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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Research Paper on Haiti

Research Paper on Haiti

Port-au- Prince is not only a city, but also the capital of the Caribbean nation known as Haiti. This city is an encircled in a nation of about eight million inhabitants. This city is in the heart of a tropical country that remains hot and humid during the rainy season, dry in the other months where the hottest temperatures are during the summer, from June to September. The languages to be spoken in this city vary, while the majority of Haitians (the majority of lower socio- economic inhabitants) speak Creole while the individuals of higher socio-economic- status speak fluently in French and English. The current class breakdown of the city is of two distinct socio-economic statuses; mostly those individuals of low socio-economic status remain and live in the city of Port-au-Prince (Abbott 1988). “The annual average income is $250 per family. About 80% of the population lives in dismal poverty (Perusse 1995)”. While there are those individuals of high socio-economic status who live in Port-au-Prince, many of those individuals would be considered elites and are often family, friends and acquaintances of the current president Haiti, many maintain a similar lifestyle as the president by living in a clustered area surrounding arm guards similar to the president who lives in the white house. It is important to note that the direct problems (social and economical) within the city of Port-au Prince are a direct manifestation of the internal problems (social and economical) of the country.

Port-au-Prince like many other cities faces severe challenges in its survival. The current issues that need addressing facing Port-au-Prince are security conditions, housing, supply of water, transportation/road conditions, education and healthcare. Security conditions of the city are very uncertain, the people who do live there do not feel safe, which is important to make this known because once the people who inhabit a city no longer feel there are obvious issues that need to be address. It is also important to note that because Port-au-Prince is the capital, much of political tension manifests itself into security issues and etc. Since politics can be very volatile, those who live at the heart can often feel repercussions at a higher intensity then those who live farther out from the city or in the countryside.

Security is very uncertain. It suggested for those not to travel or walk the streets (especially women) during the day or night. Security conditions are so poor in the city there are regulated hours where it is unsafe to travel by car after 6 at night and before 7 in the morning. Someone of the family must accompany children to their destinations. It is suggested for foreigners or visitors to hire someone well known, to run errands in the city or in public offices, and to make that person take you (and wait for you) to banks and supermarkets. Crime, which goes hand in hand with security conditions, is also rampant in the city. The poor youth, range in ages from 13-24; since they are young and more agile, the youth frequently commit crimes in the city of Port-au-Prince, because the city generates more of an influx of people. The crimes committed are by those individuals who come from destitute backgrounds because they are too poor to receive an education, but government feels they do not deserve government assistance. City inhabitants encourage those visiting the city not travel with big amounts of money or big bags containing valuables. It is suggested to use checks and local credit cards, which are accepted in much of the cities supermarkets, shops, schools, and restaurants. Cash is vital only at the flea markets and to buy vegetables at the street vendors.

Housing in the city, especially for the majority of individuals in the lower socio-economic status, do not live apartment complexes but in little clay/stucco shacks with no indoor plumbing or electricity. The urban people that live in the city of Port-au-Prince live in their shacks, which can either be one room or is divided by a sheet/curtain or a live in a shack with two rooms that does not need to be separated by a curtain/sheet. In these shacks there is no differentiation between a dining, bedroom, study or living room often the one giant room serve as an all purpose room, meaning that one room serves multiple functions. Since there is no indoor plumbing the shack, there is often an outhouse locate a few feet away from the shacks and a large pump that produces water, which belongs to and is share by the community, which reside in that area (Perusse 1995).

A number of shacks around particular areas help to produce what we currently know as slums (run down dilapidated houses in a particular area, generally not known to be safe); slums are very dominant in the areas where there are groupings of individuals of lower socio-economic status. “In the city of Port-au-Prince there is a high rating of slums due to mass departure of middle class and number of elites, which left much of land and housing to urban poor to take over and live (Abbott 1988)”. What also help Port-Au-Prince to have large number of slums; during these coups homes of elites, apartments and shacks were frequently burned to ground during political fervor. Those who (lower middle class) can afford not live in shacks but can barely afford homes often rent apartments at high price in the cities that do not correspond to the quality of apartments we would found in a country like United States.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Research Paper on Israel and Sudan

Research Paper on Israel and Sudan

Israel and Sudan are both considered Middle-Eastern countries, located in southwestern Asia and northeastern Africa, respectively. Israel would be considered a developed “Western” country, while Sudan is a less developed “non-Western” nation. This paper will address a given topic for one country, then the same topic for the second country and move on to the next topic following that form.

A key to understanding Israel is acquiring the knowledge of how the nation was formed. The British, who had been mandated the land which is now Israel, Jordan and the West Bank, then called Palestine, from the Ottoman Empire after World War I, did not simply declare the area of Israel a Jewish state ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'"). First, the British set up the land east of the Jordan River as an Arab Palestinian nation and named it Trans-Jordan, while everything west of the Jordan River was to be the Jewish Palestinian nation or Palestine ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'"). The British turned matters over to the United Nations, which split Palestine into a Jewish state and a second Arab state ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'"). The Jewish Palestinians, in 1948, established the state of Israel and declared themselves Israelis ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'"). During a war which started immediately subsequent to the creation of Israel, the Israelis took back some of the land the U.N. had meant for a second Arab state, however, "the Arabs of Palestine ended up with nearly 85% of the original territory of Palestine" ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'"). Despite having the majority of the initial land called Palestine, the Arabs continue to attack Israel and will not be satisfied until they take over all of it ("History of Israel & 'Palestine'").
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Sudan, the largest country in Africa, was initially a bunch of smaller nation-states until Egypt took control over the northern areas, while the south remained under control of indigenous tribes ("A Short History of Sudan"). A religious leader, Abdallah, was able to unite the tribes of western and central Sudan but this nation-state fell in 1898 to British-Egyptian forces ("A Short History of Sudan"). The two nations jointly ruled Sudan but in 1953, determined to slowly move the country towards self-rule ("A Short History of Sudan"). Full independence was granted to Sudan on January 1, 1956.

Throughout it’s short history, Israel has possessed a parliamentary democracy (Karmon and Peretz 10). A parliamentary democracy is a form of government in which the people elect members of Parliament and then the majority party in the Parliament selects the leader of the nation, known as the Prime Minister. The Parliament in Israel is known as the Knesset and the current Prime Minister is Ariel Sharon (“Middle East: Israel: Government”). There is no written constitution, however there are “a number of basic laws [that] serve together as the fundamental law” (Karmon and Peretz 10). This type of government has been quite stable during the years of its use in Israel. The government of Israel has stated that its goals include, but are not limited to, “achieving peace with all our neighbors, while safeguarding national and personal security … creating conditions for a free, thriving economy and social welfare … promoting values of the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, while maintaining a proper balance between the will of the majority and the rights of individual and minorities” (“Guidelines of the Government of Israel”). The government, which set high standards and held to them, making Israel one of the most egalitarian societies, has recently begun to cut welfare benefits, despite unemployment being on the rise, throwing many into poverty (Hirschberg).

Currently, the government of Sudan is an authoritarian military regime (Parker 6). This type of government attempts to control many aspects of its peoples’ lives and will not tolerate political dissent. Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir led a military coup in 1989 and took the position of president, which he has maintained since, although starting in 1996, popular elections have been held (“Africa: Sudan: Government”). Bashir won the election in 1996 and also 2000, however it is thought the 2000 vote was rigged (“Africa: Sudan: Government”). The government of Sudan has not been very stable. Throughout the country’s history, civilian and military regimes have led several coups changing the leadership of the country each time, but always failing to end a civil war between north and south (Parker 6). The constitution has been suspended following some of the coups and most recently was suspended in December 1999 (“Africa: Sudan: Government”). The Sudanese government has also not protected the welfare of its peoples. It allows a civil war to rage on between the mainly Arab north and the Christian and ethnic tribal south (Sherman 1). The numbers vary depending on what source one looks at, however, a low-end estimate according to Steve Sherman is that there are “over a million dead and many millions more displaced”. Another result of the civil war is the resurgence of taking captive black Africans and forcing them into slavery (Jacobs).

Israel possesses a market economy. This type of economy is a free-enterprise economy ruled by the laws of supply and demand. The country’s currency is the new Israeli shekel (Israel). The nation is unable to produce enough grain to supply its needs, however, is otherwise self-sufficient in the production of food (“Middle East: Israel: Economy”). This is an impressive accomplishment considering that according to the CIA World Factbook, only about 17 percent of Israel’s land is arable. Major imports include “uncut diamonds from South Africa, fuel and lubricants, and consumer goods” (Karmon and Peretz 9-10). The top exports are “machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel” (“Middle East: Israel: Economy”). Something that probably every country strives for, “Israel’s imports usually exceed exports in value” (Karmon and Peretz 9). The projected inflation rate for 2003 is 2.8 percent, down from the 2002 estimate of 6.5 percent (“Market Profiles: Israel”). The projected 2003 unemployment rate is 10.7 percent, a .3 percent increase from the 2002 estimate (“Market Profiles: Israel”). The GNI/PPP per capita of Israel in 2002 was, in U.S. dollars, $19,260 (“GNI per capita 2002”).

Like Israel, Northern Sudan also has what would be considered a market economy. However, Southern Sudan is more of a subsistence, bartering economy (“Southern Sudan: Monitoring…”). The Sudanese dinar is the currency (“The World Factbook: Sudan”). A mere 7 percent of Sudan’s total land area is arable, which is perhaps why two of its leading imports are foodstuffs and wheat (“Sudan”). Other imports include “manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, and textiles” (“Sudan”). The main exports are oil and petroleum products, but cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, and sugar comprise a good portion of commodities exports (“Sudan”). According to the CIA World Factbook 2002 estimates, Sudan exported more than it had imported. The 2002 estimate of inflation rate was 10 percent and the estimate of the unemployment rate was 18.7 percent (“World—Countries Sudan”). The GNP/PPP per capita of Sudan in 2002, in U.S. dollars, was $310 (“Sudan: Country Profile”).

Probably the most significant asset of Israel is its relationship with the United States. The 2001 estimated amount of U.S. aid is $720 million. The U.S. also supplies state-of-the art weapons to Israel. Israel’s most demanding challenge is to increase the level of security for its people. The Arab-Israeli conflict was sparked by the creation of Israel and has continued since. Peoples in the nation of Israel, whether they are Jewish or Arab, live in constant fear that perhaps today is the day they will die because fanatical Arab Palestinian suicide bombers target Israeli citizens (Harris). Even after a cease-fire agreement, there was a suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus, killing 22 people (Karmon and Peretz 28). Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestinian National Authority, stated on September 2, 2003 that the “road map”, a relatively new proposed peace plan for the Middle East, was now dead (Karmon and Peretz 28). This puts Israeli leaders into a difficult position. They must now try to defend their citizens from random Palestinian acts of violence without any end in sight. To help accomplish this, Israel has begun construction on a defense wall, which in many areas will be a high chain-link fence with surveillance cameras and border patrols (“Israel’s Security Fence”). It will be an actual concrete wall only in select hot spots, where Palestinian snipers shoot at cars along one of Israel’s main roads (“Israel’s Security Fence”). The defense wall will work in the short term, but Israeli leaders will have to work towards peace with the Palestinian Arabs or face whatever imaginative new threats the Arabs come up with next.

Sudan faces many challenges. One large issue that may soon be resolved is the civil war between the government of Sudan in the North and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army of the South. One of the effects of the civil war has been famine in the Southern areas of Sudan, however the Sudanese government has recently allowed food aid to be delivered to the peoples there (Parker 10). Bashir has stated within the past few months “that he hoped to reach a final peace settlement with southern rebels before the end of the year” (“Sudanese President Aims…”). Another issue is Sudan’s precarious relationship with the U.S., who “officially considers it a terrorist state” (“World—Countries: Sudan”). The U.S. bombed a factory in Khartoum which allegedly was involved with terrorist activities and probably would not hesitate to bomb any other active terrorist locations (Parker 7). Poverty is a concern with the GNP/PPP per capita at a mere $310 (“Sudan: Country Profile”). The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is also a problem, with 2.6 percent of the population from age 15 through 49 living with the disease (“Sudan: Country Profile”). Sudan’s leaders are taking steps in the right direction by trying to end the civil war. Once the country is more stable, it will be possible for the leaders to attack other problems.

This research paper has already addressed the similarities and differences of Israel and Sudan politically and economically. Now, it is time to turn to other facets of each of these nations. Israel has a temperate climate, and is hot and dry in the southern desert areas (“The World Factbook: Israel”). Sudan has desert areas as well, although they are located in the north, with a tropical climate in the south (“The World Factbook: Sudan”). Plains, mountains and desert characterize both countries (CIA World Factbook). Compared to the United States, while Israel is only about the size of New Jersey, Sudan is a little over a quarter the size of the entire country (CIA World Factbook). Israel is the less populous of the two, with a mere 6.1 million people to Sudan’s 38.1 million (CIA World Factbook). In Israel, about 80 percent of the population is Jewish and the majority of the remaining 20 percent is Arab-Muslim (“The World Factbook: Israel”). Meanwhile, Sudan is ethnically 52 percent black and 39 percent Arab and religiously 70 percent Sunni Muslim and 25 percent indigenous beliefs (“The World Factbook: Sudan”). Israel has a much more developed infrastructure than Sudan, as evidenced by more paved roadways and superior communications (CIA World Factbook). Israel is also a much more literate nation, with the literacy rate just over 95 percent to Sudan’s 61 percent (CIA World Factbook).

In summary, Israel is a democratic, capitalist, highly developed nation. Its main concerns are the Palestinian National Authority and the repercussions from the Arab world for any potential act of violence against Arabs. Israel is a key nation in the world at this time. It is the lone democracy in the Middle East, the only “Western” nation. Israel cannot take the side of the Western world in any conflict of the area, lest it face the wrath of surrounding Arab nations. To help settle the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis, the Israeli government must at least pull its people out of what are considered the “occupied territories” and hand that land over to the Palestinians. Israel may also have to give up some of the land that is now part of their country so that the Palestinian Arabs can have a nation of their own. A one-country solution probably will not work due to the possibility of the Palestinians Arabs taking over a majority in Israel so that the Jews lose their Jewish state.

Sudan is ruled by an authoritarian regime, possesses market and subsistence/bartering economies, and is a much less developed nation. Its major concerns are ending the civil war, U.S. relations, famine, poverty and HIV/AIDS. Sudan is making great strides to improving itself. Civil wars cause much strife and destruction and with an end to it in sight, the nation will be on the road to recovery. Leaders will be able to turn their focus to other issues. After ending the civil war, the next most important thing for Sudan to do is cut all ties to terrorism and get itself off the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations. If it were to do this, the U.S. would probably be much more willing to aid the country, and with the help of America, Sudan will have a slightly easier time pulling itself out of the other problems.

Neither of these countries have an easy road ahead of them. Many difficult, challenging issues face both Israel and Sudan. Both stand to lose some of their nations’ land, a hard thing for any country to accept. Peaceful acceptance will be needed to further the well-being of both Israel and Sudan.


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Research Paper on Jackie Robinson

Research Paper on Jackie Robinson

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives," this is a very true statement that Jackie Robinson said. He played a big part by changing many other black’s lives. He encouraged many blacks to follow in his footsteps, which was having the courage to break the color line in major league baseball and having a great athletic ability which still and will be revered by the game’s followers.

His courage and persistence helped his get by the hard times to the better times. He also relied on his mother’s strength, love, and attention. His keys to success were to not let all the racialism get to his head and make himself stop playing baseball, and he had the ability to stand up to injustice without compromising his personal integrity and beliefs. With those keys in mind, he never let verbal assaults get to him, from home and visitor games. He didn’t stop playing because other teams were after him and spiked him, but life threats probably did scare him, but didn’t let it get to his head. Once when he was to play in Cincinnati, he received a life threat that he shouldn’t come otherwise they would kill him. The FBI investigated and nothing happened during the game. He continuously got hate mail and other threats like getting his baby kidnapped, but nothing actually happened. Many times fans yelled name at him, one time a game in Baltimore, Maryland many fans yelled racial slurs at him for nine straight innings. Many other incidents happened. At a game in Indiana he was pulled from a game because of a law prohibiting interracial athletes. During another game an opposing player threw a black cat onto the field and yelled at Robinson that the cat was his cousin. The worst behavior he ever heard from the crowd was when a torrent of mass hatred burst from the stands with every move he made and managed only one hit. During the time he was on the Royals, Jackie had suffered from nearly all white crowd in Louisville, but when the series went to Canada, that Canadians released a boo every time a Louisville player stepped up to bat. Jackie didn’t approve this retaliation, but felt a great sense of gratitude. The Royals went on to winning the Championship because of the crowd’s support. That was probably the only time Jackie was loved from the crowd.
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This is probably the main reason Jackie Robinson is so famous, he was the first black to play in major league baseball and to be accepted, which encouraged other blacks to follow him. Branch Rickey should also be thanked, for letting Jackie be on the team and helping him get through the hard times. Branch Rickey, the Dodger’s president, told Jackie, “This is baseball’s great experiment.” Mr. Rickey made Jackie promise not to fight back or talk back, but instead shrug if off. After Mr. Rickey proposal Jackie Robinson responded, “If you want to take this gamble, I will promise you there with be no incident,” On April 15, 1947 he hit for a first time in major league baseball and did a very poor job, so people started questioning Jackie’s ability. After Jackie gained confidence, he started playing outstanding baseball. Many people, black and white, came to watch him play baseball, steal homes, and hit home runs. He got many people interested in baseball. The Dodgers won the National League pennent, and Jackie placed first in stolen bases, second in runs scored, and tied for first for home runs, 12. The newspapers, which doubted Jackie in the beginning, now said that “baseball’s great experiment” had been a great success. He did such an outstanding job, so the paper named him Rookie of the Year. Branch Rickey admired him because he kept all the tension in for two years.

“Robinson had performed his pioneering role with courage and dignity.” Now Rickey told Jackie that he was on his own and could speak his mind. After Jackie spoke about his social and political beliefs to a nationwide audience. “I can’t speak for 15 million people any more than any other person can, but I know that I’ve got too much invested for my wife and child and myself in the future in this country, and I and other Americans of many races and faiths have too much invested in our countries’ welfare, for any of us to throw away….. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop fighting race discrimination in this country until we’ve got it licked. It means we’re going to fight it all the harder because our stake in the future is so big.” Afterwards he became praised for his affirmation of American ideals and because of that he became a more popular player.

In 1949 Robinson showed his very best by finishing the season with a .342 hitting average, which was the highest in the league. He led the league in stolen bases, 37, and placed very high with many other records. He was nearly perfect defensively, like a vacuum cleaner sucking up ground balls at second base. His story became so famous that they made his life into a movie and make a Jackie Robinson watch. Now in major league baseball he has been accepted by most, but not all.

This is around the time he received a life threat, which was the 1950 season. During that year he finished with a .328 average for baseball, the best in National League. Whenever he was interviewed, he always told the truth and said very meaningful things, and he was and still is know as one of the most outspoken athletes of his generation. Many blacks followed after him, but still racism held many back. During the 1953 season he continued to be a star batter with a .329 average and scored 109 runs. After he continued to play many more fantastic games, but his body was beginning to slow down. In January of 1957 he retired from baseball. Jackie got into politics and in 1962 he became eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame which is the highest honor a baseball player can receive, he received it because he make a significant contribution to the game. He made his last pubic appearance at the ceremony at the Dodger Stadium to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his first major league season, his body was deteriorating, but he still walked across the field for the last time to watch his number retire, 42, on October 24, 1972. He left behind a legacy of great accomplishments, his amazing athletic ability and he was the pioneer for blacks to play major league baseball and he did it by having the courage to face the prejudice.


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Monday, September 27, 2010

Research Paper on Kate Chopin

Research Paper on Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin was an author who was underappreciated by those in her generation. Much of this was due to the fact that she was a contemporary author, who primarily wrote about women’s sexuality and their roles in the world. Two prime examples of this writing style are her short stories “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby.” While these two works do share some similarities there are also vast differences and a few parallels from Chopin’s own life. A brief look into the settings and themes of the two stories along with Chopin’s biographical information aid in portraying this.

The actual settings of “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby” are the first instance where the two stories differ. In “The Story of an Hour”, the entire piece takes place in Mrs. Mallard’s home or the scenery outside the house. In fact, the outside scenery plays an important role to the story, paralleling the new spring with Mrs. Mallard’s new found freedom. Where as the inside of the house does not play as major of a role, not even revealing what room Mrs. Mallard was in when she was notified of her husband’s passing (Hicks, 2). In “Desiree’s Baby”, the main factors of the setting include the Louisiana Bayou, the gates of Valmonde mansion, and L’Abri, a vastly larger group of settings than the prior. As in “The Story of an Hour”, one setting is described more clearly and most of the story takes place there, L’Abri. The homestead is described as making Madame Valmonde shudder at the first site of it and it being “a sad looking place…..Big solemn oaks…branches shadowed it like a pall” (Chopin, 1). The description of L’Abri foreshadowed events to come and symbolized the relationship of Armand and Desiree. Even though the two stories do not share a setting you can see the similarities that there is some obscure background with one major setting paralleling the main character in some way. This, in part, could be due to Chopin wanting to have a writing style of her own, but I also think the storyline the two main characters, Mrs. Mallard and Desiree, benefited from concentrating on the one main setting. Largely, because this setting was a reason of conflict in the characters’ lives.
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In the same way that the settings shared likenesses and differences, the plot and theme of the two stories also do. The plots of “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby” obviously have to be different for the most part. In “The Story of an Hour”, the plot is a woman who finds out her husband is dead and after an initial shock, she feels free to finally live her life. However, when she has finally come to grips with all of the events and looking forward to her new life, her husband comes in and she dies of shock and a pre-existing heart condition (Chopin, 77-79). In “Desiree’s Baby”, the plot involves a woman named Desiree. As a child she was abandoned, and taken in by the Valmondes, but as a woman fell in love with Armand, a wealthy plantation owner. They get married and have a baby together, and after a short lived bliss come to find that the baby has African American heritage. Armand turns against Desiree, assuming she is the one with African blood in her. As the story goes on, Desiree kills herself and the baby, only for Armand to find out he is the one who actually has African heritage (Chopin, 1-5). These two plots at first glance do not seem to share anything in common, there is one gleaming through, the women’s relationships with their husbands. Both women do love their husbands, but the relationships are not on an equal level. In each case the woman is looked upon as a possession. Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts were “There would be no powerful will bending her.” She openly felt controlled, while Desiree did not seem to care about the controlling attitude on Armand, which is shown in the line “When he frowned she trembled, but loved him” (Chopin, 2). While it is evident that the plots are for the most part different, one woman relishing the loss of a husband, and the other so fearing abandonment from hers that she kills herself, the themes are quite similar. The theme of the two stories, also shared with many other works by Chopin, is women in search of themselves (Korb, 1). Mrs. Mallard, from “The Story of an Hour”, can see her life finally beginning after the death of her husband, as illustrated by the line “Free! Body and soul free!” (Chopin, 79). She was looking forward to a life by herself, getting to know herself as an individual. Desiree, on the other hand, was searching for an identity, or herself, from the beginning when Monsieur Valmonde found her at the gate. While the Valmondes did take her in she did not feel like she had an actual identity until Armand gave her his name and she became his wife (Korb, 1-2). After it became evident that the baby had black blood, and the identity she had as Armand’s wife was taken away, she could not handle the idea of finding a new identity. Another similarity shared by Mrs. Mallard and Desiree is their death, in both instances provoked by their husbands. The similarities and differences are important because while people might be experiencing the same thing in real life, their attitudes towards it may not be the same along with the outcomes, which could have been a goal of the author’s.

As stated earlier, many of Chopin’s works concentrate on women trying to find themselves, and in these two cases after the ending of their relationships with their husbands. When reading the biography of Chopin, there is a striking similarity with “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby” in particular. Kate O’Flaherty met and wed a man named Oscar Chopin around 1869. She lived a happy life with him and had five children. This was to be a short lived happiness though, when Kate was only thirty-six year old, her husband died of swamp fever. While she loved her husband dearly, it is believed that she only first begun writing after her husband’s death (Kirszner & Mandell, 77). In a way this resembles the way that Mrs. Mallard only thought her life was beginning after her husband’s death. On the other hand, she could have been portraying her sense of abandonment by her husband in Desiree’s character in “Desiree’s Baby.” Another reason Chopin writes her characters only release as death is because of the time period she lived in. Divorce was often unheard of or taboo.

In conclusion, while two completely different stories, “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby” do share quite a few similarities. A major one being their overall themes of women trying to find themselves, but one of the main differences being the way that each of the women traveled the path to self discovery and their outcomes. This in a large part could be from Chopin’s own marriage and life.


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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Essay on Bertolt Brecht - playwrite or theorist?

Essay on Bertolt Brecht - playwrite or theorist?

The statements made about Bertolt Brecht as a playwright and Bertolt Brecht as a theorist are both true and false depending on which angle you choose to look at them. His different theories on alienating his audience, ways of staging his plays and using his own techniques of ‘Epic Theatre’ are often not consistent with the plays that he writes. However, he does use some aspects of them religiously. These aspects could be anything from a style of speech to his minimal use of set and props. ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ (1939) and ‘Life of Galileo’ (1938) are two of his famous scripts that are a perfect example of his plays rejecting his theories.

‘Epic Theatre’ was Brecht’s solution to realism. He believed that “realist dramatic forms are based on artificial and unnecessary restrictions.” He fought to break away from these systems by using a looser narrative and not be tied down to realism’s concept of limited space and time. This meant that he would make all of his plays set in the past rather then the present or future. “Brecht saw drama as having a didactic purpose.” He also likes to emphasise to his audiences that what they are watching on stage is not real. When acting using the ‘Epic Theatre’ methods the actor’s role is to present the character to the audience without becoming it. One method of acting that Brecht absolutely rejected was the Stenislavski method of emotion memory. Emotion from an audience was something Brecht never intended when producing and writing his play’s and yet he has been know to say “a theatre that can’t be laughed in is worth being laughed at”, and isn’t laughing an emotion.

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Neither ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ nor ‘Life of Galileo’ have any of Brecht’s theories written into the scripts themselves. Therefore it can be assumed to a certain degree that he understood that other directors might not use his ideas when reproducing his plays. In Galileo we can see that an immense amount of emotion would be put in to the character. For example, in scene fourteen Galileo says to Andrea about science;

“Welcome to the gutter, brother in science and cousin in betrayal! Do you eat fish? I have fish. What stinks is not my fish but me. I sell out, you are the buyer.”

And on the emotion goes. Now with lines in a play such as these it would be hard for any director or actor to not portray these characters realistically but that’s exactly what Brecht was on about, stepping out of the norm. Comparing the two scripts we can see that the story of Galileo is more about him as a person then the propaganda contrived by Mother Courage.

When staging his plays, Brecht had a few main principles that he did actually stick with. They are that throughout a performance the house lights must be kept up so the audience doesn’t get caught up in the action on stage and again knows that the action is not real, and also that the props, set and scenery should be kept minimal and representative only.

One aspect associated with Bertolt Brecht is his theories of alienating his audiences to make them see things in new and different perspectives. He believed that realism is what we have become accustomed to and therefore enstranging his audiences. In ‘Mother Courage’ there are examples where emotion gets the better of her and therefore the audience is alienated because Brecht would have portrayed this scene in an unemotional way.

“The fault lies with those that start wars, it brings humanity’s lowest instincts to the surface.”

After studying ‘Mother Courage’ and the ‘Life of Galileo’, a strange sense of understanding in the way that Brecht proposed theories becomes a bit clearer. It is not so much that he wants his audience to see things his way, he is just trying to get people to brake out of the norm which, in this case, is very hard to do. He wants us to “see things in a new light.” The statements made that Brecht the playwright and Brecht the theorist are very different are true to a curtain extent. He wrote plays in a curtain style and he had theories of another style but maybe the two where not meant to go together at all but were written with separate aspects of Brecht that he needed to express for “the greater good.”

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Fall of the House of Usher Essay

The Fall of the House of Usher Essay

Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher demonstrates romanticism throughout the entire story. This story, like all of his short stories is written in Gothic literature. First of all, the tone is gloomy, dark and threatening. Then, the events that take place are strange, melodramatic and evil. Romanticism is included because imagination becomes a reality and a cultivation of emotion and sensation takes place.

The setting of this story is a big, old, dark, and scary house. Poe uses the setting to enhance the plot. Living in the house is its owner Roderick Usher. Roderick is experiencing physical and emotional illness, and he and his sister (whom also is ill with a rare disease) are the last line of the Usher family. The narrator, whom is a good friend of Roderick, moves into the house to add more excitement into the story. Both the narrator and Roderick question whether the house and its vicinity are naturally unhealthy. The setting itself seems to infect the characters.

To me, the House and the family that lives inside of it is the same thing. This adds to the Romanticism because the house is falling just as the family is.


Gothicism is also evident because the treatment of a lady (Madeline Usher) is gruesome and violent.

With Romanticism and Gothicism obvious in the story, all that is left is the Sublime. The Edmund Burke quote, “Darkness is more productive of sublime ideas than light,” fits The Fall of the House of Usher perfectly. Although all Edgar Allen Poe stories are dark and scary, this one is a great example the Sublime. When Madeline gets buried alive and comes back to Roderick bloodstained and broken, and Roderick dies of fear, the sublime of the story is complete.

The illness of this story, as well as all Poe stories demonstrate the theme of science verses superstition. The dramatic adventure, high-flown sentiments, exotic setting, and cult of the past, build up the Romanticism included in the story. The physical collapse of the house at the end makes the reader wonder whether the entire story is a supernatural phenomenon or whether it is merely a tale of scientific coincidence. Nobody knows for sure if Madeline actually fought her way out of the tomb for several days, or if she is a ghost that both men see. Poe does a terrific job of including the sublime into this story.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Analysis of Early Algonquian Fur Trade Essay

Analysis of Early Algonquian Fur Trade Essay

Fur trade between Algonquian Native Americans in the North East, and early European settlers can be seen as the beginning of the end for the Algonquian way of life, both culturally and physically. As European tools and weapons were introduced to these Native American peoples, Algonquians began to abandon there their own specialized methods of hunting, harvesting, and garment making. As seen in the film Ikwe , just as beaver furs were popular with Europeans, rifles became popular amongst the Algonquians.

During the 1500 and 1600’s, spring fur trading amongst European settlers and Native Americans began to take off. With the help of trading posts and middlemen, usually Native Americans themselves, European settlers traded mass-produced goods such as rifles, clothing, tools, and food with the Algonquians. In turn Europeans would receive a predetermined amount of furs and hides which Algonquian tribes had hunted and collected over the previous winter. Trade between tribes and settlers weren’t without their share of double-dealings. In Ikwe, the viewer is enlightened as to how the middlemen would use the language barrier between the Algonquian and the settler to their own advantage. Since the middlemen were usually the only people who could speak both English and the Native American tongue, they would often negotiate the trade to benefit themselves more than they had originally planned. Algonquians were not necessarily always taken advantage of. If they were offered a better deal by a different group of settlers, then they were free to end the trade with the previous group in order to trade with the better offer. The fur trade era also perpetuated competition between tribes for European goods and led many tribes to distrust one another.
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In Salisbury’s “Manitou and Providence”, the reader learns of the “virgin soil epidemic”. As the settlers migrated from Europe to the Americas they also brought along their diseases. In the case of the Algonquians, they came in contact with small pox in a variety of ways. Small pox spread through transmission by a sneeze, cough, sexual contact, and even through garments and blankets that were contaminated upon trade. Since the natives had no previous exposure to such diseases their immunity to them was virtually null. The spread of small pox was rapid and seeing as there wasn’t a cure many Algonquians perished. Tribes were decimated as elders, and children fell ill, and eventually succumbed to the pox. The settlers on the other hand were not as susceptible to the pox as the Algonquians. The spread of small pox had a negative effect on the fur trade. With fewer tribesmen to perform the hunting and skinning during the winter months many tribes lost out on trade with the settlers. This also meant fewer tribesmen and women to gather food and preserve the culture and heritage of the particular tribe, which may have eventually led to the demise of the tribe as a whole. On the other hand, settlers were able to find other Algonquian tribes to trade with.

As the years went by, the language barrier between the Algonquians and settlers began to diminish, and so did the need for “middlemen”. Trading posts began to spring up and down the river valleys of the North East U.S. and Montreal. Eventually the trading posts began to give way to small towns and villages of settlers. This did not bode well for the Algonquian natives, as the towns were in close proximity to the occupied Algonquian territories. Relationships between the natives and the settlers were strained. Puritans saw the natives as savages that lacked Christian belief, and the ability to live within the confines of law and order. As the fur trade industry began to die down in the late 1600 and early 1700’s, so did the settlers tolerance for the natives. Minor skirmishes amongst the two cultures eventually turned in to full-fledged battles/ bloodbaths as seen in the “Mystic River Massacre” , in which several hundred Pequot, mostly women, were slaughtered by British troops.

Over the course of roughly two centuries, the Algonquian natives were robbed of their culture, land, and heritage. This was the product of what early on appeared to be a friendly, mutualistic relationship with early European settlers. Once the settlers had little use for the natives, i.e. the demise of the fur trade, they began to acquire their land usually through force. With the onset of small pox and no steady supply of guns and ammunition the natives were doomed. Through the course of the fur trade natives had become too dependent upon European goods for survival, which led to their eventual demise and displacement.

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Analogies of Writing Essay

Analogies of Writing Essay

The writing process can be viewed in a variety of different ways, depending upon what angle each and every reader chooses to take. Writing can be one of the most beautiful things that one has ever seen, or writing can hurt to look at. Some everyday things that can be used to describe writing are washing clothes, playing cards, and playing hide and seek.

Writing is a lot like washing clothes in many different ways. While writing, a certain amount of particular types of words or sentences must be used to create particular environments for the reader. If words are mixed together that don’t belong together, the writer could cause this technique to fade into the minds of unsuspecting readers as an acceptable technique for writing. Too much or too little of certain techniques may cause the writing to break down, just like a washing machine would break down after too many times with too much or too little laundry. If writing using just the right amounts of sensory details and sentence structure, the writing process will all come out clean and pure in the end.

Writing is a lot like playing cards. Like playing cards, many different styles of writing may be used to obtain an optimum result. Depending on the outcome the author wishes to achieve, he may free write, write poetry, or even write using an essay style. In the game of cards each player wants to win, just like in the game of writing the writer wants to win over readers.

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Writing requires much thought and concentration with each and every added part. Writing may be simply to entertain the reader, as a game of “go fish,” or writing may be to fight for a cause and win supporters, like a game of poker is for winning.

Writing is a lot like the game of hide and seek. Writers are sometimes “hidden” with their works and never discovered by a “seeker.” For example, Shakespeare wrote some of the most beautiful pieces of writing ever, but in his day and time he was not discovered by any “seekers.” Also, to succeed in writing one must not use the everyday cliches but must be inventive if he wants to attract readers, just as a hider must find new and more creative places to hide every time in order to remain a hider. A writer must use every trick he knows in order to eventually reach the “base” and have a complete work.

As you can see, the writing process is very versatile. Different writers all have different ways of formulating their writing. Some writers spend amazing amounts of time making sure their writing is just like they want it to be. Others write for entertainment or just because they have nothing better to do. There are writers all over that are hidden from everyone and are waiting for someone to come along and check out their works. Writing will always be used to demonstrate everything we know and will never cease to exist.


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

"A Beautiful Mind" Essay

"A Beautiful Mind" Essay

In the movie "A Beautiful Mind", the main character, John Nash, is an extremely intelligent person. During his days at college, he spends most of his time making mathematical equations and theories involving everything from pigeon movements to probabilities of getting girlfriends. His amazing work allows him placement for any job in the world. He later begins to work for the government as a code breaker for the military. He meets a government official named Parcher and he begins to work on top secret government information. He later marries a woman named Alicia and continues to work for Parcher. Alicia begins to question his paranoid behaviors involving his work. He is taken by Dr. Rosen to a psychiatric ward where Dr. Rosen notices that John is seeing people that don’t exist and finds that he has schizophrenia. John’s code breaking job turns out to be just inside of his mind. He receives treatments and medicine for his disease but he later continues his job for Parcher after he stops taking his medication. Alicia finds that he is continuing his job and John sees for the first time that the people he’s seeing aren’t real. He goes back to the ward and learns how to deal with his hallucinations and continues his life teaching and sharing his mind.
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This movie is a very good reenactment of schizophrenia and the symptoms it causes. The movie creates a very realistic perception for viewers on how the hallucinations of the person can be very real. The movie also shows how this disease can affect everyone around you also. Much stress and responsibility was put on the wife to take care of the patient. This story is very realistic and it shows that this disease can happen to everyone, including geniuses.

The behaviors of John Nash were very diverse depending on environments and situations he faced. At times, John seemed like a very normal and intelligent person while he was breaking codes and studying. At other points when he was having hallucinations, he seemed very paranoid and definitely showed signs of a mental disorder. His speech became more stuttered and his facial expressions were much more dramatic.

His behavior was caused mostly in part of the hallucinations he was having. The hallucinations were very real and serious to him, causing him to panic when he was faced with Parcher especially.

Some of the methods used in the movie to calm schizophrenia are still used today. The doctors gave him pills to take to help reduce the symptoms of the disease like hallucinations and bizarre behaviors. The doctors also administered shock therapy, giving him shots of insulin to force his body to go into shock, causing violent convulsions. John was also forced to learn how to deal with his hallucinations, which was probably the best treatment of all. The other procedures were given to lessen the symptoms of the disease, but learning how to deal with the problem was the most important to living a normal life once again.


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Essay on Is Lemuel Gulliver Mad?

Essay: Is Lemuel Gulliver Mad?

In a very broad sense, Gulliver’s Travels bears a close resemblance to Plato’s allegory of the cave. Lemuel Gulliver is the man who somehow managed to free himself from the shackles. He steps out of the cave and, having seen the sun, he cannot pretend that looking at shadows on the wall is the only possible way of life. What happens at the end of Gulliver’s Travels is just what Plato says will happen to the man who returns into the cave to free the others. He is treated as insane because the others are not able to understand what he now knows, or thinks he knows.

At the end of Gulliver’s Travels the main character, once a typical representative of his culture, has gone through a transformation which leads him to reject that culture in a way that his contemporaries fail to understand. They consider his unaccountable behaviour highly suggestive of mental derangement. From the point of view of his contemporaries, Gulliver really shows some clear signs of melancholia, in the 18th century sense of the term.

In the case of melancholia “external objects do not produce the same impression on the sufferer’s mind as on that of a healthy man” (Foucault, p.92). The melancholic’s impressions are “weak and he rarely pays attention to them; his mind is almost totally absorbed with the vivacity of certain ideas” (Foucault, p.92). Gulliver is so obsessed with the narrow concepts of the Houyhnhnms that he is blind to any facts from the reality which contradict them. His treatment of the Portuguese captain Don Pedro and of his own family is clear indication for his proclivity to ignore even the evidence of his own eyes in cases when it runs counter to the Houyhnhnms’ ideas. As a melancholic Gulliver loves solitude and shuns company when it is possible. His nostalgia for Houyhnhnmland is an occasion for constantly renewed sadness.
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The Houyhnhnms are not ordinary horses. They are talking thinkers. At least Gulliver imagines that they talk to him. It is not very clear how the two English stallions he buys learn the language of the Houyhnhnms and how they manage to understand him “tolerably well” (Gulliver’s Travels, p.339). Perhaps he just hears voices in his head. This is often considered to be a sign of psychosis but, actually, there is nothing unusual about this phenomenon. We usually call it our conscience. The belief that others can hear the voices in one’s head is psychosis, as is the belief that they belong to another person or animal. This might as well be a hallucination on Gulliver’s part.

The unity of body and soul is not necessarily dissolved in madness. However, in Gulliver’s case it is. He abhors his Yahoo body and regards it as a limit imposed upon his soul. He is not able to accept this limitation and to give up his illusions because he cannot find a substitute for them. As a human being, Gulliver is not a Houyhnhnm or Yahoo but a complex and inseparable mixture of passions and reason. He claims that he has control over his passions and, in fact, he usually does. But not always. The desire to become a horse and the hatred towards the Yahoos are the only passions that he cannot cope with. “The distraction of our mind is the result of our blind surrender to our desires, our incapacity to control or moderate our passions” (Foucault, p.85). In this sense, madness is nothing but absence of reason. It is sometimes defined as lack of cognitive ability. Since Gulliver is convinced that he is not a rational creature and does not possess the faculty of reason, he should as well believe that he is mad. The Houyhnhnms have no idea of mental diseases but Gulliver has – he discovers “the true seeds of spleen” (Gulliver’s Travels, p.311) among the Yahoos. Madness is an inevitable consequence of the process of civilization. It is unfamiliar to the Houyhnhnms. Yet the very enumeration of some of the inventions of human civilization is enough to give the noble horse “a disturbance in his mind, to which he was wholly a stranger before” (Gulliver’s Travels, p.294).

Throughout his visit to Houyhnhnmland Gulliver does his best to become one of the Houyhnhnms by learning their language, listening to their conversations and by implicit obedience to their orders. The result of his eagerness is that even the horses acknowledge his superiority over the rest of the Yahoos. It turns out that a mental shift from Yahoo to Houyhnhnm is not impossible. But he finds it impossible to change the shape of his body, much as he should like to. Gulliver’s desire to become a horse is the visible manifestation of his madness. Its cause is his abhorrence of the Yahoos. Since Gulliver believes that there is no other alternative for him except a Houyhnhnm or a Yahoo, he makes his choice in the Houyhnhnm’s favour. In the pursuit of the horse-shape he goes to extremes such as neighing and trotting like a horse. This is a perfect opportunity for some critics to make him out a lycanthrope.

A lycanthrope is a human being believed capable of transforming himself or herself – or of being transformed – into an animal. A sub-category of lycanthropy is the so called “hippocantropic melancholia, the delusion of being a horse” (Fox, Ch., Literature and Medicine During the 18th Century, p.111). According to Christopher Fox Gulliver is a lycanthrope simply because he imitates the “gait and gesture” of the horses. Gulliver really wants and even attempts to metamorphose himself into a horse, but imitation of the animal is not necessarily an indication of lycanthropy. Moreover, he is well aware of the fact that he is not and cannot be a horse. He might be mad, but he is not a lycanthrope.

Another widespread delusion is the one that Lemuel Gulliver has been mad all the time, from the very beginning of his travels, and that the travels themselves are the product of his madness. Michael Seidel, for example, argues that Gulliver’s Travels are “the fancy of homebound lunacy” (Seidel, M., The Cambridge Companion to 18th Century Novel, p.80). He suggests that Gulliver “never leaves England” (ibid, p.80). He is not the only one who formulates this hypothesis. Christopher Fox’s opinion is quite similar: Gulliver’s deranged mind has made him imagine all that he experienced. He “mistakes his dreams for true histories and real transactions”, and “seems to be confused over whether he is remembering or imagining” (Fox, Ch., Literature and Medicine During the 18th Century, p.112). These two authors are tempted to account for Gulliver’s madness by means of his hallucinations and, vice versa, to present his hallucinations (i.e. the Travels) as a consequence of his madness. There is no enough evidence for this hypothesis in Gulliver’s Travels. It is a matter of fact that Gulliver is mad, or more precisely, a melancholic, but he goes mad after his voyage to the Houyhnhnms. He is a rather sane person before that. At the very beginning of Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift intentionally devotes a few pages to convince the audience that Gulliver is a typical representative of the European civilization. He is naĞ¿ve and his knowledge is limited but he is far from being an eccentric, extraordinary or imaginative person. It is impossible to ascribe the transformation that takes place in his mind to any peculiarities of his character.

Lemuel Gulliver’s obsession with the virtues of the noble horses is not an acute case of melancholia. In fact, his madness is a quite relative notion and in no way unquestionable. Merely having beliefs in strange things, or even firmly believing that you have experienced incidents that science says cannot be true is not, by itself, a mental derangement. There are many people in the world who believe in impossible things, such as Christians and many other religious groups. If that was all that is required to declare someone insane, then we should have to say that the majority of the world’s population, for the most of the years of the existence of the human species, has been insane.


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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Essay on Biofeedback Training and Self Regulation

Biofeedback Training and Self Regulation Essay

The human mind and body are linked at the most basic level of cause and effect. When something happens in the mind, something will change in the body. When something changes in the body, something will change in the mind almost instantaneously. The measurable output of such information is called biofeedback. These scientific facts are the foundation for the creation of one of the most powerful personal development and health care tools. (Amen) For decades, scientists have researched the many aspects of biofeedback and the ability to train the brain to manipulate the biofeedback of the human body. Some believe the aftermath of such training brings about changes in many health disorders and solutions to problems, ranging from depression to an athlete simply trying to enhance his or her performance. However, the issue of just how effective and reliable this training is has been a source of much conflict. The following questions, which are to be discussed in the sequential paragraphs, represent both the agreements and disagreements of the researchers of biofeedback:

1. What is biofeedback?
2. How can one skill treat so many diverse problems?
3. How can something that works so well, and have such acclaimed results, not be more prevalent?

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What is Biofeedback?

A simple definition of biofeedback would be any psychophysiological information about our body that is measurable. These include blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. Biofeedback training, however, is the topic of discussion of this paper. Biofeedback training is the use of instruments to feedback psychophysiological information to a person. The information is called “psychophysiological” because psychological processes are carried out in physiological ways. (Green and Shellenberger) The instruments of biofeedback are designed to monitor, amplify, and feed back diverse biological processes including: heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, blood flow in the hands and feet, and brain waves. The biofeedback trainee or patient is then able to use that information to make changes in those processes. This information is useful in order for the patient to become conscious of, and voluntarily create, the physiological and psychological states that produce the desired physiological change. The important element of this training is that the patient or trainee is conscious. Consciousness is vital for such self regulation, and the information that is fed back is vital for consciousness. (Selye)

Analogies are often used to give clearer detail of the process of biofeedback training. One analogy relates the training to a mirror. Like a mirror, the only requirement of the instrument is that it provides the true reflection, useable and accurate information. Perhaps the most important similarity to a mirror is, the biofeedback instrument alone has no power to create change. Therefore, the human who is undergoing biofeedback training must use this “mirror” to control the process that is “reflected.” (Friedman and Rosenman)

How Can One Skill Treat So Many Diverse Problems?

Biofeedback training is the process of gaining control of self regulation, with of course the aid of information or feedback from our body. In order to ensure that biofeedback training is successful the patient needs have the following: goals, positive reinforcements for obtaining such goals, the appropriate instruments, and the feedback of information. Biofeedback is used to teach people to take more control over their health. It does this by making them become more aware of unhealthy behaviors, such as tensed muscles, constricted blood vessels or hypertension, over-reactive nervous system activity, rapid heart rate, respiration or sweat gland activity, or exaggerated, upsetting thoughts. (Charlesworth)

Biofeedback devices focus on body behaviors so that people get more information than their normal sensory awareness gives. Skills and strategies to increase self awareness and control are practiced by the individual in much the same way that a musical instrument is. After much practice the skills become automatic reflexes. The end result is a more stable, more normalized physiology and mind body interaction. Normally the use of drugs is gradually weaned under the supervision of the physician.

Although biofeedback training is pretty generalized there are many branches of it, which are more specialized for the different parts of the body and brain. These include: EMG muscle biofeedback, which measures the electrical activity created by muscle contractions. It is often used for relaxation and performance training, stress and pain management. Thermal or Temperature biofeedback uses temperature sensors to detect temperature changes of the extremity usually on fingertips or toes. It is often used to train people to quiet the nervous system arousal mechanisms which produce hand or foot cooling. It treats things such as relaxation, stress and pain management, arthritis, and anxiety. EEG biofeedback or Neurofeedback, is the fastest growing field of biofeedback, and trains the central nervous system. It feeds back brain electrical activity, or brainwaves. Popular uses for this are ADD/HD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, closed head injury, optimal functioning, creativity and peak performance, anger, Autism, and more. The last type SCL/ GSR/ EDR (Skin Conductance Level/ Galvanic Skin Response/ Electrodermal Response) measures the activity of the skin. Parts of it are based on sweat gland activity. This measure is very useful for relaxation and stress management training, and is also used in bilateral mode for ADD/HD. It can also be very useful with hypnosis. (Charlesworth)

How can something that works so well, and have such acclaimed results, not be more prevalent?

“The current medical model is based on a band-aid approach—fix and repair what’s broken.” (Green and Shellenberger) The biofeedback model, on the other hand, teaches people to become aware of and maintain a healthy state, using self control. Skills acquired with the aid of biofeedback continue to be used long after they rid themselves of the symptoms. The current medical model, as said by Green and Shellenberger (1986), drugs a problem or surgically removes it. The idea of re-setting a person’s nervous system and other body systems to a new, healthier level and maintaining them through trained skills is not generally used in medicine, except for a few areas where physical exercise is recommended. The health care system is organized so that doctors who perform surgery or get paid to medically manage a person on medication lose income if they make referrals to biofeedback or the thought of self regulation. The concept of biofeedback aiding stress reduction is not accepted by many health insurance companies.

Biofeedback research is criticized because it is not doing studies like drug studies. These studies are called double blind studies. Double blind studies require that the patient and the therapist not know which treatment or placebo is being provided. When the treatment requires training for increased patient awareness the double blind concept becomes impossible. For example, if you want a tennis player to hit a ball, the player needs to know how to make the swing. A double blind study might try to prevent the player from seeing where the ball went after it was hit, or it might prevent him or her from knowing if the ball was even hit. The information is part of the learning process. The same standards have been repeatedly applied to biofeedback research. According to Dr. Charlesworth (1984),

“M.D. research panels with serious conflicts of interest have repeatedly set research standards which blindly treat patients like laboratory rats. The problem is not in the lack of double blind studies. The problem is that double blind studies treat people like laboratory animals without minds, without the ability to take responsibility for their behavior. This symptom of the paternalistic medical model which assumes the patient will play a minimal role in his or her care—one of the reasons the character strengths of self responsibility and self reliance are eroding in the U.S.”

“The mind body connection is an incredibly powerful one. Biofeedback and self regulation have evolved as scientific approaches to utilize the potential for making the mind body system a resource in the health care equation rather than an ignored, irritating variable to be managed with drugs” (Middaugh).

Biofeedback and self regulation may be the answer to many health problems. Scientists and researchers have debated for many years whether it is totally accurate to give biofeedback training such credit. After all, it only allows a human to take control of what is already going on inside the body. Perhaps Elmer Green explained it best when he said, “We have not been informed that our bodies tend to do what they are told if we know how to tell them.”


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Essay on Ideology and Hegemony Definitions

Essay on Ideology and Hegemony Definitions

Ideology

The neutral and general working definition of ideology is a system of beliefs and characteristics of a class or group, which constitutes their group consciousness. Sometimes referred to by Marxists as a false consciousness. Gramsci says this is open to resistance and interpretation.

Marx also states that the ideas of the dominant class or group are promoted as universal but actually work against the interests of inferior groups. (Power and resistance in media lecture)

One of the key features of Marxist theory is the materialist belief that social life determines consciousness. According to this belief, ideological positions are related to class positions, and the dominant ideology in society is the ideology of the elite class. From this view the mass media distribute the dominant ideologies. The reasons being that those who own and control the media are in fact the dominant groups. According to supporters of Marxist political economy the mass media conceal the economic basis of class struggle; ‘ideology becomes the route through which struggle is obliterated rather than the site of struggle’ (Curran page 26)

Louis Althusser, a French philosopher of Marxism rejects the notion of ‘false consciousness’ and believes that ideology is the medium through which we should view the world. (Curran page 24)

The operation of ideology in mass media in the West contributes to infrastructure of the capitalist system according to Althusser, the dominant ideology of a certain society i.e. capitalist industry continues the current mode of production within it and the economics of capitalism are not questioned. This is because it is seen as ‘common-sense’ or ‘natural’, therefore it is impossible to be free of ideologies. (Althusser, page 233)
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Media and cultural industries such as TV, film, radio, magazines, music, newspapers and the Internet produce a representation of world so we can understand how the world is and why it works. However the media are not uniformly or conspiratorially organised to promote a single sexist or racist conception of the world. They do not just express a unified "ruling class" conception of the world as stated by Marxist philosophers. There are internal contradictions among media representations and narratives about gender and race. Although it is easy to see, even with the contradictions, that certain dominant images and ideas recur and are reinforced, while other images and ideas are marginalised or excluded. Another Marxist theorist, Antonio Gramsci, questions the theory of ideology being put into place purely through ‘false consciousness’. Gramsci felt that dominant ideologies achieve consensus through a process of struggle and negotiations. (Introduction to Film Studies lecture, Laurie Ede)

Hegemony

Antonio Gramsci, an Italian (1891-1937), was a leading Marxist philosopher.

Unlike Althusser he believed that economic connections with ideology were not evident, and insisted that each topic should be studied separately. Gramsci further rejected the ‘materialist’ stance and sought to offer a humanist Marxism, which focussed on human subjectivity. Gramsci used the term 'hegemony' to show the dominance of one social class over another. If a social group can be persuaded to accept the ideology of another group then hegemony is established and the hegemonic group can dominate or control the other group. This indicates the ability of the dominant class to project its own way of seeing the world so that those in the lower classes accept it as ‘common-sense’ and ‘natural’. “Common-sense is the way a subordinate class lives its subordination”. (Geoffrey Nowell-Smith)

However unlike Marx, Gramsci’s key belief is centred on ‘struggle’. “Common-sense is not something rigid and immobile, but is continually transforming itself”. (Gramsci)

According to Gramsci, it is in the interests of those wishing to establish control to gain the consent of those it wishes to control. Gramsci understands hegemony as cultural and ideological, as it is the area in which dominant groups sustain their power through the consent of the lower class groups.

For Gramsci, the origins of hegemony lie within the culture of capitalist institutions, for example mass media, popular culture and the family. In recent years the increasing concentration of financial power within big business has seen all the major mass media enterprises being concentrated into a small number of owners. This way they are readily able to promote consumerism and capitalism as the only way of life. This is also true of the Western ‘Democratic’ system. As politicians can only reach voters by using the mass media controlled by the big businesses, they must adhere to their terms and conditions to receive a favourable review. Therefore the Western political system must be viewed as a hegemony and not in actual fact a democracy.

The media companies are extremely effective at using hegemonic processes to void alternative viewpoints or threats and this certainly includes the ability to void extreme political parties and leaders. Though it is argued all views are never entirely silenced but they are merely reduced to tokenism and patronisation.

However the media are only as powerful as the public allows it to be. A machine created for the people by the people; the media are responsible for delivering messages through areas of interest is how some see it. People who are dragged into a realm of believing and trusting the media are the ones at risk of being dominated and influenced by the values of others. Recent debate such as genetically modified crops or asylum seekers are examples of which the media can strongly influence people’s beliefs. Many people are adamant that genetically modified crops or ‘Frankenstein Foods’ can cause severe problems merely because of media influence, even though there has been no conclusive evidence to prove this.


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Warning!!! All free online essays, sample essays and essay examples on any writing topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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