Monday, December 13, 2010

Does society create criminals?

What would Dostoevsky say about criminals in society? In my opinion society morphs and distorts reality for many people. The torment of life and the pressure to succeed and fit-in creates ideas in the mind that can change your personality. The pressure of society and the pressure to not be in poverty may drive some to steal in order to have money. Maybe you have no food, that could drive you to steal some bread from a market. In Roskolnikovs case, he believes that society has created a horrible, maniacal, old woman whom he thinks should not exist. By creating this idea in his head he feels it is his duty to rid society of her. Has society distorted his perception of reality making him think criminally?

Similar kind of pressure makes Prince Hal lost in what he truly wants to do in his life. His kingly Father has all sorts of ideas on how Prince Hal should live, but Prince Hal is confused. He spends his time meandering in the pubs, drinking, and hanging out with low lifes. It is not all pressure to fulfill and carry out his Father's wishes that confuses young Hal , but it is obvious that it contributes to some of it. Again, the torment of life and the pressure to succeed and fit-in creates ideas in the mind that can change your personality.

In The Stranger, Camus creates an odd and somewhat disconnected character. The development of his character, or lack there-of, shows his inability to feel emotion and completely distorted view of reality, noticing only physical things and living in the moment of that day. Many students saw complexity in his character but I, on the contrary, saw Meursault as an idea in Camus's head, revealing a complex idea about society. The idea in his head is that Mearsault was turned into a criminal, by the of society. By living every day without thinking of society's mold and trying to fit inside it Meursalt killed and man without intention (on a whim, caught in the moment, actually) and was tried to be executed. Never once did he have bad intentions, but according to society he did. And for his lack of emotion (the societal norm) he is tried for execution.

Additionally, many teenagers in our modern age are lost. Different types of pressure to succeed scare away teens from actually suceeding. Numbers drive where you go in life, SAT, ACT, GPA, ect. Such numbers determine where you go to college, what kind of education you get, and how much income you make later on in life. I personally know many kids who have dropped out of highschool because of the confusion, pressure, and disorientation school and life creates. They are not criminals, thought some are and may become such, but they have dropped into the lower tier of our society and will undoubtedly struggle to survive in such an economically demanding world.
Many books, movies, and everyday media touch on societal pressure that cause humans to become confused, and, in some cases, criminals. Though Crime and Punishment and the Stranger are extreme cases, it still happens everywhere whether we notice it or not.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is the importance of reading multicultural texts?

In the Odyssey, it is vital to understand that this was a Greek epic that has been read through the eyes of countless human beings. But why are so many people reading such texts? In my opinion it is to understand different aspects of human culture and the drive of the human mind. Also, it is to show that the idea of the "hero" was created so long ago and by a different culture, making it relate to all.

To see Odysseus struggle to get home and struggle mentally it makes the story relate to anyone, no matter what color your skin is, what culture you are from, or what you think the definition of a hero is. It also cultures the readers' mind a little bit, exposing different angles of the human races' capability to succeed and overcome obstacles.

This can be related to Crime and Punishment-Russian, and The Stranger-French. Both of these books reveal different cultures and makes you smarter in the end. Who doesn't want to be smarter and more cultured? Reading such muti-cultural texts creates a window in which reader can peer into different cultures and understand different aspects of human nature.

Even in our society we love submerging ourselves in multi-cultural multi-media. For instance Slumdog Millionaire lets viewers into the grim, and definitely romanticized, life in the Indian slums. We as humans, and definitely Americans, enjoy witnessing other examples of society and how they differ from our own.