Theme Study: Unit Standard 8834 Theme: Discrimination Exemplar E: Credit introduction



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Theme Study: Unit Standard 8834

Theme: Discrimination

Exemplar E: Credit
INTRODUCTION
Introduction identifies:

  • key aspects of the theme investigation

  • texts chosen


In this study, I have investigated how several texts have explored the theme of discrimination. The individual has often been discriminated against, disadvantaged or judged in some way by the society that they live in. The texts I have decide to use in this report are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dare, Truth or Promise, Blade Runner, Othello, Malcolm X’s ‘The Ballot or the Bullet’ speech and a talk by a mental health expert, Dr Murray Cameron.
Section heading identifies first key similarity to be discussed.

SIMILARITY 1:

DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Similarity discussed in second text, supported by a specific detail.


Similarity discussed in first text, supported by a specific detail.
The novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Dare, Truth or Promise are similar in that they both show how gay individuals are discriminated against by society. This prejudice has resulted from society's lack of understanding and not accepting someone who is different. We can see this in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with the gay character Harding. Throughout his life he is unable to conform to society's idea of `normal.' He was married, and even unsuccessfully attempts to discuss his marriage in the therapy sessions in hospital. This shows the pressure society places on him to conform, because he knows that he will not be accepted if he is open about his sexuality. In Dare, Truth or Promise similar discrimination can be seen through the individual Louie when she falls in love with Willa. Louie's mother thinks it is just a stage that Louie is going through and that the feelings for Willa will eventually go away. She cannot understand how her daughter can be homosexual and be unable to change. She also thinks that Louie's `situation' will reflect on her parenting and will affect her reputation instead of worrying about her daughter's happiness. The discrimination that Harding and Louie face is due to society's lack of understanding that people are unable to choose their sexual orientation.

SIMILARITY 2:

DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF NON CONFORMITY

Section heading identifies first key difference to be discussed.


Similarity discussed in second text, supported by a specific detail.
Section heading identifies second key similarity to be discussed.
Similarity discussed in first text, supported by a specific detail.
Blade Runner and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are also similar because they both illustrate how societies are not very empathic to individuals that do not fit in. In Blade Runner the androids are not accepted into human society and are denied the right to live for more than four years even though they are essentially no different to the humans. This is shown when Deckard is given permission to kill the androids and does so without hesitation. Similarly, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the patients are locked away in a mental hospital so that society doesn't have to deal with them. Those who voluntarily isolate themselves in the hospital choose to stay there because they are unable to conform or fit into society. We can see this through the character Bromden when he describes society's pressures as the "combine" and he is unable to live his native American style of life because of these modem pressures. With these two novels we can see the lack of empathy for those individuals who do not readily conform to society's ideas or want to live their lives differently.

DIFFERENCE 1:

RESPONDING TO DISCRIMINATION

Difference discussed in first text, supported by a specific detail.


The characters Othello and Malcolm X are different as they respond differently to racial discrimination from their societies. Both Othello and Malcolm X face racist comments and restrictions because they are black. Malcolm X becomes more powerful and more opinionated throughout his life because of his experiences of racism. This develops his determination to protest for black identity and fight for his beliefs. In ‘The Ballot or the Bullet,’ he describes himself as “just one of the 22 million black people who are victims of Americanism.” Malcolm X is proud of his ethnicity, whereas Othello becomes ashamed of who he is. At the start of the play Othello is noble, proud of being black and seems in control even when faced by racist accusations from Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, that she had “run to the sooty bosom of a thing such as thou.” However Iago manipulates Othello, or as he puts it “led by the nose as asses are,” by suggesting Desdemona is unfaithfui and part of a white Venetian society that Othello does not understand. This eventually destroys not only Othello’s faith in his new wife but his confidence in himself. He becomes confused and insecure about being a black individual in a white dominated society. This difference in the way that Malcolm X and Othello react to racial discrimination could be because Malcolm X is able to protest and join together with other black people for support, but Othello is a foreigner in Venetian society. This means that he feels isolated and become insecures about himself.

Section heading identifies second key difference to be discussed.


Difference discussed in second text, supported by a specific detail.


DIFFERENCE 2:

A CHANGE IN APPROACH

Difference discussed in second text, supported by a specific detail.


Difference discussed in first text, supported by a specific detail.
From the speech that a local mental health expert Dr Murray Cameron gave and the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, we can see how differently mentally ill patients in our society are now treated compared to fifty years ago. The way the patients are treated in each case reflects society's views at that time. The treatments depicted in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest shows patients isolated in the mental hospital so they have no contact or interaction with the outside world. They are kept under strict rules by Nurse Ratched and are controlled by their fear of the hospital staff. For example, Nurse Ratched gives electro convulsive therapy to the patients for punishment instead of purely for therapeutic reasons, as happens to McMurphy when he challenges the system. With this lack of freedom it is impossible for the patients to be integrated back into society because they have not been cared for effectively. This is a great contrast to modern day treatment. Dr Cameron explained that half-way houses are an effective tool for re-integration of acutely mentally ill patients into mainstream society. Along with modern pharmaceuticals and sensitive, sustained counselling, they give people a greater chance to recover. This end result is that patients receive effective care and are gradually re introduced to society instead of being pushed to one side. The difference between the care that Dr Cameron described and the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest received show how much our society has changed. We can see from the patients described in the novel that 1950s society was very repressive and discriminatory, whereas today's society is more accepting of people’s differences.
Conclusion incorporates evaluation.
Evaluation determines value / interest of theme study.

CONCLUSION AND EVALUATION

After studying the theme of discrimination this year I have found that society is not very tolerant or accepting of those individuals who do not conform. I have realised just how much pressure society places on individuals to `fit in' or else face being excluded from society altogether, as we see with the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I think that it is a lack of empathy and knowledge about the individual's situation that can keep society's view on what is acceptable so prejudiced and narrow minded. However, I now know that the fear of being exposed to something new and different is enough to keep society without the knowledge that it needs to be able to recognise and understand that not everyone should have to conform or is able to conform. This is a vicious circle and it appears that although society is becoming more tolerant, there will always be those individuals who are discriminated against for one reason or another.
© Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand (First published 1998)







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