04 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: How Do Social Roles Influence The Development Of Identity?

The society portrays the apparent disparity between men and women used as a medium of rationalization for forcing them into disparate social roles which limit and shape their attitudes and deeds. The effortless corporeal facts therefore always become associated with complex psychological qualities. It is not enough for a man to be male; he also has to emerge masculine. A woman, in addition to being female, must also be feminine. However, once the contrast between men and women has been increased and emphasized in this manner, it is usually taken as an additional demonstration of genetic differences which authenticate the need for different social roles.

The notion of life may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.In his allegory; Plato equates people untaught in the “Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads”. The wall of the cave reminds something.  Between the fire and the prisoners there is a stockade, along which puppets can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the genuine objects that pass behind them. What the detainees see and hear are shadows and echoes that obliterate their vision. Such a detainee would mistake appearance for realism. The real causes of the shadows would not be known by them. What they perceive on the wall is far from reality.

The concept of boundaries is useful here for demonstrating how identity works.Plato comprehends that mankind can think, and speak., without any awareness reality. The allegory of the cave is thought to clarify this. “And if they could talk to one another, don’t you think they’d suppose that the names they used applied to the things they see passing before them?” (515b2).This is the reply which indicates that an ignorant prisoner is deceived by the image on the wall. The prisoners may gain knowledge of what a book is by sheer understanding of the  shadows of books as none  had ever seen one.

Plato’s points out “the general terms of our language are not “names” of the physical objects that we can see. They are actually names of things that we cannot see, things that we can only grasp with the mind. When the prisoners are released, they can turn their heads and see the    real objects. Then they realize their error. What can be done that is analogous to turning our heads and seeing the causes of the shadows? We can come to grasp the Forms with our minds.” Plato’s endeavor in the nation is to portray what is obligatory for us to accomplish this philosophical perceptive. Otherwise it remains exact that our very aptitude depends on.

Linda Sexton depicts her life and the life of her own  mother, She was a  famous poet, Anne Sexton. She committed suicide when Linda was barely 21 .She disapproves her mother’s depression and the depressive way of writing.  “Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss.”( Chapter 17, pg. 140)

Linda describes her life in magnificent and quite dominant writing style.   The obscurity she has had finding a life of her own after growing up with a mother who’s own needs besieged her. Quote 15: “They huddled closer and stared at the door. They just didn’t use another part of their bodies, and they didn’t look at anything but the door. The time was past for asking the white folks what to look for through that door. Six eyes were questioning God.” (Chapter 18, pg. 150)

“Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.” (Chapter 20, pg. 184.) Her book still endorses her mother, and proves her mother to be a better writer. So she still, even though long in the grave, puts her mother’s needs to the forefront.  She would question her mother as to how she felt then. “Janie held his head tightly to her breast and wept and thanked him wordlessly for giving her the chance for loving service. She had to hug him tight for soon he would be gone, and she had to tell him for the last time. Then the grief of outer darkness descended.”( Chapter 19, pg. 175)

If identity is a kind of virtual site in which the dynamic processes and markers used for identification are made apparent, boundaries provide the framework on which this virtual site is built. They concentrated on how the idea of community belonging is differently constructed by individual members and how individuals within the group conceive ethnic boundaries.The Bell Jar narrates the tale of a young woman’s growing into an adult.

As a replacement for undergoing a progressive education in the ways of the world, terminating in an access into adulthood, Esther worsens into lunacy. For her, experiences are projected to be life-changing in an affirmative sagacity. Esther’s first time in New York City, her first marriage proposal, her success in college-are distressing and disorienting to her. Instead of finding new meaning in living, She wants to die. Having recovered from her suicide attempt, she seeks simply to endure a life.

In a social context, misunderstandings can arise due to a misinterpretation of the significance of specific markers. Equally, an individual can use markers of identity to exert influence on other people without necessarily fulfilling all the criteria that an external observer might typically associate with such an abstract identity.Esther observes a gap between what society says she should experience and what she does experience, and this gap intensifies her madness. Society expects women of Esther’s age and station to act cheerful, flexible, and confident, and Esther feels she must repress her natural gloom, cynicism, and dark humor.

Social movements have sought to strengthen politically oppressed groups both by improving members’ sense of confidence and by familiarizing the external society with the existing social group. She feels she cannot discuss or think about the dark spots in life that plague her: personal failure, suffering, and death. She knows the world of fashion she inhabits in New York should make her feel glamorous and happy, but she finds it filled with venom, drunkenness, and violence. Her relationships with men are supposed to be romantic and meaningful, but they are marked by misunderstanding, distrust, and brutality.

Identity has played a functional role in by emphasizing a group identity.  Esther almost continuously feels that her reactions are wrong, or that she is the only one to view the world as she does, and eventually she begins to feel a sense of unreality. This sense of unreality grows until it becomes unbearable, and attempted suicide and madness follow.

People can manipulate boundaries to their own individual advantage and refashion their selves in a variety of ways at different moments in time. Thus contrary to conventional views of identity as homogeneous within a given social or ethnic community, people are selective in their appropriations of different aspects of identity according to circumstances

The bell jar is an inverted glass jar, generally used to display an object of scientific inquisitiveness, contain a certain kind of gas, or maintain a vacuum. For Esther, the bell jar symbolizes madness. When gripped by insanity, she feels as if she is inside an airless jar that distorts her perspective on the world and prevents her from connecting with the people around her. At the end of the novel, the bell jar has lifted, but she can sense that it still hovers over her, waiting to drop at any moment.

Esther normally read newspaper headings and thumbs through magazines. The information that she got from these sources tells us what interests her most: the papers fascinate her with their stories of the execution of the Rosen bergs and a man’s suicide attempt. Periodicals also reinforce the values of mainstream 1950s America. Esther’s mother sends her a pamphlet defending chastity, and in the doctor’s waiting room Esther reads magazines about maternity in the youth.

One of Esther’s most unbearable fits occur in the sixteenth chapter.  Headlines are reprinted in the text of the novel. Joan gives Esther actual headlines from articles reporting Esther’s disappearance and attempted suicide. These headlines symbolize Esther’s exposure, her effect on others, and the gap between Esther’s interpretation of experiences and the world’s interpretation of them. First, they show Esther that the public knows about her behavior-she does not act in a vacuum, but in the interested eye of the world. She feels she cannot discuss or think about the dark spots in life that plague her: personal failure, suffering, and death.

She knows the world of fashion she inhabits in New York should make her feel glamorous and happy, but she finds it filled with poison, drunkenness, and violence. Her relationships with men are supposed to be romantic and meaningful, but they are marked by misunderstanding, distrust, and brutality. Esther almost continuously feels that her reactions are wrong, or that she is the only one to view the world as she does, and eventually she begins to feel a sense of unreality. This sense of unreality grows until it becomes unbearable, and attempted suicide and madness follow.

The headlines also display the power Esther’s conduct has on people who are almost strangers to her. Joan, for example, says the headlines inspired her to move to New York and challenges suicide. Finally, the headlines represent the dissension between Esther’s experience of herself and others’ experience of her. While Esther sees only pain and consumes pills in the darkness, the world sees a sensational story of a missing girl, a hunt in the woods, and the shocking discovery of Esther in her own house.

When Esther tries to kill herself, she finds that her body seems determined to live. Esther remarks that if it were up to her, she could kill herself in no time, but she must outwit the tricks and ruses of her body. The beating heart symbolizes this bodily desire for life. When she tries to drown herself, her heart beats, “I am I am I am.” It repeats the same phrase when Esther attends Joan’s funeral.

We observe a gap between what society says she should experience and what she does experience, and this gap intensifies her madness. Society expects women of Esther’s age and station to act cheerful, flexible, and confident, and Esther feels she must repress her natural gloom, cynicism, and dark humor.

“Look what can happen in this country, they’d say. A girl lives in some out-of-the-way town for nineteen years, so poor she can’t afford a magazine, and then she gets a scholarship to college and wins a prize here and a prize there and ends up steering New York like her own private car. Only I wasn’t steering anything, not even myself. I just bumped from my hotel to work and to parties and from parties to my hotel and back to work like a numb trolleybus. I guess I should have been excited the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn’t get myself to react. I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo”.

The power of magazine images to distort and alienate is most obvious when Esther sees a picture of her in a fashion magazine in the mental hospital and feels the distance between her actual life and the image of glamour and happiness she sees in the magazine.

The shedding of blood marks major transitions in Esther’s life. When Marco attempts to rape her, she gives him a bloody nose, and he smears his blood on her like war paint. When she decides to kill herself, she slashes her calf to practice slashing her wrists The presence of blood suggests a ritual sacrifice. Esther will sacrifice her body for peace of mind, and sacrifice her virginity. The presence of blood also indicates the frightening violence of Esther’s experiences. For her, transformations involve pain and suffering, not joy. Torn apart by torture and remorse, Esther emerges as a different individual in the social surroundings.

The criminal justice system in Texas lastly worked on precisely to get things  right. Andrea Yates, described at the time of the killing of her children as one of the most rigorously psychologically ill patients ever come across finally was recognized as such which took the time to consider what must have ensued inside Yates’ mind that morning in June 2001 to cause her to search for and ruin her loved ones.

Yates will be sent to a heavily-guarded mental health facility, where she will probably spend the rest of her life. From time to time she will checked. And, if past is the  preface, every time her medicine allows her to regain a little bit of sanity she will realize what she did to her beloved children and then descend again back into some sort of madness. So this story started as a tragedy and continues as a tragedy even with though the defense finally won the day.

The difference between this trial, and the 2002 trial which resulted in a quick conviction, is clear. In this trial the defense was better able to humanize Andrea Yates, to focus upon the fact that she was a loving mother until she did this unspeakable thing to her children, and also then to convince jurors that the act of killing your children the way she did, after taking such good care of them, meets the very definition of an insane act.

Yates also got this decision because jurors paid attention more during this trial on her mental health history of severe psychosis and post-partum depression, and upon the evidence of all the experts who said that Yates clearly did not plan the event or understand in those horrible moments that what she was doing was erroneous. And clearly, unlike the first trial, where jurors took fewer than four hours to convict, the jury didn’t acquire the prosecution’s theory that Yates knew right from wrong as she dialed the police herself.

This trial only involved the deaths of three of the five children that Yates killed we could technically see another murder trial that focuses upon those two other children. But that’s really a long shot situation now that a panel of adjudicators has come back and affirmed that Yates was officially insane.

It has no doubt been a wonder why allegedly natural responsibility should necessitate such rigorous social enforcement. Had they been truly natural, they would come naturally to both men and women. However, it is noteworthy that the activists of the natural inequality hate nothing more than letting nature takes its course. Yet, if their urging were true, there would be no need to refute women equal opportunities, since they would be unable to compete with men. If women were naturally inferior, men would have got zilch to trepidation..
The fact is that individual wishes and aptitude have a tendency to go beyond the narrow limits of our traditional gender roles. Undeniably, it takes a stable collective effort by all social authorities to keep this tendency under control. Such social control appears not only externally, in the form of parental guidance, peer-group pressure, and law enforcement, but also internally in the form of concepts and values which determine the self-image of every individual.

While psychologists most commonly use the term “identity” to describe somebody’s personal identity, or all that which can  make a different individuality, sociologists often use the term to describe social identity, or the collection of group memberships that define the individual. However, these uses are not proprietary, and each discipline may use either concept. Whatever the definition may depict, it is certain that our social roles help evolve into ourselves into individualities.

Reference:

Plato: The Allegory of the Cave, , 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace College Publishing: ISBN 0-15-567425-0

Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar; Publisher: Everyman’s Library, … ISBN: 9780375404634

Sexton,  Linda Gray; Searching For Mercy Street:Publisher:Everyman’s Library ISBN:9780375404634

www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/andrea_yates/index.html

www.karisable.com/andreayates.htm

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