizes her files for her 9 am meeting, then heads over to the conference room. She completes her proposal, calls the restaurants and grabs another cup of coffee on her way to her 11 am meeting. Meeting is overlunchtime, time to relaxthat’s what you think. Jane has a to-do list that’s going to take at least two hours to completeor will it?

She has to get these things done and back to the office in one hour: pick up cash for sitter tonight, pick up three birthday gifts, buy her daughter a notebook, pens and a new backpack for school tomorrow, eat, get oil changed and pick up son’s asthma prescription. Well, Super Jane is at it again, she headed to the grocery store/pharmacy and picked up her son’s prescription, three gift cards for various stores to be given as birthday gifts, a salad and enough money for the baby-sitter to take her daughter to the store tonight to get her pens, notebook and new backpack.

Now, off to Jiffy Lube where she will eat her salad while waiting for her oil to be changed. In summation, the benefits of time management can be life altering. As one finds ways to get more done with the time available to them, it can lead to an increase in overall self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life. Effective time management is also a very useful tool that can help to reduce stress in day-to-day life. If effective time management becomes a part of one’s life then he or she can find ways to juggle family, career, personal time and education. In essence, effective time management can lead to success.

Would the licensing of parents be morally right and theoretically possible

According to Hugh LaFollette in his essay “Licensing Parents,” it is and would be both right and possible to do so. I will attempt to argue LaFollette’s point by using the different scenarios and analogies presented in his essay. I will also be looking at the different objections to LaFollette’s proposal and his rebuttal to each one. I will then show why I am in agreement with LaFollette and his belief that there is a need for some type of licensing program when it comes to raising children.

In LaFollette’s essay “Licensing Parents,” he argues that all people should be required to go through some sort of licensing program before they are able to have children and then raise them. The goal of his essay is to show that it makes perfect sense to instate such a program and that it would actually be possible to put this program into use. The first thing LaFollette does to show that it is logical for a program of this nature to be used is he compares parental licensing to other forms of licensing in use today. “We require automobile operators to have licenses.

We forbid people from practicing medicine, law, pharmacy, or psychiatry unless they have satisfied certain licensing requirements”(LaFollette 522). There is a reason that America requires its citizens to acquire licenses for driving, medicine, and law. This reason is to protect innocent people from being harmed by incompetent people who are not skilled in these areas. “Imagine a world in which everyone could legally drive a car, in which everyone could legally perform surgery, prescribe medications, dispense drugs, or offer legal advice.

Such a world would hardly be desirable”(LaFollette 522). So why, asks LaFollette, should the parenting of a child be any different? If two incompetent people decide to have a baby, doesn’t that baby stand a risk of being harmed by the parents’ incompetence? Parenting, according to LaFollette, falls under the same licensing category as driving and the practicing of medicine. Just like a bad driver who shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle has a greater chance of harming or killing an innocent person, an incompetent parent runs a greater risk of abusing or damaging their child.

A good example of the injury that can be done to a child is explained by LaFollette while he is discussing the general licensing criteria used to license most things under regulation. He states the fact that parenting can be harmful to children if it is done improperly. He then goes on to state, “Each year more than half a million children are physically abuse or neglected by their parents. Many millions more are psychologically abused or neglected – not given love, respect, or a sense of self-worth. The results of this maltreatment are obvious. Abused children bear the physical and psychological scars of maltreatment throughout their lives.

Far too often they turn to crime. They are far more likely to abuse their own children. Even if the maltreated children never harm anyone, they will probably never be well-adjusted, happy adults”(LaFollette 523). If we as a society know these facts, and can see the cycle that is created, why then do we not attempt to correct the problem before it starts? It is much more difficult to fix a problem after it has started and set in than it is to fix it before it even gets started. That is exactly what the licensing program would do; stop the problem before it even starts.

In his argument for the licensing of parents, LaFollette puts forth the criteria that is used in the licensing of any of the above mentioned activities. “Any activity that is potentially harmful to the others and requires certain demonstrated competence for its safe performance is subject to regulation”(LaFollette 522). Since parenting can be potentially harmful to others it meets the criteria for licensing according to LaFollette. Therefore, any person who rejects the claim that licensing parents is legitimate also rejects the idea that any other activity, such as driving, should be regulated by some sort of licensing procedure (LaFollette).

To some people the idea of licensing parents seems either preposterous or just plain impossible. Because of these general feelings many objections to LaFollette’s essay arise. There are both theoretical objections and practical objections to such parental licensing given to LaFollette. Instead of merely dismissing the objections and continuing to give only his side of the matter, LaFollette takes each objection, looks at it, and gives his rebuttal. First, the main theoretical objection to the licensing of parents that LaFollette deals with is peoples’ freedom in such a matter.

Some people who do not buy LaFollette’s licensing program say, “licensing is unacceptable…since people have a right to have children, just as they have rights to free speech and free religious expression. They do not need a license to speak freely or worship as they wish. Why? Because they have a right to engage in these activities. Similarly, since people have a right to have children, any attempt to license parents would be unjust”(LaFollette 524). In response to this argument LaFollette uses the example of slander and human sacrifice.

Slander is a form of speech and human sacrifice is a form of worship in some religions. But this does not mean that they are protected under the first amendment. The law holds these exceptions so that innocent people can be protected from anything harmful. Parenting should follow the same principal. It is a persons right, some say, to have children. But if two people are obviously not fit to be parents there should be some sort of law to stop them from reproducing before an innocent person, the child, is harmed.

Another point LaFollette makes in response to the rights argument is that people do not actually “have the right” to have children. They are able to produce children, but it is more of a responsibility then it is a right of those people. Just as people do not have a right to drive a car or practice medicine until they have proven that they have the competence to do so, so should people have to prove their competence before raising a child (LaFollette)? A second theoretical objection to licensing of parents comes from the amount of intrusion into the lives of potential parents that such a program would cause.

Many people believe that if such a program were to be instated the government would be able to get way to far into many people’s lives. While LaFollette believes that this is a plausible concern, he argues that the process an adoptive family goes through is far more then he is proposing and nobody seems to have a problem with their criteria. When a family wishes to adopt, they are subjected to house studies, tests, interviews, and must wait a certain amount of time before the adoption goes through.

While LaFollette’s program would only call for some type of competence test to rule out only the very bad potential parents (LaFollette). The next thing LaFollette takes into account is the practical objections to licensing. In this portion of the essay LaFollette considers five different objections. “Each objection focuses on the problems or difficulties of implementing this proposal (the licensing of parents)”(LaFollette 525). I will only be writing about the three objections that do not deal with the misuse of tests after implemented.

The first objection discussed in the essay is that if such a program were to be implemented there would be no way to determine what qualities or traits one should look for in a bad parent. To this objection LaFollette acknowledges its logic. But argues his program would only try to weed out the very worst of the potential parents, not find the best possible parents (LaFollette). “The second practical objection to licensing is that there is no reliable way to predict who will maltreat their children”(LaFollette 526). To this objection LaFollette has a couple of rebuttals.

The first being that society does not require that all licensing tests be 100 percent correct in order to achieve a license. Society also recognizes that the tests we use are sometimes flawed in one way or another, yet they are continuing to be used without objection. Testing for licensing of parents also would not require a 100 percent passing score. Another way that LaFollette believes the testing could be done is through “existing tests that claim to isolate relevant predictive characteristics – whether a person is violence-prone, easily frustrated, or unduly self-centered”(LaFollette 526).

With these different possible tests LaFollette believes that society could make a set a standard that could, with near accuracy, determine who would and would not be a good parent (LaFollette). The Fifth and last objection that is brought to LaFollette’s attention is; “we could never adequately, reasonably, and fairly enforce such a program. That is, even if we could establish a reasonable and fair way of determining which people would be inadequate parents, it would be difficult, if not impossible to enforce the program”(LaFollete 527).

To this argument LaFollette really doesn’t have too much to say. He talks briefly about what would happen to people who disobey the law, which there surely would be some of. The only option that LaFollette can think of in this situation is to put the babies up for adoption. He closes his argument by saying, “If it is important enough to protect children from being maltreated by parents, then surely a reasonable enforcement procedure can be secured”(LaFollette 527). Overall I agree greatly with everything that LaFollette wrote in his essay.

I too believe that some sort of licensing system is exactly what America needs right now. Way too often babies are being born into this world to mothers in their teens. In many of these cases the father is nowhere to be found and young girls are left to raise a child. Maybe a couple hundred years ago it was common practice for girls to be married early and having babies before they turned twenty. But that was then, in a time when ones average life span was near 40 years. In today’s society it is almost mandatory to have a high school diploma, if not a college diploma.

I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think to many fifteen year old girls with a baby are going to be able to complete high school, much less college, without any help. Unfortunately that help isn’t always there for many girls in this situation. Another example where a licensing program would be desirable is in the instance of the “crack whore”. In many cities around the country there are women hooked on hard drugs, going no place in life but down. In many cases these women have been known to have more babies in order to receive a larger amount of welfare.

This welfare money is then taken and sold on the streets for “crack” or other drugs. When this happens, the children are often left neglected because the mother is on heavy drugs and unable to care for her children and malnourished because the food money went to buy drugs (A&E). This is definitely a very sad situation, but it could be avoided if there were laws to either keep the woman from having more unloved, neglected babies, or at least take the babies out of the mothers care.

It is cases like these, and I believe LaFollette would agree, that are exactly the reason why a parental licensing system is greatly needed in America. It would help reduce crime, which is often the result of improper upbringing, and reduce number of children that are abused each year. The only argument of LaFollette’s that I thought was a little weak was his rebuttal to the fifth practical objection that the program could never be enforced. To this objection LaFollette really can’t think of anything to say.

His answer is much shorter than the rest of his rebuttals, and really carries no weight. I think he could have come up with a much better answer. In conclusion, LaFollette argues for the implication of some form of parental licensing to reduce the amount of abuse cases and crimes in America. In doing so he touches upon different aspects of his licensing system and fields both theoretical and practical objections to such a system. I also discussed my opinions on the subject of parental licensing and why I believe it would be a good idea to do.

Gay Parenting Essay

The conception that lesbians and gay men may be parents is frequently perceived in todays society as impossible or immoral. Gay men and lesbians are often viewed as excluded from having children because sexual reproduction is related to men and women only. My approach to this uniquely controversial topic of gay parenting will be that of attempting to analyze the Pro side first. Gays and lesbians are human too and who is to say that they dont deserve equal rights in society.

Society has to realize that the modern family has developed into many different forms in recent years in that the “nuclear family” is not necessarily the most common form anymore. Then I will attempt to analyze the Con side which expresses the fact that two people of the same sex should not be raising and rearing children together. Many believe that if the couple is unable to produce children together, then they shouldnt be raising them as parents. Children need a balance in their lives and different sexed parents can provide that balance efficiently.

Each parent (mom or dad) socializes the child differently and the child needs to be introduced to both worlds. I will then proceed to critique both sides on strengths and weaknesses, based on facts, studies, and my own opinion, and then draw some of my own conclusions on this controversial topic of Gay Parenting. Pro Position There is no valid reason for refusing to call lesbian and gay headed household families. They fall under every conceivable criterion for identifying families and the concept of a Family.

They are groups of coresident kin providing jointly through income-pooling for eachothers need of food and shelter. They socialize children, engage in emotional and physical support, and make up part of a larger kin network”. (O Brien and Weir, 128). There are also many homophobic ( the irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality or gay people, Biery 88) individuals in todays society who are the main cause of negative stereotypes against lesbians and gay parents. These negative stereotypes all prove to be untrue and irrational, revealing that gay and lesbian parents could be equally as fit to straight parents.

The accusation that majority of gay men are child molesters has been rejected in that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abusers area heterosexual men, who abuse both boys and girls. The fear that children of lesbian and gay parents will become lesbian or gay is irrational in that studies show that the sexual orientation of the parents has no effect whatsoever on sexual orientation of youths. The concern that the children of gay and lesbian headed families will not develop so called appropriate gender identity or gender behaviour has been introduced.

This was proved incorrect in that when comparing children of gay parents to children of straight parents, there was no significant difference in these two areas. The last stereotype involving the fear that emotional damage will effect the child due to coping with the issue of having lesbian or gay parents. Once again this was proved to be false and the general psychological well being of children in gay and lesbian households matches that of children of heterosexual parent households. (O Brien and Weir, 129). These common stereotypes heard frequently in todays society have all been proved incorrect and ignorant.

Therefore they illustrate that gay and lesbian parents are continually stereotyped against unfairly and unjustly. Lesbians and gay men are popularly and commonly thought of by society to have a negative influence on children. This places an enormous strain and great pressure on lesbian and gay headed families, which is totally unnecessary. “When we assume male-headed nuclear families to be central units of kinship, and all alternative patterns to be extensions or exceptions, we accept as aspect of cultural hegemony instead of studying it.

In the process, we miss the contested domain in which symbolic innovation may occur. Even continuity may be the result of innovation”. (Weston, 145). This is a very powerful statement in that it reinforces the argument that lesbian and gay families are overlooked in society as even being a family unit . Society must come to realize that every family, not just gay headed families, experience problems in their homes. An article which depicts some of the major problems that some single mothers experience is: Manhunts and Bingo Blabs: Single mothers speak out-M. Little, p. 164-181.

This article will assist one in realizing that some individuals will face some dilemmas and issues in life, but it is those issues and how a family deals with them effectively that will make them stronger as a family unit. Everyone deals with pressures of everyday life and it is those who learn by them that are prosperous. With specific reference to child rearing, parents were told that problems arise in all homes, with all children, and at all ages, the interesting fact being that the problems do or do not arise but what method should be employed in dealing with them when they arise (Dickinson, 392).

Problems in the home are inevitable, in all forms of families, and those who believe that one form of family will have more problems and issues than others will need to reassess their outlook to a more rational perception. Society has to realize that it is not ones sexual preference that allows a family to grow and flourish, it is the efforts of the people who make up that family unit. A family is based on trust and love, and if that is what these gay and lesbians parents are providing for their children, then why not let them live as they want. Con Position

Many will argue that children of lesbian and gay parents do not grow up the “same” as children of heterosexual parents. Concern usually revolves around the issue that the children will also grow up to become lesbian or gay themselves (Baker, 105). In most cultures, children are raised to take on specific roles associated with their biological sex very early in life. Therefore, in most cases people maintain an identity of themselves in terms of gender (Blumenfeld and Raymond, 45). (This statement is expanded on in the Chapter of Socialization and gender roles in Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life).

Many also believe that children need parents of the opposite sex to find balance in their lives. Each heterosexual parent socializes their children differently and children need to view this difference for themselves. An elaborate description of masculinity and fatherhood takes place in, “Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Goodlife during Canadas baby boom, 1945-1965, Robert Rutherdale. This article depicts how the dad of the nuclear family “had secured his familys place in the consumer markets and recreational opportunities of a profoundly acquisitive period”(369).

It depicts some activities which fathers endured with the son to ensure masculinity and machoness as the son matured into a man himself. Children need to realize and witness how men and women deal with certain situations differently, they need to be informed of different situations that will occur to them throughout their lives (depending on their sex), and they need each of their parents at different times of their lives (example-and girl needs her mom at menarche and her dad to help her with her car).

Some feel that if there is an imbalance then the child will never learn to identify with the one sex that is absent from their life. This issue of balance has never been proved to be true yet still remains an issue to some. Another major issue facing gay parents is AIDS. ” The fact that the epidemic was first identified in the early 1980s in the gay male communities of North America. ” (Weeks, ch 1 p. 15-45). AIDs is known as the gay disease it has been studied and many feel that homosexuals are more prone and susceptible to contracting the disease than heterosexuals.

Many feel that the children of gay parents are in increased danger due to the fact that AIDS is increasingly spreading and if their parent has it then they are at high risk to contracting it. The Chapter, “HIV and the State of the Family” in the text “Transgressing Borders” (p. 19-33), clearly depicts the issues facing families, of all forms, in direct relation to AIDS. This may help some to realize the seriousness of this incurable disease. AIDSphobia is another issue discussed in this chapter. This is “strongly related to heterosexism and homophobia prejudicial attitudes and practices against lesbian and gay men .

Individuals with antigay attitudes are far more likely than others to have irrational fears about HIV transmission (Sears and Adam, 27). AIDS is a growing epidemic with no cure that affect millions. The seriousness of this disease is illustrated in ” From Reproduction to HIV: Blurring Categories, Shifting Positions, Martin-256-269, in which individuals narrate stories of people living with AIDS and these individuals, while extremely sick and almost dying, experience abandonment, by family and friends, and discrimination.

A great portion of todays society feel that children should not be exposed to this disease if it may be prevented. Therefore they attack these gay parents seeing that AIDS is the “gay” disease. Society has to realize that anyone may contract it and there is no one in the world that is immune to it. It is up to gay parents as well as straight parents to assure in preventing the contraction of this disease to any child. Also to protect themselves from contracting it, the loss of a parent is traumatizing to a child.

Another main issue against gay parenting is the concern of safety for their children. There is a concern that children of homosexuals will be harassed by their peers(Brooks, 362). Many people in todays society have a negative stereotypical attitude towards homosexuals. This influence is then passed onto their children in turn is then taken out on peers. This especially effects those who have gay parents. That child may be harassed at school, both mentally and physically, and teased constantly.

This may then affect the child psychologically, emotionally, and physically, either then or later in life. Children have increasingly become more cruel with peers and this certainly does take its toll on the child being harassed, whether the effects are visible or not. The child living with homosexual parents may not only be harassed for having gay parents, but also for being gay themselves. Many have the idea that children who grow up in a gay home become gay themselves. They believe this to be true in that the child learns the parents ways and want to be just like their role model, their parent.

People have to realize that in todays society children tease one another for the oddest reasons, if there is not a reason to tease or gang up on someone, someone is sure to find or make up something just to have something to do. In Conclusion, in analyzing all of the facts , both supporting and refuting the controversial topic of gay parenting, I fell that the stronger side proved to be that of supporting gay parenting. The information gathered on negative stereotypes against gay parenting proved to be incorrect and inconclusive. Much of the information refuting gay parenting was not based on concrete facts or studies.

The issue of AIDS, safety, and gender identity are all issues that affect heterosexual headed families as often as homosexual headed families. It is how the family overcomes these issues that is important. If these families are successful this will create a closer and stronger family tie. In evaluating the issue of gay parenting, one would find it difficult to gather information refuting the issue, majority of the information that I came across was supporting. One will notice that literature and attitudes have changed and are progressing when dealing with homosexuality.

More and more individuals are beginning to accept or come to terms with this controversial topic. Gay and lesbian parenting should be treated as any other parenting style would be treated. If they are willing and able to love and provide adequately for these children, then society should allow them to do just that. Evidence proves that there is no difference between a child from a gay parent family to a heterosexual parent family, and therefore there is no reason why these family units should be treated so differently.

Prejudicial Perceptions Essay

The use of language is an incentive for prejudicial perceptions which bring many issues to the attention of people everywhere. People who do not understand certain languages want to either learn that language, or they feel apprehensive towards those who know more about other languages than they do. Some people are ashamed of their culture, family history, and wish that they could change it. They long for acceptance from today’s harsh society. People who come from multi-cultural families who speak two or more languages are either ridiculed thought of as smart, or too smart, therefore ausing a want to be “common”.

Elizabeth Wong gave many examples of cultural separation or “divorce” as she would put it, in “The Struggle to be an All-American Girl”. She told of how she felt great disgrace for her Chinese ethnicity and culture. She wanted to be that “All-American Girl” to fit into our judgmental society. She felt hatred towards her mother for only knowing broken English. As she got older and matured, she learned to respect and be proud of her families culture. Most People have more respect for family and they realize that family s one of the most important things in life.

When you are younger, family is important, but in a different type of way. Most people find themselves looking back on their childhood wishing that they could go back and relive it. They miss relying on their parents for support but on the other hand, they start looking forward to having a family of their own. Joyce Chang shared similar views to that of Elizabeth Wong. She was quite embarrassed by her families background. In “Drive Becarefully”, Joyce often thought twice before she spoke, because of being scolded by her eacher at an early age.

She was taught to speak clearly and to make sure that the point was clearly stated and understood. She said: ” Having my teachers say that my mother’s English was wrong had a lasting impression on me. When I went home that day, all I could think about when my mother spoke was the ‘wrongness’ of her as a person”. How horrible that must of been for someone to think of their mother as incorrect. Joyce wanted to fix every mistake her mother made and “Americanize” her. Joyce grew up, matured, and began to accept people for who they were, and not by how they spoke.

She ow tries to “ignore the perhaps, awkward structure of their sentences”, and not critique their every word. Chang and Wong are two authors with similar backgrounds. They were both of different cultures trying to live in an American society. They were both ashamed of their culture, language, and families at one time or another. Both changed their minds later in life as they matured and they began to appreciate their backgrounds and culture. People who separate themselves from their culture often find themselves going back to their roots and finally appreciating who they are and where they came from.

How the segregation & assimilation policies impacted on Aboriginal family

Aboriginal family life has been disrupted and forcibly changed over the last two hundred years, as a result of the many segregation and assimilation policies introduced by Australian governments. Often a combination of the two was employed. The policy of segregation has impacted upon Aboriginal family life, for through this policy, Aboriginals were restricted and prohibited to practice their traditional culture, hence, resulting in the loss of their Indigenous identity and limiting the cultural knowledge for future Aboriginal generations.

The segregation policy also achieved in disfiguring the roles of family members, primarily the male’s role within the family. The policy of assimilation, in comparison to the segregation policies, has also affected Aboriginal family life, because through the removal of children from their Aboriginal homes they to as a result were deprived of their Indigenous identity and cultural links.

However, the policy of assimilation has had far greater an impact upon Aboriginal family life, for it has not only separated families and communities, but denied the parenting and nurturing of a generation of Aboriginal peoples and has also attributed to breakdowns in relationships between the non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal parent. As European domination began, the way in which the Europeans chose to deal with the Aborigines was through the policy of segregation. This policy included the establishment of a reserve system.

The government reserves were set up to take aboriginals out of their known habitat and culture, while in turn, encouraging them to adapt the European way of life. The Aboriginal Protection Act of 1909 established strict controls for aborigines living on the reserves . In exchange for food, shelter and a little education, aborigines were subjected to the discipline of police and reserve managers. They had to follow the rules of the reserve and tolerate searchers of their homes and themselves. Their children could be taken away at any time and apprenticed out as cheap labour for Europeans.

The old ways of the Aborigines were attacked by regimented efforts to make them European . Their identities were threatened by giving them European names and clothes, and by removing them from their traditional lands and placing them on centralised reserves among Aboriginal people from many different tribes. The policy of segregation had an enormous impact on the lives of aborigines. Despite being discriminated against, the aboriginal people were being deprived the right to practice and maintain traditional aspects of their culture, thus their children were being taught to reject their aboriginality.

In turn the rapid decline in population meant that many elders were dead and thus many rituals and traditions were lost . The loss of elders and the prohibition of practicing rituals impacted on aboriginal family life, as a result of being unable to show their children traditional dances, native language and stories of the dreamtime, cultural knowledge was not sufficiently carried on or passed down to the next generation therefore hindering Aboriginal traditional life and depriving Aboriginal children of their indigenous identity. The reserves also held repercussions for the structure and roles within the aboriginal family.

The role and status of men more than women was effected, thus many Aboriginal men, especially unemployed, slipped into aimlessness . Traditionally the male role within the family was that of hunter and gatherer. It was the husband, or fathers role to find and provide food for his family. As a result of Aboriginals being considered inferior to whites, thus acquiring a lower rate of pay, many families became dependent on food handouts provided by the missionaries and reserves, thus the fathers role of gathering for his family was subsequently lost, in turn isolating and alienating him from his family.

Due to what was seen as the Aboriginal fathers inadequacies, despite having been placed in areas where there was little employment, segregation had accentuated assimilation, for the preparation had been adequately achieved. In comparison, to the policy of segregation, the policy of assimilation introduced the separation of Aboriginal children from their parents and the indoctrination of the children into non-Aboriginal ways, thus having a profound influence on Aboriginal family life. The policy of assimilation was officially adopted in 1937; its essence was the concept of one Australian society .

The ideal of the government policy was to encourage the absorption of Aboriginals both racially and culturally, into mainstream white society . The policy of assimilation coupled with the poverty of many Aboriginal families attained from the exploitation of working in the reserves proved to be a double bind. Aboriginal people were supposed to assimilate into the dominant Australian society despite the prejudice and racism, which confronted them. In turn, this failure to assimilate and the impoverished circumstances of many Aboriginal people provided the grounds for the removal of Aboriginal children .

The Australian government believed that although it may have been to late to assimilate adult aborigines into Australian society, that wasnt the case for the next generation of aborigines, the children. It was believed that by removing the children from their aboriginal parents and placing them among other non-indigenous peoples that the process of assimilation would be easier and that over time, indigenous culture and identity would disappear, thus, that it would not be possible to tell indigenous and non-indigenous people apart .

The removal of children from their families had similar consequences to that of the segregation policies in relation to Aboriginal family life. In connection to the impact segregation policies had on Aboriginal family life, the removal of children deepened the loss of cultural knowledge and further hindered indigenous identity. One principal effect of the forcible removal policies was the destruction of cultural links. Culture, language, land and identity were stripped away from children in hope that the traditional law and culture would die by losing their claim on them and sustenance of them .

As noticed in the segregation policies, cultural links were lost, while living in non-indigenous homes the children were discouraged or prevented from seeing their aboriginal families, in turn this denied the child any involvement in his or her traditional origins, thus due to not being able to communicate with elders they in turn did not learn about their spiritual beliefs, ceremonies or traditional song or dance. These children were deprived of their right to the songs, and the spiritual and cultural heritage that was theirs .

The response of some people brought up to be white is to deny their heritage . In turn their descendants are disinherited. This loss of identity, their strong sense of not belonging either in the Indigenous community or the non-Indigenous community, had ramifications for individuals well being and in turn the well being of their families. The other comparison between the segregation and assimilation policies and the impact they had on Aboriginal family life is in accordance with the traditional male role.

Following the removal of their children, Indigenous men generally lost their purpose in relation to their families and communities. Often their individual responses to that loss took them away from their families: on drinking binges, in hospital following accidents or assaults in the gaol or lock-up, or prematurely dead. For Aboriginal boys, the compromise of traditional and contemporary role models resulting from the fathers absence or functional unavailability has damaging impact on the development of male identity .

There is enough evidence, however, to suggest that despite their apparent similarities, the removal of children, thus policy of assimilation, has had a longer lasting affect on Aboriginal family life, as opposed to the segregation policies. As opposed to the policy of segregation, the forcible removal of children has had a far greater impact on Aboriginal family life for it has impacted on the way future Aboriginal generations parent and not only hurt Indigenous peoples, but also non-Indigenous parents who lost their half caste children through the removal.

Most forcibly removed children were denied the experience of being parented or at least cared for by a person to whom they were attached. This is the very experience people rely on to become effective and successful parents themselves, for this reason the assimilation policies have had the far greater affect on the functioning of Aboriginal families. As expressed in the Inquiry into the removal of Indigenous children, this was the most significant of all the major consequences of the assimilation policies .

The fact that many children from the stolen generation missed the experience of being properly parented has widely impacted on Aboriginal family life, for the denial of this experience has resulted in individuals whose ability to parent his or her own children is severely compromised . As a result of being raised were there is no history of family caring or nurturing, which there was a fair degree of in the institutionalisation upbringing, people who were removed dont have the social and emotional skills to cope, thus the child has been deprived of its role models .

In contrast, the policy of segregation separated Indigenous from non-Indigenous, while still allowing Aboriginal families to remain together, thereby in contrast to the policy of assimilation, children were still able to learn from role models and form bonds of affection with their parents, factors that removed children were greatly denied. The other primary factor that distinguishes the impact both segregation and assimilation policies had on Aboriginal family life, arrives from the fact that because mixed race children were particularly targeted for removal, non-Indigenous parents and families also lost children.

This impacted on Aboriginal family life because in some circumstances it led to breakdown in those relationships between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parent. How do you tell your father that its okay: that it wasnt their fault; and that his whiteness and maleness in a patriarchal society that should have been enough to protect any persons family, did no good because of the nature of the relationship with his partner?

As opposed to the policy of removal, the segregation policy discouraged only Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations, therefore the children who were born half caste, usually had a European parent who accepted having nothing to do with them. While on the other hand, many whites who had chosen to raise their half caste children only to have them also removed, despite them being white, experienced equally the trauma and grief, capsulated also by the Indigenous parents whose children were also taken.

Despite having no intention of harming non-Indigenous peoples, many were hurt and this impacted on further relations with their children. In conclusion, Aboriginal family life has been widely affected by the combination of segregation and assimilation policies passed by Australian governments. Both policies equally impacted on Aboriginal family life in regards to the prohibition and discouragement of the Aboriginals involvement in their traditional culture.

This in effect, prevented the continuation of an ancient culture, depriving many Aboriginal generations of cultural knowledge and in turn not understanding their Indigenous identities. The segregation and assimilation policies additionally had an impact on the role models and roles within the Aboriginal family. The policy of segregation impacted on the fathers position in the family, for as a result of the exploited labour, many fathers were unable to provide for their families, thus primary provider for the Aboriginal family came from the handouts given by the managers on the reserves.

Despite both policies having an equal amount of impact upon Aboriginal family life in relation to lost cultural links and family members roles, there is evidence to suggest that the policy of assimilation, thus the removal of children had a far longer lasting affect. The assimilation policies not only contributed to the separation of families and whole communities, but also affected both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples and is the result of many inter-generational problems among Aboriginals, such as parenting, thus overall has had a greater impact on Aboriginal family life.

What makes up a good family

These are the questions that many people in America ask. They battle with these questions everyday when they think about the way their family acts. I have also battle with these questions especially when it comes to my family. My family is one of uniqueness, which causes lots of conflicts. I battle an individualistic sister, a communitarian mother, and a civic republican brother. With all these different personalities in the house it is no wonder it seems like our house is a lifestyle enclave. Looking at my family is like looking at American homes today.

It shows the effect of a society that is all about on the go activities. My sister would be in my own words a perfect example of an individualistic person. She like in the book Habits of the Heart only deals with issues that are important to her. My sister focuses on what can make her life better and if this involves some kind of communitarian activity only then will she participate. She mostly jumps from relationship to relationship because of her need for pleasure. It matters not to my sister what is going on with the world unless it affects her personally.

A good example of this is when my sister and I volunteered at a local shelter for Thanksgiving. This is a ritual that I have keep since my grandfather past away. My sister went to the shelter this year in order to get some volunteer hours for her transcript because she wants to transfer to another college. At the shelter she saw first hand for the first time in her life people less fortunate then herself. This shook her up, and made her think about how lucky she is only then was my sister finally concerned about the homeless problem in America.

Even though, this sound likes a made for television movie they show each year, around the holidays it is true and shows how like my sister the individualistic community of America that we live in. In this way she is a perfect example of individualism in America. Moreover, my mother is on the other end of the spectrum. My mother in her own words Gives a piece of herself to everyone. She is a very good example of a communitarian. The first sample of her kindness starts with her occupation. My mother has been a junior high school teacher for 25 years. During this time many people have realized my mother’s giving and kindness for her community.

She is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help make a difference in a student’s life. However, her occupation is just the start of her giving. She is also a community leader through her second career as a pastor. She has only been a preacher for 6 years however; she has been able to do a lot for her church and her community during this time. She is always bringing her work home. Like a good communitarian she does everything to help better the community. My mother has only three children but has thousands of adopted children. She loves all her children the same even the adopted ones.

A good example of this is what occurred during my last trip home. I came home because of the illness of my grandmother. My mother has to sit up with my grandmother just in case she gets up and hurts herself in the middle of the night. This is a very trying time for my mother however she took a piece of her time to counsel one of her adopted daughters. This girl was on the verge of committing suicide. My mother helped her realize how important she is to the world. My mother gives of her time to help the better of the community without personal gain. This helps show she is a good example of a communitarian.

However, my brother is different from all of us. He is what I call the good American boy. He also is a product of social groups the government made to help kids become aware of what the government is and how it runs. My brother is only 14 but tries to get involved in every political group he can get involved in. He believes without the government in our society our nation would not be as prosperous as we are. It is surprising at a young age how much involved he is in the thought of politics and government in America. He is a good example of a civic republican.

More important, the mix of a civic republican individualistic person, and a communitarian is hard to understand. A lot of times the house feels like a place that these different personalities just stay under due to the fact they are related not unlike a lifestyle enclave. We share the similar lifestyle of being a family but don’t associate with each other unless a family problem comes up. This shows how my family is a good example of a lifestyle enclave. However, my family seems to stay together and survive just like America will survive its individualistic stage of its history, and finally remember caring about community makes us stronger.

Sociology: The Family

One of the main institutions in society is found within the household and is popularly known as The Family. It is here, in the family, where the commencement of society takes place. It is amongst this unit that the origin of womens oppression began with the constant power struggle between man and woman. With the nuclear family slowly being thrown out the window and the new dual-earner family creeping in to takes its place, its no wonder that womens positions have changed radically over the past one hundred years.

The key work here to this being position, because although womens position has changed, their workload has not. With this radical change many issues can be addressed, particularly, to the womens role and how it has remained fairly constant over the years. A closer examination will look at the development of gender inequality within the family as a result of the ever-changing issue. A second issue that needs to be inspected is that the family roles have changed in regards to family make-up as women have moved into the work force.

This growing capital effort to increase standards of living by pushing every family member into the paid labour force has taken a toll on the family unit. The final issue that will be investigated in this report is how the traditional sex roles have remained constant, even with womens ever-changing family position over the years. For decades, commencing back to the time when patriarchy was the norm and women were their husbands property, men have oppressed women. This ideology of patriarchy existed way before it was ever examined by sociologists and it was accepted as a natural or biological way of living.

It wasnt until the 1960’s when feminist groups began to explore patriarchy and at the same time began to exploit it, that patriarchy was established. Feminists at that time, and even still today, believe that patriarchy operates to achieve and maintain gender inequality and is the essential key to womens present subordination. Not only does patriarchy exist in the pubic domain of the paid labour force, but also in the private domain of the household, or better yet, the family.

With patriarchy by its side, gender inequality has developed into one of the biggest controversies amongst sociologists, feminist groups, and women. In modern day society women are working their way into the labour force, and expanding their roles to include working outside the home as well as being wives and mothers (Kaufman, 1999, 440). As women are moving into the paid labour force, they continue to work longer hours than do their husbands on household tasks, and there is little evidence that mens proportionate share of the family work has changed much during the past decade or so (Blair, 1991, 91).

Although women are moving into the paid labour force at a fairly fast pace, according to Kaufman, mens involvement in domestic roles has increased but at a slower pace than womens entrance into the labour market (Kaufman, 1999, 440). Womens entrance into the labour market evolved rather rapidly from approximately less than 30% in the 1960’s to currently more than 45% of women are in the paid labour force (Levin, class note, Womens Studies). There are many reasons for the increase of womens labour force participation.

The main fact being that the North American standard of living has increased drastically in the past decades, and that double-incomes are needed in order to survive. Along with the increase in standard of living, divorce rates are increasing leaving women with children to support on their own, and therefore, women must find outside work. There are also fewer children to raise, therefore, women have more time to work and raise their children. Also, there is a great change in societal attitudes that push women into the work force.

Finally, with pay equity policies having been established, it is much easier for women to find work that will pay enough to support her and her family. Historical factors have weighed heavily on women’s current status. In the nineteenth century, attitudes toward women were very different to the present attitudes placed upon them now. In the nineteenth century, there was a great need for women to work. Working class women had jobs in clothing factories, or worked as seamstress. Their work was more domestic-related. Middle class women were not expected to work. There were some jobs, but they were very limited.

Middle class women were more expected to teach, to support themselves, until they found a husband. During this time there was a lower value place on a womens work than that of a mans. Therefore, women were paid less to do the same work as men were. This lower value on womens work accounted for androcentric biases, which put men at a higher standing in their work. Men were often paid more for dangerous, dirty, and physical work such as mining. On the contrary, women who worked, per say as nurses whom also did heavy lifting and dirty work, were undervalued and underpaid.

These biases brought into play occupational segregation, which implied that men and women tend to do different jobs because of their gender. According to Luhaorg and Zivian, women have remained concentrated in predominately female occupations, i. e. , clerical, sales, and service occupations,… while men enjoy a much more heterogeneous occupational structure; no major occupational category being dominant (Luhaorg, 1995, 608). Luckily for women, in the 1980’s, federal law declared solutions to their two major problems involving the work force.

Pay equity was established to solve the problem of the wage gap, which enforced that people who work the exact same jobs were to earn the exact same pay. The second solution that was established by the government was employment equity, which helped with occupational segregation and gave employers a set of strategies to follow in order to provide women the same opportunities in the labour market as men. With these regulations set into place, women moved into the work force during the 1980’s at full force, and have continued to do so. Not only did this put pressure on the paid labour force, but it also put pressure on the family unit.

In order to carry out its daily functions as a family, the modern family depends heavily on all the institutions of a society for support. Where as in the past, the family was an independent unit that depended on nothing and no one. With this in mind, the family and the fact that the majority of families have both spouses working outside the home means that dual-earners and dual-career families are becoming the norm in American society (Mintz, 1996, 805). Indeed there are many positive outcomes to having both spouses in the paid labour force, but at the same time there are many stresses for these families (Mintz, 1996, 805).

According to Mintz, these stresses usually revolve around balancing the demand of the paid labour and the demand of the family labour (Mintz, 1996, 805). Throughout the years, the family unit has changed drastically. With dual earner families being the most popular types of families. Three types of dual earner family ideologies were identified by Lye. Those three are the Traditional, Modern, and Egalitarian. As the trend of double income family household increases, the breakdown of the traditional system (Lye, 1993, 157) due to women entering the paid labour force has had profound transformation with respect to family life and gender roles.

The Traditional family as identified by Mintz and Mahalik is described briefly as marriage based on a form on benevolent male dominance couple with clearly specialized roles that are assigned on the basis of gender (Mintz and Mahalik, 1996, 806). To further explain this, the traditional family is a women who identifies with her activities at home and the man bases his identification on his paid work. Generally, the wife is to have less power than her husband does in relation to all aspects of their marriage.

The second type of family, the Egalitarian Family, is described by Mintz and Mahalik as a rejection of both of these ideas (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806) referring to the traditional family. Further explained, the Egalitarian Family is the husband and wife identifying with the same sphere, home and work, or identifying with the same balance between the two spheres of home and work. In this family relationship, the power amongst both the man and the woman is to be distributed evenly, and the same value is to be held upon both husband and wifes paid and unpaid work.

The third type of family is the Modern Family. Mintz and Mahalik describe this type of family as representing a middle position within the marriage (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806). The modern family, also known as the transitional family, is further explained by a wife who is to identify with activities both related to paid and unpaid labour, where as the husband is to relate his identification to strictly his paid work. With the explanation of these three types of families, it is easy to say that along with the types of families changing, the roles of the family have also changed.

Taking a closer look at womens roles, and comparing them to mens roles, Lye said that changing family and gender role attitudes are indicative of a weakening of traditional normative constraints that used to offer the well-defined adult roles of husband-father-breadwinner and wife-mother-homemaker so that diverse range of adult roles are now acceptable and coexist. Referring to the different types of families above, Lye clearly explains that it is also possible to have many different types of family roles and expectations working together in the same familial.

Lye also believes that the effects of mens and womens attitudes vary according to their spouses attitudes and to be greater where husbands and wives disagree (Lye 1993, 160). Therefore, men and womens roles strongly depend on the expectations and attitudes that they have set in regards to family roles or gender roles. Having different views concerning family life reduces marital satisfaction of the balancing (Lye, 1993, 183). It is locating an equilibrium that couples find difficult to do in regards to family life and gender roles.

Even today as women are entering the workforce, Kaufman found that wives do four-fifths of the cooking, laundry, and shopping as well as two-thirds of the child care, cleaning, and dishwashing (Kaufman, 1999, 440). For example, Blair & Lichter found that wives perform 96% of the cooking, 92% of the dishwashing, 90% of the vacuuming, 94% of the bed making, and 94% of the diapering of children (Blair, 1991, 93). At the other end of the scale, Blair and Lichter found that husbands performed 86% of household repairs, 80% of the disciplining of children, 75% of the lawn mowing, and 77% of the snow shovelling (Blair, 1991, 93).

These percentages seem rather irrelevant due to the fact that division of household labour is much more than who does what. Blair and Lichter discuss three prominent theories of the division of household labour. They are time availability, power theory, and gender role. The theory of time availability relates to the fact that if a spouse is working full-time outside the home, it is more difficult for he or she to perform the daily household tasks.

Blair and Lichter described this theory as the partner with the most available time presumably will assume the greatest share of household duties. Although this theory seems irrelevant in the explanation of why men do less work in the household, it does not explain why women are still doing the same amount even when she works the same hours as her husband. The power theory is a gender segregated theory that suggests that because women are of lower status to their husband, in regards to paid labour force earnings, the mens paid labour force job is more prestigious than his wifes.

Blair and Lichter raise an issue when they say that family power, which is typically measured by the personal resource of each spouse may also affect the allocation of domestic tasks by reinforcing traditional assignments of tasks by gender (Blair, 1991, 94). Although this theory does make sense, family power is not always divided by who makes more money. The third theory identified by Blair and Lichter is the gender role ideology, and the fact that by nature women are socialised to perform related to tasks to their femininity, as well as men are raised to perform related tasked to their masculinity.

This theory is more related to traditional sex roles of the expressive wife and the instrumental husband. Blair and Lichter report that females are more likely to be assigned to traditional female orientated tasks, such as cleaning, washing, and cooking (Blair, 1991, 94). Whereas men are more likely to perform male dominated tasks such as snow shovelling, taking out the garbage, car repairs, lawn mowing, and household repairs.

The Main Causes Of Divorce

they depend on for living each other. Nevertheless, some couples are unable to maintain their relationship; therefore they choose divorce, which is one of the solutions to cope with problems between husband and wife. Furthermore, most people think carefully before they get marriage. However, the divorce rates trend to continually increase nowadays, thus it might be argued that divorces can be taken place easier than the past. There are three main causes of divorce: changing woman’s roles, stress in modern living and lack of communication, which are highlighted below.

The first significant cause of recent rise in the rates of divorce is that women completely change in roles. In the past, men have to earn whole money to afford the expense of family, whereas woman only do housework, hence women have no money leading to depend on husbands’ money. Because of these situations, it is too difficult for most women to separate from their husbands. Nonetheless, these situations entirely change nowadays.

The equality between men and women in roles are very clear at the moment, thus women can work outside to earn money, while men share the household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing as well as caring for children. It can be clearly seen that women are independent from money as they can earn money by themselves to support their living cost. Accordingly, the divorce rates recently rise. Another cause to confirm the recent increase in divorce rates is stress in modern living. Many people, who live in globalisation, have considerable pressures to earn money.

It can be obviously seen that the stress has occurred since they are children. For instance, in Thailand, students generally want to go to famous school so that they take advantage to go to well-known universities. Studying in celebrated universities mostly causes having a good opportunity to find a job or earn a lot of money. This circumstance not only happens in Thailand, but also occurs in many countries. Some people are laid off from their companies; consequently the stress occurs in their family, which leads to divorce.

Some families can earn money, but inadequate for covering their expenses, therefore it is easy to think about divorce. Nevertheless, the rates of unemployment trend to continually increase as a result the divorce rates can also rise. It is no doubt that the stress in modern living may lead to recently increasing divorce rates. The final cause of recently increasing divorce is lack of communication. Owing to financial status in each family, many people are fairly busy. For this reason, they have inadequate time to talk to the problems with their partners, which produces the likelihood of divorce.

Some couples are often quiet when they have problems each other, as a consequence little problems can be expanded to probably become huge problems, resulting in divorce. It is quite clear that the more communications are used, the more divorce rates are reduced. Although, these three cause of the recent rise in divorce rates are expressed above, there are also two effects of the recent increase of divorce rates: negative effects and positive effects Firstly, the effects of recent enlargement in divorce rates are negative effects.

Most couples normally have children when they get marriage. Accordingly, divorces can directly effect on children. Children living in single parent families are more probably to get pregnant as teenagers, drop out of high school, abuse drugs and have aggressively emotional and behavioural problems, which lead to social problems. Some children decide to go out of their home when their parents separate each other, and subsequently they become homeless children. They do not have good opportunities to find a job due to shortage of education.

Consequently, crime may likely be the end result. These are significantly negative effects of recent expansion in divorce rates. Secondly, on the other hand, another effects of rise in divorce rates are positive effects. People, who divorce by consent from their partners, want to have better quality of life, since they are unhappy with their spouses. Accordingly, they can work efficiently, which results from fine mental condition. They not only have more free time to do many things, but also free from their spouses’ murmurs.

In addition, divorces also get rid of the violence of quarrel between husband and wife, hence everybody in family get better in physical and mental healthy, particularly for children. These are the advantageous effects of increasing divorce rates. In conclusion, a family is one of the important parts of society, thus many people had better aware of the significance of relationship in family. At the moment, divorce have become the substantial problem because of changing women’s roles, stress in modern living and lack of communication.

Nevertheless, there are also the two different ways in effects, which are negative and positive effects. Some couples, which have no children, divorce by consent, therefore divorce should be good solution for couples to deal with this problem. On the other hand, some couples having children in their family should think deliberatively before they end their marriage in divorce; otherwise innocent children probably become victims for this situation. Although people trend to think carefully before they get marriage, the rates of divorce continuously rise nowadays.

Lesbian and Gay Parenting

Like families headed by heterosexual parents, lesbian and gay parents and their children are a diverse group (Martin, 1993). Unlike heterosexual parents and their children, however, lesbian and gay parents and their children are often subject to prejudice because of sexual orientation that turns judges, legislators, professionals, and the public against them, frequently resulting in negative outcomes such as loss of physical custody, restrictions on visitation, and prohibitions against adoption (Falk, 1989; Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990).

As with all socially stigmatized groups, the beliefs held generally in ociety about lesbians and gay men are often not based in personal experience, but are instead culturally transmitted (Herek, 1991). The purpose of this summary of research findings on lesbian and gay parents and their children is to assist psychologists and other professionals to evaluate widespread beliefs in the light of empirical data and in this way ameliorate the negative effects of unwarranted prejudice. Because many beliefs about lesbian and gay parents and their children are open to empirical test, psychological research can evaluate their accuracy.

Systematic research comparing lesbian and gay adults to heterosexual adults only began in the late 1950s, and research comparing children of gay and lesbian parents with those of heterosexual parents is of a more recent vintage. Research on lesbian and gay adults began with Evelyn Hooker’s landmark study (1957) and culminated with the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 (Gonsiorek, 1991). Case reports on children of gay and lesbian parents began to appear in the psychiatric literature in the early 1970s (e. g. , Osman, 1972; Weeks, Derdeyn, & Langman, 1975) and have continued to appear (e. g. Agbayewa, 1984).

Beginning with the pioneering work of Martin and Lyon (1972), first person and fictionalized descriptions of life in lesbian mother families have also become available (e. g. , Alpert, 1988; Clausen, 1985; Jullion, 1985; Mager, 1975; Perreault, 1975; Pollock & Vaughn, 1987; Rafkin, 1990). Systematic research on the children of lesbian and gay parents did not, however, begin to appear in major professional journals until 1978, and most of the available research has been published more recently.

As this summary will show, the results of existing research comparing gay and lesbian parents to heterosexual parents and hildren of gay or lesbian parents to children of heterosexual parents are quite uniform: common sterotypes are not supported by the data. Without denying the clarity of results to date, it is important also for psychologists and other professionals to be aware that research in this area has presented a variety of methodological challenges, not all of which have been surmounted in every study. As is true in any area of research, questions have been raised with regard to sampling issues, statistical power, and other technical matters (e. g. Belcastro, Gramlich, Nicholson, Price, & Wilson, 1993); no individual study is entirely invincible to such criticism. One criticism of this body of research (Belcastro et al. , 1993) has been that the research lacks external validity because it may not be representative of the larger population of lesbian and gay parents.

This criticism is not justified, because nobody knows the actual composition of the entire population of lesbian mothers, gay fathers, or their children (many of whom choose to remain hidden) and hence researchers cannot possible evaluate the degree to which particular samples do or do not represent he population. In the long run, it is not the results obtained from any one specific sample, but the accumulation of findings from many different samples that will be most meaningful. Research in this area has also been criticized for using poorly matched or no control groups in designs that call for such controls.

Particularly notable in this category has been the tendency in some studies to compare development among children of a group of divorced lesbian mothers, many of whom are living with lesbian partners, to that among children of a group of ivorced heterosexual mothers who are not currently living with heterosexual partners. It will be important for future research to disentangle maternal sexual orientation from maternal status as partnered or unpartnered.

Other criticisms have been that most studies have involved relatively small samples, that there have been inadequacies in assessment procedures employed in some studies, and that the classification of parents as lesbian, gay, or heterosexual has sometimes been problematic (e. g. , some women classified by researchers as lesbian might be regarded as bisexual by other observers).

It is significant, however, that even with all the questions and/or limitations that may characterize research in the area, none of the published research suggests conclusions different from those that will be summarized below. This summary consists of four sections. In the first, results of research on lesbian and gay adults (and parents) are summarized. In the second section, a summary of results from research comparing children of lesbian and gay parents with those of heterosexual parents or with established norms is presented. The third section summarizes research on heterogeneity among lesbian and gay families with children.

Sociology: Family Report

Stable, healthy, two-parent families still appear to do the best job of raising kids. But when income and job status are taken into account, children raised by single mothers are nearly as likely to succeed in adulthood, and, interestingly enough, they are even more likely to succeed than children raised in homes headed by a stepfather or a single father. Kids from male-headed households, single dads, do worse socioeconomically than kids from mother-headed homes and also two-parent stepfamilies, said USC sociologist Timothy Biblarz, the study’s lead author.

The study analyzed a survey of 22,761 men ranging in age from 25 to 64. They had been asked to report the occupation of the head of the household in which they grew up and to list their own occupations. All occupations were ranked on a 100-point scale, with 100 requiring the most education and returning the most income. Men from traditional families averaged 42 on the scale, while men in mother-headed households averaged 40, no matter whether the mothers had been divorced, widowed or never married. Children from other types of nontraditional families ranked 35.

Previous studies from the mid-’60s on have presumed that children did poorly in single-mother homes because the structure itself was pathological. Even researchers skeptical about the effects of family structure on children’s development have pushed for policies to bring a man into a divorced home because of his paycheck. They assume if there’s a divorce, you’ve got to have policies to encourage remarriage to get a man back into the household because of added income, Biblarz said. Our findings challenge that to some extent. Most negative effects were due to the greater likelihood that single mothers would be unemployed, Biblarz said.

When you compare two-parent households where fathers were managerial / professional with kids whose single mothers were managerial / professional, there’s not a lot of difference between the socioeconomic outcomes as they get into adulthood. The researchers suspected a stepparent’s extra income may be offset by other issues and problems that can arise, such as a greater emotional distance or uncertainty and more conflict. Bringing a man into the home doesn’t mean kids will get a high level of investment from that stepparent, Biblarz said.

The analysis suggests that, if you want your kid to maintain the same status or class you’re in, having Mom around and plugged into the family is more important than Dad, said Jeffery Evans, health science administrator for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Until recently, however, much more was known about mothers than fathers and the evidence is far from clear yet about which gender parent is more important, and for what at which age, he said. The real question is, to what extent is father involvement good?

It now appears that fathers contribute by helping kids develop street smarts and that they take on a more significant role in the later years of a child’s development, he said. It is also clear that after a divorce, joint custody makes a difference in promoting father involvement–and it is as beneficial to the fathers as it is to the children. After a divorce, he said, You’d hate to see moms cut out, and you’d hate to see dads cut out. The net effect of these studies indicate there’s a price to be paid for deleting one of the traditional pairs, and the old-fashioned notion that it’s good to have a mom and a dad is still a pretty good idea.

Social Structure Report

This essay will begin by describing the three spheres that tie society together. The main institution of society is the family or household which is broken up into thousands of units. Secondly, it will discuss the economic institution and its ties to the family. The use of labour power and how that effects the power struggle with the capitalist marketplace will also be discussed. Lastly, the political institution of government will be shown along with its relationships to the family and the families ability to create reform and change regulation. One of the main institutions in society in the household or family.

It is here that almost all the consumption in society takes place. It is also here that almost all the labour power in society originates. The make-up of the family is not as “cut and dry” as it once was. The nuclear family is dead and what has replaced it has put all old theories about the family to the test. One major change has been the rise of the dual-earner family. In 70% of households today there is no single breadwinner. (Burggraf, 1997:54) Women’s position in the family has been changed radically from that of one-hundred years ago. Three important issues have been raised about women’s position in the family.

One is that the development of gender inequality within the family is a result of the changing economy. This being the extra accumulation of property in private households. The second issue is that capitalism being the only form of economy we are familiar with pushes for the working of every family member to create a strong economy. Lastly, the evolution of the family dispersed from economic development and instead become a more social issue. (Wilson, 1982:37) Because the position of women in the family has been so altered from past history, projections made, even forty years ago, are increasingly wrong.

Though, even with the changing structure of the family the economic labour power has not significantly increased. The role of housewife in the post-industrial age was just as important to women as today’s dual earning household. The housewife was the counter-part to the husbands role of breadwinner. It was the wife who cleaned the husbands clothes, prepared his food and provided emotional support, without which he could not fulfill his role as breadwinner. (Burggraf, 1997:174) With the evolution of the labour market and capitalist economy with the ever increasing consumption of the family unit the homemaker was called to enter the workforce.

In 1901 only 12% of Canadian women were economically active, however, in 1961 there were 29. 5% economically active. (Wilson, 1982:71). This percentage has gotten exponentially bigger with time. In 1981, 54% of women with dependent children were economically active. (Purdy, 1988:203) Another facet of the economic family unit is reproduction. The goal of the family unit is to produce children, which in turn expands the labour force, which creates a larger economic base. In Canadian families the emphasis is on quality not quantity and because of this there are gaps in the unskilled labour force.

It is only through immigration that the capitalist economy has been able to keep up with the demand for cheap unskilled labour. (Purdy, 1988:229) So the value of labour power is determined outside capitalism, in non-capitalist units that maintain and reproduce labour power… families. Corporations produce wealth in the form of goods and services and a can last well beyond an individuals life span. Capitalism is a powerful institution with holds on the economy, political state and family as well. The payment of wages allows the corporations to grow and continue to produce goods and exploit workers. (Bailey, 1974:127)

Families consume. In the modern era, most families are not units of production and consumption, mainly just consumption. They do not accumulate wealth, but simply take the wage and spend it on commodities that satisfy their needs. As Karl Marx put it, “if I exchange a commodity [labour power] for money, buy a commodity for it and satisfy my need, then the act is at an end. ” (Smith, 1982:29) Families have a limited life span, related to the cycle of growth and decline of individual family members. The family, unless it has property, will inevitably decline to be replaced or reborn in new formations down the generations.

Wages earned allow families to survive and reproduce labour power, in the form of children. It is the children that will outlive the family and become the new labour power. Working for wages allows those with economic activity to support the non-wage-earning members of the household, young and old, caring and dependent. In the spirit of support the family acts with altruism to aid reproduction and in turn this aids the reproduction of the capitalist enterprise. (Smith, 1982: 105) Marx put it like this : The maintenance and reproduction of the working-class is, as must ever be, a necessary condition to the reproduction of capital.

But the capitalist may safely leave its fulfillment to the labourer’s instincts of self-preservation and of propagation. (Smith, 1982:106) If Marx is correct in his ideology then the family will be forever in the service of the controllers of the economic and political states. Already the family is related to these two institutions in a number of ways. The economy and household/family are seperated easily in the modern era. As already stated above, the family of today is primarily a consumption unit, while the economic state is filled with units of production and consumption as well, it produces wages and employment.

Other creations of economy are; capitalist welfare programs (company housing, welfare, pension programs), corporate taxes and employer contributions. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:13) The families main tie to the economic state is through labour power. Jack Wayne, in his essay “The function of Social Welfare in a Capitalist Economy” writes: The reproduction of labour power is, however, private; it generally takes place outside the jurisdiction of capital, in families and households, and is separated from the circuit of capital.

The use value of labour power is, of course, of interest to the capitalist, but it is determined by processes and undertakings that occur behind ‘closed doors’. The only point of intervention available to the capitalist is the wage. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:79) It is the wage that ties the economic state and family together, and allows the corporations or as Marx calls them capitalists to harness the labour power for their own needs. There is only one form of labour that is not totally governed by the capitalist market and that is domestic labour. Domestic labour is characterized by a very low level of division of labour.

The same person (usually the housewife) does a range of activities which, in the social spheres are carried out by specialists. Some examples of this are catering, education and health businesses. Secondly the products of domestic labour do not have to be sold on the market for the labour to be recognized at useful. This makes domestic labour a non-market production. Lastly the labour-power is not offered on a market and therefor makes up non-waged labour (housework is non-paid). (Gouverneur, 1983:7) Closely tied in with the economic state is the political state.

The taxes ….. om the economic market feed the collective consumption of the government and legislation and boards from the government provide occupational health and safety standards. The government also provides a stabling influence on the changing economy. As far as the family is concerned the State provides redistribution of transfer payments and substitute wage programs. The government also strengthens the social welfare net and provides charity and philanthropy to those in need. Labour market regulation allows the regulation of child labour laws and gives more bargaining power to families and wage earners.

One major form of this is the ability to strike and discuss minimum wage legislation. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986: 17) Saskatchewan, under the first socialist government in North America the CCF, was the first to give wage-earners the right to go on strike in 1944. It took Ontario twenty years to give its provincial residents the same right. Households and families units of ,individual consumption, use this increase in labour power to provide more taxes, if not out of the good of their hearts then for government stability, to the political state.

Thus, the family unit helps balance the power struggle the government has with the ever increasing economic sphere in a symbiotic relationship. In “The State and the Maintenance of Patriarchy: A case study of family, labour and welfare legislation in Canada”, Jane Ursel writes: An important role of the state in class societies is to ensure a balanced allocation of labour and non-labour resources between the two spheres of production and reproduction so that the system is maintained both in the long and short term…. e state is the guarantor of the rules of class and the rules of patriarchy and must insure that one system does not disrupt the other. (Dickinson/Russell, 1986:154)

The government uses its control to regulate and perpetuate the status quo and the family is a part of that. However, she does not believe that the patriarchal system is all bad. She continues to write: Patriarchy is important because the state cannot (inspite of some ill-fated attempts) legislate procreation. It must instead set up a system via family, property and marriage laws which will serve to translage social and economic requirements into compelling household imperatives.

The characteristic feature of familial patriarchy is its pronatalist dynamic. This results from the nature of the interaction between class and patriarchy which creates a dterminant relation between productivity and procreation at the household level. (Dickinson/Russel, 1986:157) The family can change these regulations as well. According to what has been discussed so far the definition of a family would be a non-capitalist unit in which the maintenance and reproduction of labour power takes place. (Bailey, 1974: 34)

The Websters Dictionary describes a family as “a group of related things or people”. 990) However, the Canadian government defines the family as “now-married couple (with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both spouses), a couple living common law (again with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both partners) or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one never-married son or daughter living in the same dwelling. (Statistics Canada, 1994:10) Because the governments definition of family lets several groups that may still be considered families “slip through the cracks”, this gives bargaining power to the family unit yet again to change government regulation.

The Canadian government still does not recognize same sex couples, three generations living in the same household and individuals living apart from spouses and children. In 1991, 424,950 individuals aged 18-25 lived with non-relatives, in institutions, or by themselves. This represents over 20% of the age group. (Statistics Canada, 1994:19) One aspect of the political sphere that the family continually challenges is gender equality. Starting with the latter part of the nineteenth century where waves of feminist protest egan throughout the western world.

Women organized in groups starting at the family level and gaining support from other women’s groups. One of the first cases early feminists argued before the government was their collective right to vote. As early as 1916 in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba women were given the right to vote, this increased the families power with swaying the political sphere… it essentially doubled it. (Wilson. 1982:119) The women’s movement appeared to lose its momentum after women gained the right to vote.

But although women’s groups were no longer held together by a single goal. They continued to fight for women’s rights on several fronts. The YWCA and Canadian Business and Professional Women remained active in support of women’s issues. However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the movement regained its previous strength. (Wilson, 1982:125) Women in families are not the only ones who have argued with the political sphere and won some political rights. Some Gay families or same-sex couples have won the right to adopt children and in some American states get married.

The Modern family depends heavily on the all the institutions of society for support. Where in the past the family was independent, now it needs the bonds created through long access to each sphere either political or economic. The labour power generated by the family unit gives it he bargaining power to compete head to head with the ever growing and dominant labour market and government bureaucracy. But because the family is the smallest group and is based on individual consumption it can seem over-taxed when dealing with mighty corporations and large political states.

However, in the global market-place the power lies in the hands of those that control the labour and the consumption. Currently, the family institution relies on the economy and political state, but as the bargaining for labour power continues the family is emerging as the dominant force. As new evolutions of families are being allowed to participate in our culture, more power will create more labour and more reproduction. It is a basic fact that history repeats itself, maybe the family will gain the dominant role it had before the industrial revolution and mercantilism.

A Typical 1950s American Family

The wilsons are what you would call a typical 1950s american family. They consist of the father and husband Frank, housewife linda, oldest child Tommy age 17, Cheryl age 16, Mikey age 10, and Suzie age 8. Thay are a white middle class family that lives in the suburb autside little rock, Arkansas. The neighborhood was modled after Levittown, a famous sururb community outside of New York. Right now it’s monday morning and the wilsons are starting off their week. “Breakfast is ready”, yells linda. She has just prepared pancakes, sausages, and orange juice for her whole family.

Also, she just finished ironing her husband’s dress shirt for work. On her way back to the kitchen, she recieves a huge kiss from her husband, seeing as she felt her identity was riding on him; since she never managed to finish college. “Oh Mother, the food smells so good! “, suzie enthusiastically bellows in excitement. They all sit sit down and happily eat their foos together, while linda goes around and serving them seconds, pouring them juice and cofee, and washing some disshes. Tommy and sheryl finish and are ready to go to school, Central High. “Bye mom and dad, we love you” they both say.

We love you too kids, have a fun day” they replied back Tommy and cheryl getbin the car, and tommy drives them to school. Frank had jus gotten the car from the dealer. It was a 1958 chevelle, with all the luxuries. Frank Wilson could afford it, since he was an executive workng with a prestigious farming products factory; where he worked for the animal feed division. The bank was more than happy to lend him the money for the car, seeing that his job with the factory was stable, the farming industry was growing and he qualified perfectly as an average middle class white man.

He was no different that any of his coworkers. “Jailhouse Rock is really good… By elvis right? ” Asks tommy “Why yes! ” says cheryl. The tune was blasting on a radical radio station playing rock music. It was 1957, the year of the little rock nine. Tommy and Cheryl were rather neutral towards segregation, they had good moral values. They had heard about the incident earlier that year, but they didn’t pay any attention to it. Furthermore, Cheryl brought her slynky along to school. She was one of the first to have a slynky in her group of frineds. It was their favorite passtime.

According to Cheryl, it would be the new Barbie doll, but she was to old for dolls. Tommy had a surge of courage and decided to ask Marie out, on a date. He told her that they would go to the Drive-In that had just opened outside of town. A John Wayne double feature was playing, that’s all tommy cared about. He really liked westerns, since he always satdown and watched it with his dad on TV. The television set was new at the house too. The older model they had burnt out a few months back. Frank decide to get another one just as soon as the neighbors got theirs. It was also a growing passtime in the 50s.

Thay day in school saw the beginning of a polio vaccination campaing led by the county hospital. It was a huge threat all around the US, so the campain proved to be succesful in that area. Tommy and cheryl didn’t really care since they already had a shot a few months back. Nevertheless, they were in awe after seeing the endless line for vaccination. By the end of the school day Tommy had a date for friday with Marie and Cheryl had learned how to wash dishes and bake muffins all at the same time. On the way back home they listened to the new Rock’n roll station earlier mentioned. It was playing James Brown.

The Impact of Unwanted Divorce Vs Death of a spouse

When someone is confronted with legal separation from the person to whom they’ve committed their adult life, it may seem as though their whole life is disintegrating right before their eyes, especially if they’re not the one choosing the separation. The future stops existing, and only an empty present looms ahead. For some, the feelings evoked by a divorce and the issues that surround it pass relatively quickly; for others, the anguish and consequences last for years.

Many people who have suffered through the emotional trauma of divorce strongly believe that losing a spouse as a result of an unwanted divorce has had a greater impact on their emotional health and well being than losing a spouse in death. A significant number of therapists and other psychiatric professionals agree, for they understand that divorce is far more than just a legal process. (Rich and Schwartz) Essentially, when one spouse divorces another, he or she is rejecting their partner, physically and emotionally as well as legally.

This rejection can be emotionally devastating to the spouse who doesn’t want a divorce, and can inflict even more psychic damage than death, for the widow or widower of a deceased spouse knows that their partner did not choose to die. Along with these feelings of rejection, the spouse who wanted to stay married also often feels betrayed. Their partner vowed to love and honor them forever, and to stand by them in sickness and in health, and to devote their lives to them. With divorce, all of that is taken away.

Those promises of love, fidelity, and companionship are broken, by the choice of the spouse pursuing the divorce. In contrast, when death takes away a spouse, it is certainly not by choice. Like those who have just been widowed, newly divorced people may be grief-stricken, and emotionally anxious about how they’ll live from now on. They will perhaps be angry, guilty, depressed, or all three. They will almost certainly feel apprehensive about having to handle many of the daily tasks of living with which they may have little or no experience, or may have taken for granted.

Unlike the widowed, however, they still must deal with the reality of having a living x-spouse who will almost certainly cross their path frequently in the months immediately following the decision to divorce, and perhaps well beyond that. This is one of the most difficult factors many divorced people face. It can be very hard to see their ex-spouse, especially if the ex-spouse is in a new relationship. The impact of divorce, then, shouldn’t be underestimated. Even in a day and culture where the breakdown of marriages is commonplace and divorces an accepted occurrence, marriage is still sacrosanct.

Weddings are still built upon oaths of commitment, and marriages are still legally and emotionally binding. Even the most cynical people go into marriage with the expectation and hope that their partner will be the right one, and work towards developing a life together on the basis that the relationship will be permanent. Accordingly, it’s a very serious business when the marriage falls apart. Examining this issue from a male perspective, it should be noted that when marriages break down many men find it hard to talk about it and often adopt a macho attitude and act like it doesn’t bother them all that much, when inside they are dying.

In fact, studies have revealed that many men will still be struggling with problems relating to divorce and separation ten years after the event. Furthermore, the fact that men often receive much less emotional support from friends, family, and co-workers is a major reason why, when marriages break up, many men develop severe emotional problems which can eventually effect their health. Studies indicate that the emotional trauma of divorce stresses the human mind and body as much and sometimes more than the loss of a spouse through death, which lowers the immune system’s defenses to physical disease.

Therefore it is no wonder that three separate studies found higher rates of infectious disease and cancer among persons undergoing marital disruption. (Larson and Larson) Another ramification of unwanted divorce, which is often overlooked, is the effect of parental separation upon children. Long-term studies indicate that for children, divorce produces emotional trauma that often endures for life. Further intensifying the impact of divorce in our culture is the fact that more than one million children each year experience the breakup of their families.

Unwanted divorce means the disintegration of a child’s fundamental security base his family which can be terribly traumatic, not only for the children, but for the parents as well, especially if one of them wanted to save the marriage. These children often experience a sense of profound rejection, abandonment, fear, and anger. Many even feel guilty, somehow holding themselves responsible for their parent’s divorce. Children from disrupted households are more likely to be involved in crime, given that criminal behavior is more strongly tied to disrupted family structure than even income level.

Other studies also indicate a relationship between divorce and teen suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and poor school performance. This emotional suffering experienced by the children of a shattered marriage can exact a terrible emotional toll on the parent who didn’t want the divorce, for, unlike when a mother or father dies, the children often blame one or both parents for a divorce. When a parent dies, the child or children naturally bond even more closely with the surviving parent.

But when a divorce occurs, relationships between parents and children can be strained and even broken. For a spouse already undergoing the personal trauma of divorce, the additional burden of children who are harboring and expressing resentment against them can be awfully hard to bear. Another factor that can make divorce from a spouse even harder to deal with than the death of a spouse is the reaction of friends. When someone’s husband or wife dies, their mutual friends always rally around the survivor, and can be wonderful sources of emotional support.

But when a divorce occurs friends of the couple tend to feel divided in their loyalties, and friendships are often broken. At a time when someone needs all the friends they can get, and has already been rejected by a husband or wife, it is especially hard to accept the rejection of friends as well. (Schwartz) At this point it would be useful to briefly examine approaches that can be taken by the spouse initiating the divorce that can make the process less devastating for their partner. They should understand that most people respond with sadness to hurt.

Many people respond defensively, with anger, especially couples who have been caught in cycles of anger. (Baris) The spouse initiating the divorce cannot stop these feelings in their partner, but they can help by giving that individual time to catch up to them. They can also help by giving their partner one good, adequate explanation as to what went wrong. Many spouses who didn’t want to agree to a divorce never get that and are haunted for the rest of their lives by not really understanding what happened.

They never get closure, as they usually get after the death of a spouse, and it makes it more difficult for them to accept the separation and move on. Baris) In conclusion, statistics indicate that the trauma of divorce and separation will shatter the lives and dreams of approximately one out of every two couples who are married in America. The realities and stages of divorce cause fear, doubt and anxiety that sometimes are difficult to describe. Children, holidays and the nagging emptiness of loneliness become problems, which can make unwanted divorce even worse than losing a husband or wife through death.

Many separated wives or husbands who have suffered through the emotional trauma f a divorce strongly believe that losing a spouse as a result of an unwanted divorce had a greater impact on their emotional health and well being than losing a spouse in death. This is primarily because when one spouse divorces the other, they are rejecting their partner, physically and emotionally as well as legally. This rejection can be emotionally devastating to the spouse who doesn’t want a divorce, and can inflict even more psychic damage than death, for the widow or widower of a deceased spouse knows that their partner did not choose to die.

The Ongoing Struggle for a Family

The most important thing in a family is that all the people in it love each other. This excerpt is from a childrens book, written by Leslea Newman, Called Heather Has Two Mommies. This story is intended to show kids that not everyones family is the same. Many reasons are given to dispute gay and lesbian parenting but all founded on some of the archaic beliefs that Hitler used to kill homosexuals during W. W. II, fear and prejudice!

Although having children and being parents seems like a basic human right or choice, many people believe that the government should have the authority to iscriminate who can are cannot have children, regardless of their parenting skills. Some say that it is unnatural for gay and lesbians to have children because they have to go to such extremes to have them (Oppos .. 199).

It is kind of ironic because it has become mainstream for heterosexual couples that are determined infertile to use artificial insemination, adoption, and even invitro-fertilization, and when one of these procedures is successful the couple is said to have had a miracle, while the gay or lesbian couple is said to be fanatical. Lesbian couples may use sperm banks, or they may become oparents with a gay couple that also wishes to have children.

In these cases the child has 4 loving and nurturing parents instead of the standard 2. Another opposing view is that all gays and lesbians are sexually promiscuous, therefore have HIV/AIDS, and their relationships are not stable enough to have children (Oppos.. 199). Lesbians and gays love and form deep and lasting commitments just like heterosexuals.

To claim otherwise is to declare that lesbians and gays are somehow not human and ignore the reality of their lives, (New Civil.. 25) Laws and social views eem be conflicted on what they want because they say gay/lesbian relationships are not stable, but than deny them the right to marry, therefore through laws and legislation the are not promoting the behavior that they seem to require. HIV/AIDS is a horrible disease and truthfully is a major concern in the gay community, but it is because of the stereotypes, lack of education, and knowledge about the disease itself that this disease was able to attack many gay males.

Although HIV/AIDS is a concern for people in general the number of lesbian women with it is almost non-existent. Does this mean that eterosexual couples that have HIV/AIDS are not having children? No, countless articles can be found about drug using prostitutes that give birth to a baby with HIV and still retains custody. While in 1997, a women named Sharon Bottoms loses her child in Virginia to her mother for being gay, active lesbianism practiced in the home may pose a burden upon the child by reason of Social Condemnation attached to such an arrangement the state Supreme Court stated (issues.. 6).

All hope is not lost though, in June of 1997 an Ohio appeals court upheld that, sexual orientation alone, has no elevance to a decision concerning the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, Many people believe that gays and lesbians shouldnt have kids because the child will be molested and/or be mal adjusted as a youth and adult. Lesbians and gays are inherently sick and prey on children. Giving them custody of children opens those children up to sexual abuse.

They cannot raise healthy children, (Oppos.. 199). The statistics certainly do not support these statements, Adults who sexually molest children are a diverse group. No one race, religion level of intelligence, level of ducation, occupation, or income sets perpetrators apart from the rest of the population, (New Civil.. 78). One thing is clear, most often a child molester is a heterosexual male who is acquainted with the victim (New Civil.. 78).

Others believe that a child of a homosexual is most likely going to be a homosexual, and even if they are not they will have a hard time growing up due to the teasing and stereotypes of their classmates and community. Studies have proved these beliefs false, Although studies have assessed over 300 offspring of gay or lesbian parents in 12 different samples, no evidence has been ound for significant disturbances of any kind in the development of sexual identity. hey go on to say that, the same held true for moral development, intelligence, and peer relationships, (New Civil.. 132).

Like all children, kids from gay and lesbian familys have problems with prejudice, much like the children of African-American, Native American, and Jewish families face. With one exception, this doesnt people from believing that the later shouldnt have children due to bigotry. April Martin a psychologist and lesbian mother sums it up well when she said, On the contrary, the ride we feel in our families gives our children the tools to deal with prejudice.

As in any family that contains a member of an oppressed minority, our children learn to understand the problems of ignorance and bias, (New Civil.. 133). In conclusion, no one is saying that gays and lesbian make better parents or that they want special rights, we just want the chance to be the one who gets up in the morning and changes diapers, wipes the tears, cleans the scrapes from the first proudly while they except their diploma, and be there when they say I do. How can you fault a person for wanting to be the best parent possible?