Shawshank redemption resistance of dominant ideology.

The film “Shawshank Redemption” is an American classic that has topped the IMDb’s top movies list since 2008. Despite it’s positive ratings, the movie completely failed at the box office upon its release in 1994 (it had a production budget of 25 million dollars yet the domestic total gross only got up to 28 million after 3+ years) . I believe that the cause of this is the political opinions of critics (there will be more detail on this in the next paragraph) during 1994 and the slow/long pace of the movie. The movie tells the story of Andy, a banker who was wrongfully accused of murder. He is thrown into a prison and is forced to adapt to this environment. The movie is a critique of the American justice system and its treatment of inmates and prisoners, Most stereotypes on prisons display them as a place where only the strong survive. This setting of extreme violence gives people the idea that most prison inmates are the worst people on the planet which is a subtle strategy of dehumanisation. 

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the justice system was focusing on a new threat of men of color coming from the inner cities and lower income residential districts. This made the justice system focus on extreme strictness on law breakers which led to the skyrocketing prison populations and the mass incarceration of criminals, no matter the severity of the crime. The movie did not fully describe prisons at the time of the release date (for example, the movies prison population was mainly made up of white/caucasians) but it was still a criticism of corruption in prisons. Despite this, public support for being “tough on crime” was high at the movies release date and most people did not care about the inhumane treatment of law-breakers because of the common belief that this kind of harsh and difficult treatment was necessary for rehabilitation (spoiler: it was not). Since it was a movie critical about the justice system in an era when people wanted tough on crime policies, a movie humanizing criminals was bound to have some negative critics. 

The other reason this movie did not do well in the box office is because people are less interested in slow paced emotional movies. Prison movies especially are often made to show  violence and action between prisoners in a theme where only the strong survive. In addition to this, prison is a relatively unknown place to most ordinary civilians (and movieviewers) so media and movies created the general opinion that prison is such a horrible place. This may explain why the existence of prison in a film is often also the location where violent action happens. The shawshank redemption, despite fully criticizing the use of violence, abuse, rape, and psychological torture in the prison environment, unlike some other films does not make the audience focus on these harsh aspects of the story. It still showed how it could happen, but instead of completely focusing on these things (like most action movies would), it still focuses on the main characters great achievements. This made the movie unique but also extremely unconventional when comparing it to most prison films. For example, midnight express, another popular prison break film, shows a man sent to prison for reasons that are unfair, yet this movie made back much more money than shawshank. I believe this is because because unlike The Shawshank Redemption, which criticizes the united states prisons, Midnight Express criticises turkish prisons and a foreign government, making it much less controversial in hollywood upon its release.  The story of Shawshank Redemption may have simply been too new of an idea in the film industry to have the overwhelming success that it has now. 

The movie criticizes multiple points about prison: the cruel treatment of inmates, the corruption of authority figures in the prison/justice department, and the ways in which the prison exploits others for its own benefit. Throughout the film the audience is presented with the following: two deaths caused directly by the guards and warden, food in the prison cafeteria filled with worms or maggots, prisoners are not being given the resources to properly rejoin society, (this leads to one of the characters to commit suicide once he leaves prison due to his lack of experience or knowledge with the real world), severe beatings by guards, and torture by use of solitary confinement. The movie also shows a warden who uses the people in his prison to gain money. This is especially obvious in the case of the main character who is almost forced to help the warden and the guards financial situations once they discover he has skills in banking. Andy later has evidence for his innocence and demands to have another trial but the warden does not let him because andy is the one person who is aware of all the bribes and financial transactions the warden has received over the years. Despite all of these horrible things and events, the movie somehow manages to divert our attention from them. While the events of the film create a negative opinion towards multiple characters, the movie almost always moves past these dark moments and show the audience how Andy cleverly solves all of the problems he encounters. This is how the film resists dominant ideologies of the time when it was released.

Dark Souls 3’s Relationship to Mental Health

In a society that values power and achievement, young people sometimes struggle to find their way to those outcomes. As a result studies show increasing incidents of mental illness among youth. According to a federal study (Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2018),  depressive episodes among teens rose from 8.7% to 13.2% between 2005 and 2012.

Dark Souls 3 is a fantasy role playing game made by FromSoftware. Having sold 13 million copies, the game has a cult-like fan-base. At the 2017 Game Awards it  was nominated for four different awards, including Game of the Year. 

Many popular video games today are power fantasies, meaning they enable players to embody characters with powers greater than their own, empowering them to accomplish unimaginable things. Rather than elevate its players, Dark Souls in stark contrast, makes its players feel weak and insignificant. While power fantasy games speak to the gamer masses, Dark Souls provides a refuge for  the 20% of youth (NAMI, 2019) struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

 Dark Souls is known for its extreme difficulty and its dark and depressing tone. Many of its themes reflect the thoughts and feelings of people with mental health issues like depression. 

This paper highlights the darkness and tragedy shared by Dark Souls and those experiencing mental illness. In addition it exposes the stigma of mental illness and how that plays out in our social structures. Finally, it illustrates how the game offers players relief by providing possible coping mechanisms useful when dealing with their real-world mental illness.

The main objective in Dark Souls is for a player to perform an act called the “linking of the fire.” Successfully “linking the fire” lifts the curse of the undead, but only for a time. So just like the tragedy of mental illness, “linking the fire” is a dark, daily grind that never fully disappears. The flame like mental health challenges ebbs and flows. The character you play as is called an unkindled. Unkindled are people who had previously attempted to link the fire, but failed and were burnt to ash. The fate of the unkindled is analogous to the way many people feel about depression. People with mental illness often experience anxiety, insecurity and a sense of never being good enough. A Dark Souls character, Hawkward the Deserter echoes similar sentiment when he suggests “We unkindled are worthless…And they’d have us seek the Lords of Cinder…We’re not fit to lick their boots,” referring to the Lords of Cinder, responsible for linking the fire.   

During Dark Souls players often fight alone, perpetuating a sense of being isolated and weak with seemingly endless waves of enemies trying to kill you. There is almost nobody left in the world who is sane, and players only company are horrifying creatures. This pervasive sense of isolation while playing Dark Souls mimics the isolation and social exclusion felt by  many people facing mental illness. According to Oliver Drakeford Therapy 80% of teens report feelings of loneliness, and nearly a third of teens report these feelings as persistent and painful. 

Historically, society has placed a stigma on people with mental illness. Despite our growing understanding of it, many negative views of mental health issues still stand. Media in many cases contributes stigma against mental illness, by perpetuating fears that people with mental health issues are dangerous. Media reports often link mental illness with violence, or portray people with mental health problems as criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives. That said, other forms of media, such as video games like Dark Souls offer opportunities to educate, raise awareness and increase support for those with mental illness.  Overcoming hardships is an essential part of the game. The game’s mechanics encourage players to face their troubles. During the game players face monstrous beasts that seem impossible to defeat. And when a player is victorious, the game rewards him/her with a sense of overwhelming accomplishment and the words “Heir of Fire Destroyed” is blasted over the audio track, increasing the player’s strength. 

Furthermore, Dark Souls also gives players the opportunity to seek and receive help from others. In game, you can use things called summon signs to get help from others in order to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. These summon signs only appear when another person playing the game decides to take the time to help somebody else.

Dark Souls connects many of its themes to mental health issues today. Of course it’s not the only work of culture to do so. For example, the book Still Life Tornado by A. S. King reveals the struggles of a teenage girl, Sarah, overwhelmed by the challenge of an abusive home life. In addition, the movie Frozen, introduces a main character Elsa who believes her ice powers make her a bad person. So she creates a life of isolation to keep herself from feeling anything. Finally, an online community called The Mighty (themighty.com) surveyed it’s more than 2-million members who all face mental health challenges, about songs that helped them deal with depression. Mental health is a serious issue facing young people today. Fortunately, many elements of our culture, like music, books, movies and video games offer avenues for teens to learn more, find coping strategies, and discover they are not alone.

Cultural Analysis of “Boys Among Men”

Boys Among Men, a New York Times Bestseller, has an overview of how NBA players that were drafted out of high school had their own story and experience and changed the NBA. Written by Jonathan Abrams, the book was released was in 2016. The book displays a message that says, High School basketball players should attend college before going professional into the NBA. This period lasted from 1995-2005 where it was very popular and still talked about today. The biggest stars who were known for being drafted out of high school during that period were: Kevin Garnett(1995), Kobe Bryant(1996), Tracy McGrady(1997), LeBron James(2003), and Dwight Howard(2004). The book promotes the dominant ideology that going to the NBA out of high school is a big risk and without college, it would be hard to fall back on something for someone if something was to happen to them.

High school basketball players should be removed from high school 1 or more years before going pro because of many risks that would be taken while making the decision. Every athlete is not going to be a star but the big stars had their own success. My thesis explains how every basketball player is not guaranteed success when they skip college.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/03/boys-among-men-and-the-nbas-high-school-boom/474483/

The Mind of Sherlock Holmes: The Man Society Doesn’t See

By: Hunter H.

The famous BBC television show Sherlock, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, became a great success in the UK and then throughout other countries. Airing from 2010-2017, the show would win 21 awards, including seven Emmy awards. The show brought the books of the Sherlock Holmes series, by Arthur Conan Doyle, into the marvelous modern life, adding more drama and twist. Benedict Cumberbatch, would win multiple awards for playing the role of Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman, another famously talented actor, would play Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes fan-base would increase, more Sherlock books would be sold than ever before and the show would receive highly rated reviews. But as the popularity of this British television show would increase, no one would look into the true personality characteristics of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes would break all the stereotypes of the “ideal man.” and even though society would like it or not, he would become the most well-known fictional character since 1887.

The show would dispose the stereotypes of the lead male role, becoming the hero who always gets the girl at the end, but Sherlock holmes is portrayed in the opposite way. Sherlock was given the personality of a sociopath, a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience. Sherlock is not given the ideal standards of how a stereotypical man in production films and tv.

The first thing to notice in the show about Sherlock Holmes, is his lack of wanting romantic or sexual connections with anyone. Sherlock Holmes would always pay attention to his work and to his partner, Dr. Watson, which gives some evidence to him being asexual/aromantic. But the major evidence to this subject is in the episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia”, which introduces the very flirtatious dominatrix character, Irene Adler. Irene Adler would have a fond over Sherlocks Holmes, trying anyway to flirt with him, but there would be no romantic interest of response from Sherlock Holmes. Another character who has flirted with Sherlock Holmes since the beginning of the show would be Molly Hooper, a co-worker of Sherlock Holmes who worked in the morgue of a hospital. Molly Hooper would show signs of bashful flirting to get Sherlock’s attention, but Sherlock would never really pay any mind to Molly’s acts. 

Sherlock Holmes style of behavior would be seen as alienated or freakish to the eye of society. Sherlock would never have a “normal” conversation, always saying what’s on his mind, which would most likely be brutally honest to the people he is speaking to. Sherlock would have some traits of narcissism, but would never take the credit while working with Watson.  The bond between Holmes and Watson is very close, but society believes its too close. In most of the episodes of season 1, there would be jokes of Holmes and Watson being in a homosexual relationship. The stereotype of a close bond between two people only has to be a relationship and not relationship does not help reality of society because it makes people assume that a close friendship is right away a relationship just because they were laughing together during a conversation or more intimately they would hug. This is a problem in the media today, having people be naive enough to believe that there is a relationship between two people just because they hugged. . .

Sherlock Holmes is one of the many show/book series that presented a male that is known for being socially awkward. Other show/movie characters are Scott Pilgrim from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. 

Angels Are Everywhere

Chance the Rapper is a very popular musical artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He is a strong advocate from African Americans and the people that are struggling currently in the heart of the city. Chance produced his 3rd album in May of 2016, Coloring Book. This album won Best Rap Album at the 2017 Grammy awards and was an inspiration to many. A popular song that came out of the album, was ̈Angels¨. The song talks about Chance ́s life and the atmosphere in Chicago. His perspective is very positive and powerful revolving current ideas about Chicago about how African American citizens are presented as a threat.

The music video and song is going against the ideology that African Americans in Chicago are dangerous/unsupported. Chance and another singer, both of whom are black, talk about how  ̈I got angels all around me¨. This specific line in the song speaks about how Chicagoan may not the dangerous and demeaning people they are brought out to be. When Chance says, ̈Clean up these streets so my daughter can have somewhere to play,¨ he speaks about how everyone, no matter where they are from, all have the best intentions at heart. 

In conclusion, the song Angels, by Chance the Rapper is a true story to chance ́s perspective because it demonstrates the idea of how people are not these dangerous beasts living in Chicago. People are all trying to live life and raise their kids in a positive and safe world. However, it’s easy to look blindly at Chicagoans as very unethical and morally wrong. In this story, there is no moral and the point is that everyone is just living and surviving in the world but it may just be seen in different ways. 

The Incredibles 2 and Breaking Dominant Ideologies

In The Incredibles 2, the main characters are the mom, the dad, the daughter, the son, and the infant. The main story is continued from the first movie where the family takes down a giant robot before it destroys the city. This film has followed the trend of breaking the stereotype of the “American dream” where the family functions well and the father works and the mother stays home. 

The mother is invited by some million dollar corporation to fight crime because the CEO believes superheroes could change the world. The movie breaks the ideology of the man being the breadwinner, and the mom staying home. The father is forced to stay at home with the kids. As the dad struggles to keep the kids on track with schoolwork and relationships the mother is out in the city saving people and fighting crime. While the mother is out she worries her husband is having trouble. At one point in the movie the dad cant keep track of the baby because he is teleporting around the house. This shows a stereotype of fathers being bad at managing home life

This movie breaks the dominant ideology of the mother staying home. The women being dominant also applies to the Hunger Games where the main character is focused on survival and is not worried about anything else.

The ideologies behind “The Hate U Give”

Over time the American culture has been seen as many things, but there are good and there are bad. A big discussion in American culture that is often neglected is the talk about racism and how it is still at work today. My artifact is the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book shows a different side of the story, which is often pushed to the side to make the white man look good. This book talks about how even though the world thinks we are all equal, we clearly aren’t. This book talks about how the killing of a black man is justified by the protection of the white cops and the issues everyone is talking about. This reflects resistance against ideologies by showing racism is still a big part of our country. Most other ideologies are about black men selling drugs, black men and women doing drugs, black men being a danger to the society, and black people being THUGs. Thomas supports and rejects ideologies against black males and females. 

Thomas supports the ideologies that black people are dangerous, that black people are thugs, and that black people sell and do drugs. She supports these ideologies by showing all the riots the black people start and how they lose control of themselves and start breaking and messing up the environment around them. She shows that black people are thugs because of the gangs and gang wars that go on within the story. Ms.Thomas also supports the ideology that black people sell and do drugs when she says in the story that one of the main characters name Khalil is selling drugs. She also supports the ideology that black people do drugs when she says in the story Khalil’s mother was doing drugs along with half the town. 

Angie Thomas rejects some ideologies such as all black people do drugs, all black people know what they are doing and sell drugs because they want to, and that black people are poor because they don’t do what they need to do to succeed, and that black people are dangerous, and that black people are thugs, and the She rejects the ideology that all black people do drugs by showing the families fighting to get the drugs off the streets of their hometown. She also rejects what I think is the most dominant ideology which is black people know what they are doing but they just choose to sell drugs. Thomas proves people wrong and rejects that ideology by taking us through the life of people who struggle. For example, in the story two main characters were talking Starr and Khalil. Khalil walks into the party with new clothes “looking good” as the ladies at the party says and Starr asks him how he got the money for all of that stuff he had and he says “ I took on a new job” meaning he was selling drugs for the biggest ganglord by the name of King. What Starr didn’t know and later found out was that Khalil’s mom stole from King and the only way to save his mom from being killed was to sell for King. What most white Americans don’t seem to realize or want to realize is that black people are living in a world made to go against them/us.

Yes I do understand that there are very famous black people out there that are rich, but whenever someone brings that up they never ask such questions as: What did that person have to endure to get to where he is? What hate was shown towards him? What racism did that person face just to be accepted? How many times was that black person knocked down? And how many times did they have to get back up? There are many things black men and women have accomplished and i will say many are recognized for that, but the one thing that is truly never recognized is the journey it took for them to get there. Another major Ideology that Ms.Thomas rejects is that all white people understand or know when they are saying something racist. She shows this in her story when Starr and her friend Maya get into an argument because Maya was saying racist comments but didn’t understand what was wrong with what she said. She says that she feels bad for the cop being hated on and his family for killing Khalil, but the bad part about that was that she never once mentions Khalil’s family. She told Starr maybe Khalil deserved to die. I think this rejects the ideology that all white people know what they are doing because Maya clearly didn’t know what she was saying was wrong. That just showed how racism is taught at home and how it’s being passed from parent to child in every generation.

Most people use THUG as an abbreviation. It was originally said by Tupac “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone” This can mean so many different things to so many different people but to most black people it means whatever the world set us up with or gave us as kids is what we give back when we are older. That means the hate, the anger, the feeling of being singled out and hunted. These ideologies have been used and spoken of for a while but most never listened. This book was written to all people. It was written to the black people to show that they aren’t in the wrong for any protest they want to do. But it’s also written to the white people to show that this is what goes on in the real world, and that we have a chance to stop it but it’s up to all of us as a whole. Although some ideologies are supported, many others are rejected. We can clearly see that some ideologies still remain out there but it’s time for the younger groups to step up.