The Civil War is a cornerstone event in American history. Beyond its obvious political relevance, the culmination of the war influenced American society, economy and culture. This essay will argue that the rapid industrialization following the war gave rise to two major features of national identity: American capitalism and American culture.
One could identify 3 major aspects of industrialization during and after the era of Reconstruction. In terms of geography, the North-South divide that politically and culturally separated the country had ceased to exist. This is not to say, however, that there were no misgivings between the two groups of citizens under auspices of the united nation. The era also saw more frequent waves of immigration and settlement on the mid-west and eastern states of the union. This reconfigured the population distribution, which erstwhile was concentrated on New England and its environs.
The exhaustion of the war, ironically, created an . . . Read More
Dear Mother and Father,
Humanity is mad! This is the truth that my experiences at war have taught me. We attribute such noble qualities as valor, patriotism, justice and morality with motivations for war. But whatever may be the ends of war, the means through which it is accomplished is highly questionable. During combat fellow human beings are turned into mere targets to be struck down. It strikes me as absurd that I am obliged to kill my German brethren merely because they were wearing a different uniform. After all, the differences between the troops in combat are nearly all superficial.
Tell me, what is it that separates us and German soldiers? They too were nurtured, schooled and raised with civil values that we provide our children. When they grow into adults, they show the same chivalry toward women that our young men do. They embrace the institution of marriage and take up family responsibilities like our men do. But the mere fact of being born on the other side . . . Read More
Avatar is a multi-faceted film with rich scope for interpretation and analysis. It could also be fitted into various story-telling traditions like oral, folk tale, legend, etc. While the plot development and cinematic exposition lend themselves to association with any story-telling format, it is most easily related to the traditions of legend. The rest of this essay will elaborate on this view.
One of the remarkable qualities of Avatar is its grand narrative scale. The story and the numerous participant characters combine to make it quite an epic. Oral traditions normally convey supernatural beliefs and anecdotes. Likewise, folk tales are most conducive to short moral or humorous tales. But for epic battles and profound victories, the format of the legend is the most similar. Avatar’s celebration of heroism makes it equal to the tradition of legendary tales.
And there is plenty of elements and events in the film that support claims of its legendary status. For . . . Read More
What is the Issue?
Oftentimes, decisions within the US Congress are not made in a straightforward, transparent manner. Although elected Congressmen and Congresswomen are representatives of their respective constituencies, multiple external factors influence their decisions. Corporate lobbies are a major external factor intruding on the democratic foundation of the Congress. Likewise, political ideology, as in staunch conservatism or liberalism can play a key role in the decision making process. As the text by Denhardt et. al. suggests, applying Organizational Behavior theories to the working of Congress can help get to the root of the issues. One can then proceed in designing strategies for countering the issues.
Strategies to ‘fix’ the issues
Denhardt et al is show how ‘the power of vision’ is the precursor for the smooth functioning of organizations – be it private, public or non-profit. (p.26) The US Congress will thus have to . . . Read More
The film Shutter Islands holds value for students of psychology, psychiatry and nursing for its portrayal of complex mental illness. The film should be evaluated separately on two counts – first, its entertainment value and second, its relevance to the medical profession. Obviously, the parameters used for the respective evaluations are different. In my view, the film is highly impressive in both these counts. But this essay will focus on the second aspect, and argue that the film is full of key insights into the pathology of delusion and the range of therapeutic approaches in dealing with it.
Firstly, director Scorsese intertwines war-induced mental trauma of Teddy Daniels with personal tragedy of Andrew Laeddis. This compounds the confusion for the audience, but also adds a political dimension to what is an exposition on psychiatric illness. Toward the end of the film it is unveiled how the whole of the Shutter Island is a set up to play along the illusions of Andrew . . . Read More
• How do you compare to the cultures you have contact with?
What I’ve witnessed in Canada so far are sharp cultural differences to my native Saudi Arabia. The most notable difference is how people here enjoy greater freedoms in social life. For example, I see how the handshake is a common manner of greeting among friends, acquaintances or colleagues. Even girls do not hesitate to shake hands with men. This sort of contact is totally forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where it is not only illegal but also considered immoral. Back home, we only see men shaking hands with other men, sometimes perhaps even kiss on each cheek. Likewise women greet each other through hugs or kisses. But any kind of physical contact between the two sexes is prohibited in public places. So it was refreshing to see so much freedom in interpersonal relations in Canada. Another thing I noticed is how public life in Canada is not tied to religious practice. In contrast, in Saudi Arabia, culture is . . . Read More
Despite the film not being Welles’ best work, one could see his trademark style throughout. At the same time Welles’ forte is his experimentation and spontaneous innovation. As a result, the film retains Welles’ fingerprints without adopting previously tried techniques. This is true of both the narrative and cinematographic styles. This essay will argue that Touch of Evil is a triumph of style and technique.
Touch of Evil was promoted as a crime-thriller. However, viewing it in its entirety, it is fair to claim that the film overlaps several genres. For example, there are obvious film noir characteristics, most notably in the visualization of shots. Long shadows, angled lighting on characters, dingy settings, the suggestions of secrecy through mise-en-scene all testify to the film noir spirit. Moreover, the pivotal plot element of a murder (through bomb detonation) is consistent with the genre. While the cinematography is novel in this fashion, the core themes of the . . . Read More
It is self-evident that an individual’s worldview affects their thought, behavior and action. One’s worldview is a major component of personality formation. Of the many parameters that constitute one’s worldview, belief in God is a crucial one. The worldview of a believer is sharply contrasted to that of a non-believer. Apostle Paul expounds on this point in his esteemed epistle addressed to the Romans. In Romans (1-8) he outlines how the worldview of a Christian is shaped with respect to the natural world, human identity, human relationships and culture. This essay will highlight St. Paul’s theological insights into each of these domains, as articulated in the Romans (1-8).
The Natural World
Paul believes how ‘justification’ of the penalty of sin is part of the divine order of things. He sees no marked difference between the divine mandate and the natural order of things. Paul informs the faithful . . . Read More
The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place is a testament to the power of geographic location. Although purportedly an autobiographic work, it is equally a sociological treatise on the themes of ‘rootedness’ and ‘displacement’. Author Mindy Fullilove links these concepts to the process of identity formation. She contends that, on par with culture and language, the place in which an individual grows up, leaves a mark on their identity. The readings perused for this essay also cover the topic of ethnic roots and geographic displacement. The examples we glean in the readings underscore Mindy Fullilove’s thesis of the centrality of place to human identity.
In In Retreat, Fullilove talks about how her parents resorted to living in exclusive ghettos in New Jersey. It was a time when minority communities were suffering under social censures issued by General McCarthy. The inter-communal atmosphere during the 1950s America was far from . . . Read More
James Bond movies are a total entertainment package. They contain action, suspense and an element of romance. In the film Golden Eye, all these elements are very well integrated into a cohesive and coherent plot. Two features have particularly caught my attention. These are its charismatic hero and well laid out plot.
Pierce Brosnan fits perfectly as the lead character. He is charming, handsome and carries himself with a sense of style.
Brosnan’s acting too deserves credit, for playing James Bond is a unique challenge. Not since Sean Connery has a Bond actor captured the imagination of the audience in this fashion. Brosnan brings his own natural personality to bear upon the role of the savvy sophisticated spy.
From spinning around in his favourite Aston Martin to ordering his drink in the inimitable style, Brosnan carries out trademark Bond sequences with grace. The inevitable ‘Bond…James Bond’ dialogue was delivered to great effect.
Ever since Ian . . . Read More