Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Essay on Human Behavior

Essay on Sociological Explanation of the Human Behavior

Through the sociological paradigm, human behavior has its own roots. On the example of male-female relations and stratification process in the society we will see how human behavior determined by these aspects. Social processes are most important in the causes of certain behavior of the person.

As we know social stratification is social inequality in the society, large groups of people, which are united grounding on certain criteria. This tendency develops under the influences of several factors. 

As Wilfred Pareto stated years ago – “every society had stratification, just different by social appearance”. Speaking about forces and factors of stratification I agree with classification of sociologists, who think that there are psychological, sociological, and economical factors.

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Psychological reasons for stratification are: the more people feel sympathy for each other, the more they will socially get closer and otherwise. Others, grounding on psychological aspects state, that each person has a need for self-identification, to feel him/her-self as a part of a social group, to avoid loneliness, which is unacceptable for the psychological health of the human being. Speaking about more pragmatic forces of stratification in the society we can mention objective differences in certain resources’ possession. Some of the researches make accent on such factors, as set of roles, which people use in everyday life, educational level, religious patterns, cultural values. Others refer to such factors as professional prestige, power, and differences in wealth level.  

People of the higher class (politicians as well) tend to organize life in the society according to their norms. Such actions usually cause opposition of lower classes. Trying to implement own visions politicians might oppose themselves to the lower classes, which lead towards the conflict. 

In general a person follows norms of the society not to get lonely and to be approved by his/her social group. A status of the person will not be approved when behaving in opposition to a group – “a leader without followers is not a leaders”. If none knows about person’s status in the society, person will not feel belonging to that status. Possessing certain status person will have a social role. But between them there always going to be norms and expectations of the group, which shape role behavior of the person.

If we will refer to the example of male/female roles today, first thing we can mention is that it grounds on the social norms. Surely it depends on certain culture. For example, western culture seems to create a great amount of norms in male/female relations in the society to avoid even the smallest implies on sexuality. The smallest touch could be interpreted as “sexual harassment”. In other cultures, touches between men and women would be interpreted as casualty. This is the example, which shows the great impact of the cultural norms and values. The same thing – in different cultures there is a different understanding of male behavior or female behavior in the family and in the society. And here we can see the impact of parents, who raise their children, saying “don’t behave like that, you are a girl”, or they say: ”You are a girl, but you are not different from boys”. These kids grow up and behave in a certain way, playing certain role of a “strong woman” or “ever good wife”. Each community has own norms and expectations. And this is a key point which determines how males and females behave and build their relations.

As we can see, social group in a certain way puts the pressure on the person, who has to behave in a certain way not to end up being a derelict, to feel own belonging to a group, which will approve their status or role.
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Barriers to Education Essay

Barriers to Education Essay

Education plays extraordinary role in the development of the human’s personality and lays the foundation for all future life. If well- structured, it inspires and provides desire for future achievements and revelations. On the other hand, it can block person’s ability to discover and create for a long period of time. Education assists not only in changing people’s lives for better, taking into consideration materialistic approach to the matter, but also helps to understand who we are and why we are here. It helps in realizing our inner aspirations, as well as moulds person’s identity, the unique quality that differentiates him or her from the other citizens of planet Earth. But it is essential to realize that bad education and unqualified teachers may just impose behavioral patterns, limiting their personal ability to think critically. This seems to be the only reasonable obstacle for people’s self-improvement through education, but after thorough investigation of the subject appears that race, class and gender also influence quality and essence of the education process.

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If the person feels himself or herself strong enough to overcome obstacles on his or her way to better life, he or she in the long run will definitely get the expected or unexpected gifts. When the person has the vision of the future, or simply has the imperturbable strive to absorbing knowledge, the outcomes can be miraculous. But obstacles can be truly hard to overcome.

Mike Rose in his autobiographic story “I Just Wanna Be Average” tells that his greatest obstacle during vocational education was unqualified teachers, who were not aiming to teach, but just wasted their time pretending to do something in classes. This is how he describes his teacher of Sophomore English: “…Parking cars was his night job. He had little training in English, so his lesson plan for his day work had us reading the district’s required text, Julius Caesar, aloud for the semester”. And after they finished reading, they started over and over again reading different chapters. What was that teacher aiming to? How was he planning to hold students attention and raise interest to the matter. 

There were no discussions, no quizzes, and no compositions, in which students would be able to express their own thoughts and be evaluated. If teachers don’t know what they are doing, they are developing wrong ideas and ways of doing particular things in student’s mind. It is through the teacher’s frame of reference students perceive the subjects, and they should primarily love and be inspired with what they are doing, as only in this case they can inspire others.

While studying in school or college, the education is not the only thing people get in there. The environment has no less importance. Different students, different backgrounds and notions teach the life, how it is in reality. Rose says: “Rely on your own good sense. Fuck this bullshit.” But being among many races and personalities, it is very hard to keep that good sense of your own. And in this the good teacher can help a lot- to see what the person has inclinations to, to inspire go ahead and develop necessary skills. If the person has a sparkle inside, he or she always encounter the right teacher, no matter where.

Adrienne Rich in her speech delivered at the convocation of Douglas College in 1977 “Claiming an Education” opened the eternal question of equality between man and woman in relation to the education issues. First of all, Rich insisted that that whole education process is the intellectual and ethical contract between the student and the teachers, which should remain intuitive and dynamic. 

And what the author pointed out is that there exists a huge gender problem with the education, as women are being excluded from the academic community. As men and women are now studying the same things in the Universities, they are receiving the materials from male teachers and male book authors, and their opinion on regard “history, their ideas of social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health, etc.” Rich accuses the education and sciences in sexist attitudes, as well as male professors who consider teaching in the college for women to be “second-rate career”. She also argues that many teachers have the tendency to eroticize their women students and tend to treat them more like sexual objects, instead of getting maximum ideas from their minds. In education system male-centered tradition is overwhelming and its principles are taken without any critical approach to the matter. Rich insisted upon the equality of attitudes to men and women, and called for “mutual seriousness about women, about language, ideas, method, and values.”

“Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass, as well as Maya Angelou and Shelby Steele raise the other question regarding possible obstacles to education, which I personally consider the most serious ones as they touch the most crucial ideas of human’s freedom. Frederick Douglass tells the story how he was the slave and still tries to learn something new. Actually, the problem was that he couldn’t read and write, but when his mistress taught him alphabet it was the start for his transformation. His owners were against his education, as they considered that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other”. And he read books secretly and “was that of making friends of all the little boys…I converted into teachers”. Douglass was exchanging bread for “more valuable bread of knowledge”. After he learned how to read, he started to widen his world view by reading books each free moment in his life and when he couldn’t be caught by his enslavers. And as far as he read, he began to think a lot about his destiny as a slave and couldn’t stand those painful thoughts and even envied his fellows “for their stupidity”. Then he started to learn how to write and that way wasn’t simple as well, but he finally succeeded.

Angelou elucidated a little bit another side of racial obstacle to education, by describing class differences and subsequent differences in the quality of education. She showed the unjust education system and the difference in the equipment and conditions in schools for Afro-Americans and white people, which were separate, of course.

At the same time “Whose Canon Is It, Anyway?” printed in New York Times on February, 26 1989, proposed the extensive criticism of two personalities William Bennett and Alan Bloom, which the author believe “symbolize the nostalgic return to what I think of as the “antebellum esthetic position”, when men were men and men were white, when scholar-critics were white men and when women and people of color were voiceless, faceless…”. We are all equal, regardless gender, race or class and basically possess the same ability to absorb knowledge, even though do not always have the same opportunities for this.

In the conclusion, I would like to mention When We Were Kings: Documentary of Muhammad Ali as the example of pure belief in changes, in bright future and in own nation. Muhammad Ali was the symbol of dignity and freedom during the peak of his popularity. He was the living legend, proud of who he is and overcoming all obstacles on his way towards the victory. He was the teacher and the master for millions and millions of Afro-Americans. And his actions spoke louder then words to show that there is always place for development for self-improvement no matter who you are and no matter what obstacles the person encounters on his way to success.
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

War and Peace Critical Essay

Critical Analysis on "War and Peace"

A Critical Look Into Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace
In 1867 Leo Tolstoy finished working on his masterpiece War and Peace. When speaking about his novel, Tolstoy admitted that he loved and developed national idea, idea of common people who lived in Russia. The author poetizes kindness, simplicity and morality of people, and it is in people Tolstoy sees the source of morality that is necessary for the whole society (Feuer 1996, 138).

Leo Tolstoy denied the possibility of active influence of particular personality upon the history, as it is impossible to foresee and change the direction of historical events, as they depend on all people and on no one in particular. In his historical and philosophical digressions, Tolstoy envisioned the historical process as the sum which is formed from the numerous amount of arbitrary decisions, in other words of the efforts of every person. The complex of those efforts flows into the historical necessity, which cannot be abolished.

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According to Tolstoy, people masses make history and its laws cannot depend upon the desire of particular historical personality. Tolstoy was sure that there are laws that manage events; they are in majority unknown to common people, though in some cases people can try to understand what is going on. And the revelation of those laws will be possible only when people will be able to turn away from searching of the results in the will of one person, as it is the same situation, as the revelation of planet movement laws became possible only when people turned away from the idea of Earth immovability. The participant of historical event cannot know meaning and value, and especially the result of his actions. And therefore no one can consciously manage historical events, and everybody should obey to spontaneous, unconscious pace, in the same manner as ancient people obeyed doom. And internal, objective meaning of the depicted events in War and Peace tightly led to realization of those consistent patterns (Koornwinder 2007).

In War and Peace common people are history creators: million masses and not heroes and commanders create history, move society forward, and create all valuable in material and spiritual life. And this idea, national idea, Tolstoy proves on the example of War of 1812. Leo Tolstoy denied war and argued with fervency with those, who found the beauty of horror in it. Tolstoy wrote the novel from patriotic standpoint. The war of 1812 in the representation of Tolstoy is the national war and author creates many images of true Russian man, soldiers, whose judgments in general constitute national attitudes. Merchant Ferapontov, for instant, is sure that French soldiers will not be allowed to Moscow, but when he realizes that Russia is falling, there is not sense in saving his possessions and he says to soldiers that they take his goods so that “devils” received nothing. During the period of serious trials, the defense of the native land becomes the common business. All novel’s characters are being checked from this side: whether they are inspired with all-national feeling, whether they are ready for heroic acts, sacrifices and dedication. In love to native land, in patriotic feeling, Andrei Bolkonsky is equal to the soldier of his regiment. But Andrei is not only inspired by the common feeling, but also can express it, analyze, understands the general trends of affairs. Soldiers are expressing their confidence in victory and readiness to die for the native land. Tolstoy aimed to describe the war of 1812 as the fair war, as the historical part in its moral and victorious part finishes in Russia and not a single event at the end of the novel takes place outside the Russian land. This is emphasized with the death of Kutuzov near the borders. There is no necessity in this national hero any more. Invading enemy, aggressor cannot be kind and modest. And therefore it is not obligatory for historians do not have to possess accurate information about the invader- he will definitely be self-assured, proud, feel superior to others, haughty and pronounce loud and empty words. The image of invading enemy is defined only with his action- his invasion. On the contrary, the defender of the motherland is modest, prays before battles and waits for assistance of higher powers and is confident in his rightness. According to Tolstoy, it is useless to oppose the natural events pace, it is useless to try to execute role of the arbiter of people’s fates. During the Battle of Borodino, which outcome was very important to Russians, Kutuzov was not making any orders and only agreed or disagreed with things that were proposed to him. In this resembling inactivity the deep wisdom of the Commander is revealed. Kutuzov knew that the outcome of the battle does not depend on the orders of Commander-in-Chief, on the place, the amount of killed and amount of canons, but depends on the elusive power, which is called the spirit of the troops. And Kutuzov was following this power, was managing it, in the extent it was possible. Kutuzov’s unification with common people makes him for the writer the ideal historical personality and ideal character. Kutuzov is always modest and simple. He is to trying to be superior to others; he is not acting and showing off. Kutuzov’s behavior is natural and author constantly emphasizes his age-related weakness. He is the expression of national wisdom in the novel. His power is in the fact that he understands and realizes what his people are worried about, and acts in correspondence with that knowledge. Tolstoy guessed and chased some true characteristics of great Russian Commander: his deep patriotic feelings, his love to Russian people and hatred to the enemy, his association with soldiers. Kutuzov was connected with common people with tight spiritual bonds, and it was his power (Koornwinder 2007).

There are two ideological centers in War and Peace: Kutuzov and Napoleon. The image of Napoleon is revealed by Tolstoy form the position of national idea. As napoleon was the aggressor, which was trying to enslave Russian people, he was also an oblique murderer of many people, this obscure activity, according to Tolstoy, did not allow him the right for grandeur. Tolstoy dethroned the legend about the Napoleon from the standpoint of true humanism. From the first appearance of Napoleon in the novel, his deeply negative character traits are being revealed. Tolstoy is making is thoroughly, pays attention to each detail, and portrays Napoleon as forty years old, fat and soft person, egotistic and haughty. In description of Napoleon’s morning toilette before the Battle of Borodino Tolstoy strengthened the character’s revelation by describing his fat back, breast, gummy yellow body, fat shoulders- all those characteristics present the person who is far from labor life, as well as far from needs of common people. Napoleon was egotistic person, presuming that the whole universe obeyed to his will. The writer with subtle irony, which is some cases is transformed to sarcasm, discloses Napoleon’s pretensions for world supremacy, along with his constant posing for history. Napoleon was acting all the time; there was nothing natural and simple in his words. It was vividly described in the scene when the Napoleon was gloating with his son’s portrait on the field of Borodino. Napoleon approached to the portrait knowing that everything he would say and do – will be the history. It was pure acting; it was nothing sincere in his words and actions. This scene brightly reveals Napoleon’s arrogance that considered that if he would conquer Moscow the whole Russia will be conquered and his world supremacy plans will be fulfilled. Tolstoy depicts Napoleon as the true player and actor in the series of further episodes. For instance on the eve of the Battle of Borodino he says: “The pieces are on the board, the play will begin tomorrow”. That “play” has taken lives of thousands of people and this reveals the bloody character of Napoleon wars, which was aiming to enslave the whole world. On the contrary, Andrei thinks that war is not the game, but the cruel necessity. He introduces principally different approach to war, introduces thoughts of common people, which is obliged to take weapon in exclusive consequences, when there is an imminence of enslavement.

To the national patriotism, Tolstoy contradistinguishes false patriotism of aristocracy. Patriotism of Moscow aristocracy consisted in eating Russian stchi and not French cuisine, and for saying French words they were fined. The image of Alexander I is not very attractive as well. Traits of duplicity and hypocrisy of aristocracy are also inherent to the Emperor’s character.

Patriotism and closeness to common people are very common to Pierre Bezukhov, Andrei Bolkonsky and Natasha Rostova. National war of 1812 contained enormous moral power that purified and renewed Tolstoy’s favorite characters, burnt out their soles class prejudices, the feeling of superiority to other common people. In the patriotic war the destiny of Andrei follows the same way, as the one of the people. He is loved and being proud by his troops. He starts to see that the true person’s predestination is in serving his people. Encounter with Natasha Rostova and his tender love to her, clearly reveals to Andrei that transforming plans of cold and self-assured Speransky cannot make Andrei happier and better. That was the first time that national point of view was introduced as the criteria to his consciousness.

Common Russian soldiers also played outstanding decisive role in life of Pierre Bezukhov and greatly affected his soul. After that he makes the decision to change, to reconstruct his life. He obtained the inward peace and confidence in the sense of life after the heroic times of 1812s and after suffering in captivity along with common people, with Platon Karataev. And he experienced the feeling of his vanity and falsehood compared to the truth, simplicity and power of those common people.

Positive character traits of Natasha Rostova with particular brightness are revealed in the moment, when she, before French entered Moscow, inspired with patriotic feeling, decided to take wounded people to their wagon and also when she in the happy and joyful moment with Russian dance and admiration with Russian music reveals all power of her national spirit. It is the process of liberation for her soul from false common ideals. The image of Natasha depicts one of the main ideas of the novel: there is no beauty and happiness, where there is no good, simplicity and truth.

In novel War and Peace each characters image is undividable with his language characteristics. Language of aristocracy is full of French words; expressions are elegant, though standard and are used during the conservation on any occasion. It is important to understand that Leo Tolstoy was the great appreciator of Russian language and in accordance with the speech and word choice of the characters it is possible to judge author’s attitude to them. His favorite characters do not speak French Russian.

Novel War and Peace describes factual events of the war of 1812. In the novel Tolstoy revealed true historical events from the standpoint of Russian people- aristocracy, soldiers, commanders. He succeeded in capturing the true meaning of the war for common people. All characters in the novel are well-thought and brightly revealed; each of them has its own story, its own way and transformation. Tolstoy knew that life of common people with its fates, interests and joys, does not depend on meetings of Napoleon and Alexander I, diplomatic games or state plans of Speransky.

Only those historical events that move masses, affect national destinies, are able to change, even dramatically, but always in the positive way, the individual. This is how characters in the novel are purified and elevated. Each character, each participant is not less important for the author then Napoleon. The direction of will of millions of people, which from the point of view of Napoleon and the historical science of that time were of infinitely tiny units, define world historical events.
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Essay on Bankruptcy

Essay on Bankruptcy

Lately in the financial media there have more and more announcements about bankruptcies of companies all over the world. One of such examples I found in The Economist issue from November 22nd in the article called “The End of the Affair.” The American household-goods chain Linens ‘n Things filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2008. Later, in October, the company still could not find a buyer and had to liquidate itself.

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Among other things, the article also discusses the main reason why this and many other American companies are going out of business – credit crisis that is dragging the U.S. and together with them the rest of the world into very deep recession. In the last decades the economic slow-downs were quite mild mainly because the consumer spending was more or less stable, which in turn was possible due to the numerous ways to borrow money. Debbie Jeffries from Linens ‘n Things says that some of the customers had up to 15 credit cards and adds: “Maybe that’s why we are here.”

Since 1985, consumer personal savings were steadily declining and debt increasing tremendously. People were spending more and more. Now the period of great spending seems to be over. Stock markets and house values have dropped and consumers spending decrease. These negative financial factors are driving out of business many companies all over the world. The firms that go out of business lay off workers, who after loosing job might not be able to pay their bills and also file for bankruptcy. All these will possibly lead to a longer and deeper recession.

Business Law Today: The Essentials textbook describes the purpose of the bankruptcy law in the United States. The law has two main goals – to help a debtor to have a new start without creditors’ claims, and to provide equal rights to all creditors of a party that goes bankrupt.

When Linens ‘n Things have filed for bankruptcy, all the proceedings were held in federal bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Code specifies 5 different ways for defaulting debtors to seek help. The article in The Economist does not provide details, however, from the mentioned information, we can assume that in May 2008 Linens ‘n Things has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means reorganization. The firm most probably could not find investors and proposals for restructuring and in October 2008 had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means liquidation. In such case, a company sells all its nonexempt assets and distributes profit to the creditors. That is exactly what Linens ‘n Things is doing at the moment. Not a company itself, but a trustee (a government official) sells the assets and then distributes the received profit to the creditors. Linens ‘n Things has filed voluntary petition in bankruptcy to court. According to the law, in 180-day period before this, the company had to receive a credit counseling from an “approved nonprofit agency.”

According to the law, individuals, partnerships and corporations can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Even though it became more difficult to file for bankruptcy after new legislation of 2005, unfortunately, due to the worsening economic situation, there are chances that we will hear about bankruptcies more and more often in the coming months. 
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Essay on Business Studies

Essay on Business Studies

Personal and professional motives for pursuing a Master in Business Studies
It is hard to overestimate the importance of academic studies in modern society. Pursuing an academic degree is an excellent prescription for social mobilization, personal and professional fulfilment and is a source of great intellectual satisfaction. However, choosing this route has some negative short-term effects, mainly concerned with its direct and costs, such as (sometimes rather high) tuition fees, limited ability to make a living and opportunity costs of building an alternative career. One should also remember that despite some evidences of good employment rates for college graduates, there is no guarantee for finding an appropriate job upon graduation. 

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Examining the roots of decision to attend a college, specifically majoring in Business, I would point out three main motives:
First, business studies have been evolved to a truly interdisciplinary academic approach. Throughout my studies, I will not focus on one narrow field, rather than gain theoretical and practical experience form different disciplines, ranging from finance and economics through law and reaching pure humanities such as philosophy and ethics. Thus, in the future I would be able to make a better choice of speciality and still have some basic familiarity with “whatever those guys in the legal department are doing”, for example.
Second, during the studies I could have the opportunity to nurture a social and professional network that will, hopefully, continue also after graduation. Such networking can stem from my colleagues, as well as my future school’s alumni, graduate placement centre and my professors, some of them also spend time on practice and may help me to achieve my goals.
Third, the content of much of the studies is highly practical and even vital almost to everyone. I will have a lot to gain from knowledge of, for example, personal finance and retirement management, leadership and accountancy.

The world is going global and so are labour markets. In his fascinating book, “The World is Flat”, Thomas L. Friedman suggests that in order to become “untouchable” (i.e. to have a job which is less likely to be automated, digitized or outsourced), the individual in Western societies must focus on several skills, which Friedman termed as the “new middlers”; these are, for example, collaborators, synthesizers and explainers (Friedman 2006). My intention is to invest in developing these skills, most of them are interpersonal qualities, as job-specific knowledge and abilities are much easier to achieve than personal skills.

Last but now least, I strive to use the opportunities given by my future college to learn and be fluent in at least one more foreign language, perhaps German or Italian. A comprehensible benchmark for my communication skills would be the ability to clearly and professionally express myself in business environment using at least three languages. 

For conclusion, I see numerous benefits on this kind of studies, in the sense of my professional development as well as the intellectual and personal added value. A business study is a unique academic opportunity which do not binds you to a certain professional path but rather offer an overview of the way people lead the wheels of economy.    

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Wealth and Happiness Essay

Wealth and Happiness Essay

Why Do Rising Incomes and Wealth Not Necessarily Equate with Rising Happiness and Content?
The modern consumerist society highly appreciates material values, which outweigh spiritual and moral values. At the same time, the material prosperity, rising wealth and level of income do necessarily equate with rising happiness and content. In actuality, the situation in the modern society is paradoxical in a way, since developed countries have reached an unparalleled level of development and the problem of poverty has partially solved, but the growing incomes and prosperity of nations did not result in the happiness of all people living in developed countries. In such a way, it is possible to estimate that the rising wealth and income are not interrelated to rising satisfaction and happiness, in spite of the dominating consumerist views which comprise the mainstream culture today.

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Consequently, it is important to find out causes of such a gap and lack of interdependence between rising wealth and happiness of people because all people want to be happy and, erroneously, they associate happiness with wealth. As a result, the dominant strife for prosperity as a source of happiness is apparently misleading and people should be conscious of this fact and the understanding of its causes will help many people understand what makes them really happy.

The lack of interdependence between wealth and happiness
In actuality, the idea of interdependence of rising wealth and rising happiness and content of people is a highly controversial issue. In fact, views on this issue vary dramatically and may be quite antagonistic. On the one hand, there is a widely spread belief that the rising wealth and higher level of income can make people happier and more content with their life. On the other hand, there is the opposite view which indicates to the lack of the interdependence between wealth and happiness. According to this view, the rising wealth does not make people any happier and, what is more, the growing incomes of people can even evoke certain anxiety and result in the growing dissatisfaction of people.

In order to find out the true effect of the rising wealth on the psychological state of people, their happiness and content, several researches were conducted. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the research of Richard Easterlin (1995), who attempted to reveal the impact of wealth and rising incomes on happiness of people. His research revealed the fact that the effect of the rising wealth and incomes can produce a different impact on happiness and content of people with their life.

To put it more precisely, the research of the impact of the rising wealth on happiness of people in Europe (Graph 1) revealed the fact that basically happiness of Europeans grew respectively to the growth of the GDP. At least, this trend was common to eight European countries. At the same time, the analysis of the interdependence of wealth and happiness revealed some controversies. For instance, in Belgium, happiness did not grow even though the national GDP grew steadily. The similar trend could be observed in Ireland where, in spite of “Irish miracle” and substantial growth of GDP, the growth of happiness could hardly catch up with the growth of wealth.

At the same time, in Japan the interdependence between rising wealth and growing GDP and the life satisfaction was obvious (Graph 2). In fact, in the post-World War II period, Japan had made a huge economic progress, which stimulated the improvement of the quality of life of Japanese and resulted in the growing life satisfaction and happiness of Japanese people. In contrast, the slowdown of the economic growth in Japan in 1990s resulted in the decreasing happiness and life satisfaction of Japanese people. As a result, the researcher concludes that the wealth and happiness are closely intertwined in Japanese society (Easterlin, 1995).

However, in the USA the result of the research was absolutely different (Graph 3). Easterlin (1995) studied the interdependence between the growth of GDP in the USA and happiness of Americans and revealed the fact that, in spite of the growing GDP, happiness and content of American did not grow proportionally to the growth of GDP. Moreover, happiness and content could even decrease, regardless of the rising level of incomes and wealth of Americans.

In such a way, effects of rising wealth can vary dramatically from the rising happiness and content to no effects or even decreasing happiness and content.

Causes of the lack of rising happiness due to rising wealth
Obviously, different effects of rising wealth on happiness and content of people can be determined by specificities of national culture. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the different effect of rising wealth on rising happiness in Japan and the USA. At the same time, specialists (Easterlin, 2001) argue that it is possible to single out common causes which lead to the lack of happiness, even though wealth and incomes are rising.

First of all, specialists (Easterlin, 2001) underline the fact that the rising wealth and incomes of people can lead to the rising anxiety of people, which naturally prevents them from being happy and content with their life. Such a paradoxical effect of growing wealth and incomes can be explained by the growing concerns about the proper investments or spending money people earn. In other words, people, who get used to lower incomes, face a problem of rational expenditures and effective investments of money. In such a situation, often they face a risk of losses of their money because of ineffective investments that lead to stresses and even depression. Consequently, there remains no room for happiness, even though incomes are growing.

Along with the anxiety, there is a risk of the instability of incomes. This risk is particularly high when the economic situation in the country is unstable. For instance, the income of people rise consistently but political instability or uncertainty of people in the future can minimize the positive effect of rising incomes. In this respect, it is also worth mentioning the situation when nominal incomes are rising, but the actual socio-economic position of people remains unchanged or deteriorates that is the case when the high inflation rate minimizes rising incomes. As a result, people grow dissatisfied because the rising income does not improve their life standards.

Finally, specialists (Easterlin, 2001) reveal a serious problem which often accompanies the growth of the national wealth. The problem is the widening gap between rich and poor or between the upper-class and the middle class. As a result, the social inequality annihilates positive effects of rising incomes and wealth on happiness of people. Instead, they feel dissatisfaction because of the lack of equal opportunities and enormous incomes of a few, while the growth of incomes of the majority of people may be insignificant.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the rising wealth and incomes do not always contribute to rising happiness and content. In fact, as a rule, rising incomes do raise happiness and the life satisfaction, but they do not necessarily equate with rising happiness and content. The problem is that rising incomes can result in growing anxiety and lack of experience of the effective use or investment of rising incomes that lead to the growing dissatisfaction of people. In addition, rising incomes and wealth do not always imply the equal redistribution of wealth within the nation. As a result, social inequality and unequal redistribution of wealth can lead to social conflicts and dissatisfaction of people.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Essay on Albert Camus

Essay on Albert Camus

Albert Camus, philosopher, writer and the Nobel Prize winner for literature, is the author of a number of challenging and thought-provoking essays and novels. As a representative of French existentialism he regarded this trend not as a system of notions and concepts but rather as the expression of a certain mood, the way a man lives and chooses his behavior in the world of seeming permissiveness. The absurdity of existence, the power of death, the feeling of solitude and alienation from disgusting outer world ("everything is alien to me") - these are the ideas that Camus characters are guided by.

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From the very beginning the apparent indifference and inertia Mersault embodies strikes as inhuman and even immoral: shrugging off his mother's death, agreeing to marry a woman he does not love, getting involved into intrigues of a local ponce and ending up in killing a man. This unmotivated crime which Mersault commits in the rays of Algerian dazzling sun brought him to trial and eventually to accepting his fate in the society that tries to "catalogue" the life of every person, to make everyone fit its norms and stereotypes. And in this respect Camus interpreted the plot of The Stranger as "distrust of formal morality". Mersault did destroy the boundaries and did neglect the restrictions imposed by the society but not because he wanted to learn the limits of his own potential (like Raskolnikov, for instance, did). Camus's character is almighty and absolutely free in this absurdity without God, reason and sense. Merasult is accused because he is a stranger here refusing to abide by the generally accepted social regulations. He is a stranger belonging to the world of nature. He admires nature, feels part of its magnificent cosmic landscapes, and contemplates its eternal beauties. He is an alien who exists without any "plan" from one moment to another.

A death sentence does not change his morals: it only revealed the genuine essence of human life before him. He realizes that there can be no judge over him, he is condemned but so are all mortals. "I opened myself for the first time to the tender indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself-so like a brother, really-I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again". These words are a sign of Camus's optimism: a Man should stoically accept the absurdity of the world because however vain all efforts to achieve something may be they still bring felicity ("You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life"). In this connection Mersault as well as Sisyphus (Camu's another protagonist) "must be visualized happy".

This book promises to be a rewarding and enriching experience for everyone in search of absorbing and compelling intellectual reading.
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David Hockney Essay

David Hockney Essay

David Hockney, born in Bradford, England, in 1937, knew at a young age that he wanted to be an artist. He began attending a local art school at the age of 16, and went on to continue studying art at The Royal College of Art in London. While at the Royal College, he strove to humanize his paintings by including words in them, and also by purposely painting figures in a crude, rough manner. The work he produced during this period of discovering his own personal style (which every artist undergoes) was marked as Pop art, due to his flamboyantly colorful work that often integrated popular magazine-style images, but he later moved on to being more representational in his work. Looking at his work, it is no wonder that he eventually became curious about photography. Not only is he considered a great draftsman, but his work in graphic design is given as much respect as his paintings.

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The fact that people may argue that he has not made an especially large impact on the world of photography is understandable, since he is predominantly considered a painter and also because he has only been experimenting with photography since the 80's, but even with disregard to the fact that his work has been used as illustrative examples in many prominent books on photography, his photo collages clearly express something that single, traditionally presented photographs cannot. He has made composite photographs by employing Polaroid photographs, regular 35 mm prints , color copiers, and even fax machines. Though he may not have been the first person to create photo collages, the manner in which he arranges them illuminates the different points of photographs that are sometimes lost (things that could maybe be captured on, say, movie film) and uncover the "complete" picture and the multi-faceted possibilities of expression through layering, analyzing, fragmenting, and simply, by putting together all the small details creatively that are sometimes overlooked.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

El Greco Essay

El Greco Essay

El Greco was born in Candia in 1540. His name means the Greek. He drew pictures of the Christian Religion, like Jesus. He got 1000 ducados for the painting of the Espolio for the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. The 1000 ducados he got satisfied a person for 2 years back then.

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He moved To Venice in 1566 and stayed there for 4 years until 1570. He moved to into Rome in 1570 and stayed until 1576. He painted a picture of Christ healing a blind man that took him from 1566 to 1567 to make. He painted the Purification of the temple from 1570-1575 for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He also painted the Pieta in Rome from 1570 to 1572 for the Philadelphia museum of Arts. He also painted an Assumption of the Virgin in 1577 for the Art Institute of Chicago, which was based on Titan's assumption from 1516 to 1518.

El Greco loved the beautiful scenery and sights of Toledo. He traveled there many times and painted some of his pictures there. He died in Toledo on April 7, 1614 and was buried there in the Santo Domingo El Antiguo.

El Greco was born in either 1540 or 1541. His artistic work was all towards the Christian religion. He drew pictures of Jesus and some of the other men and women living at his time. He painted the Espolio for the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and got 1000 ducados. This was a payment that was could pay for 2 years. El Greco other than painting and doing art he liked to travel to Toledo and see the beautiful sights there.
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Battleship Potemkin Essay

Battleship Potemkin Essay

Battleship Potemkin at the time it came out was the standard for films to live up to because of it's innovative editing and unique uncompromising mise-en-scene. The editing techniques pioneered in the movie were at the time raw and even risky but have proved to be ahead of their time. The Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin is a great example of the rhythm and momentum within a film. Through an elaborate montage of juxtaposed shots Sergi Eisenstein succeeds in taking the focus off of the story and into the visual rhythm of the film.

The massacre and overall chaos that takes place on the Odessa Steps is the high point in the movie and an epic in itself. The effect starts early on with foreshadowing of the scene through a herd of people running chaotically throughout the city. Just before the Odessa steps people of the city herd through a succession of arches in all directions throughout the city. The misdirection of people running in every direction and abundance of people combine to create insanity and confusion on the screen that would rival an M.C. Escher painting.

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Juxtaposed with the anarchy of the crowd is the extreme unison and symmetry of the solders. Even more so, the two opposing sides never seem to have any similarities. As the soldiers run downhill the people run up. The soldiers themselves are complete opposites from the crowd who are mostly older, homely, poor women dressed in black. All of the juxtaposition along with the symbolism creates a very powerful image. Probably most effective symbolism is the solders firing down on the civilians without a second thought or sign of grief is sickening.

Eisenstein seemed to put a great deal of focus into the sequence of a mother losing her child to the chaos. The what seems to be never-ending decent of the stroller down the stairs lasts for what seems like 10 minutes passing a good portion of the crowd and eventually ends when the stroller regurgitates the baby leaving the mother in terror. Eisenstein focuses on the mother's grief by showing shot after shot of the mother gasping and shrieking so loud you could almost hear it. The close shots of the child laying on the floor being run over by several people and the quick cuts to the mothers face are especially jarring. It is the rapid alternation of shots between the mother and her son, which connects the two together and makes the effect of the mother's grief all that much greater.

Once again Eisenstein makes great use of juxtaposition to add effect. To begin with, the soldiers and mother were already in contrast through appearance. However, the opposition seems to go further with the baby as sort of a separating agent. The crowd seems to be a model for the emotions going through the mother's head, as she shrieks the crowd seems to hurry into a panic, and she cries the crowd seems horrified and in disarray. At one point during their decent down the stairs the camera seems to follow the crowd, almost putting the audience running right along next to them. And from the crowd shot we are cut back to the conflict over the child. The two sides, the soldiers and the mother, strike at each other vigorously similar to an intense tennis match. The close ups on the face of the mother and the medium shot of the soldiers from the waste down end up an inescapable juxtaposition and even pave the way for more contrast to be observed.

Finally, the contrast gets to its most extreme and powerful method through editing. Editing allows the filmmakers to not only contrast the frame and image on screen but editing actually allows a filmmaker to manipulate time. With editing a filmmaker is able to stretch a 10 seconds all the way out to two minutes. Even while showing extreme contrast and juxtaposition the story retains its continuity is still easy to follow. The method of repeating an action adds emphasis and in a way underlines that sequence for importance. At one point during the Odessa Steps it seems like the shots alternate from quick editing to longer duration of shots. The short shots seem to be focused on the army and the longer on the citizens. This may be for the fact that the filmmaker wants the audience to sympathize with the mother and therefore the longer takes are perfect for showing her misery and terror. The soldiers get the shorter derange shots so the only contact the audience has is that of a violent hand coming down on an innocent elderly woman. Of course this is an exaggeration but how much of an exaggeration is definitely debatable. So not only is the film creating chaos with characters but not with editing too. The editing itself is creating the action and what's on the screen doesn't carry with it the same significance as it once did. The editing took over the Odessa Steps sequence and the editing along with the characters is as a result is nothing short of a fluid and even poetic.

All in all, the Odessa Steps sequence is as innovative now as it was in its first year of existence. The editing techniques are extremely effective and the juxtaposition creates the meaning in the minds of the audience instead of on the screen. The editing techniques have inspired filmmakers ever since and will continue to set a precedent that filmmakers must live up to.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

Carpe Diem Essay

Carpe Diem Essay

Starting my essay on Carpe Diem I want to say that during the course of our lives there are certain goals that we wish to accomplish.  There are also many different experiences that we would like to enjoy. Sometimes we do not have enough time to get from life what we want; we usually lack time for accomplishing many of our goals and for realization of our ideas and wishes.

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In the poem “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell, main idea is absolutely the same: do not waste time and enjoy your life now! In this poem the speaker is seen as trying to convince a woman to have sex with him. The woman replies that she is a virgin and does not want to have sex. The speaker then tells the woman that there is no reason to wait because life is to short and one day the opportunity will be gone.  Throughout the poem the speaker uses sex as a metaphor to describe life’s opportunities. 
What Marvell is saying in this poem is do not put off doing something. There is no better time now. Metaphors play a major role in this poem. Marvell use lots of different effects to make references to life and death. He shows us that life is too precious to waste so we should take advantage of every opportunity. When someone dies he should not feel like there was anything left undone or something he will regret not doing. 
Talking about the second poem by Robert Herrick called “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” I can say that the theme of it is very similar to the first poem. Through literary techniques used by the author we can derive the conclusion that the predominant theme is a certainty Herrick presents to us to make most of our youth and life: to seize the day.
What is similar with the first poem is that the writer also uses metaphor to convey the different meanings of the poem.  Robert Herrick uses “the Virgins” to illustrate sex as a meaning of the poem.  He tells the reader that virgins should gain sexual experience when they’re young because they might regret waiting long. (Same to “To His Coy Mistress,” when the speaker is saying that is no reason to wait because life is to short and one day the opportunity will be gone.) Robert Herrick believes that the youth should have sex while they are young.  He uses sex as a metaphor to go to something else like life, for example. 
Looking at the word choice and sentence structure I need to say that they are chosen in such a way to help to support the authors’ ideas. The use of metaphors gives the poems greater saturation and help the authors to express to the reader that our time on earth is limited.
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Vertical and Horizontal Integration Essay

Vertical and Horizontal Integration Essay

A radical change occurred in the operation and structure of the American businesses in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century. Before 1870 an average factory had no more than $1,800 in investment, and even textile factories held investments under a million dollars. Subsequent decades saw the surge in mergers and acquisitions, and a flow of rapid consolidation of capital. Most of this process occurred because of vertical and horizontal integration.

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In this period companies usually grew in consequence of vertical and horizontal integration.
Vertaical integration meant the combination of different stages in the process of production and distribution. For example, U.S. Steel combined several processes: it extracted ore from the ground, carried out its transportation to the mills where U.S. Steel transformed it into steel and produced finished goods, and then undertook the shipment to wholesalers. A large meat packing house like Swift or Armour bred cattle, slaughtered it, transported it to a trading outlet and then acted as a wholesaler.

Horizontal integration envisaged the production of a wide array of products and moving into related business fields. For example, unlike companies focused on a single product like cast iron or nails,  U.S. Steel in the 1850s offered its clients a broad assortment of metal goods.

Vertical integration, despite possibly high initial outlays and possible problems in exiting the arrangement, generates distinct benefits for the organization. First of all, expansion of business offers significant economies of scale. The most viable source of economies of scale is the possibility to spread fixed costs over a greater number of output units, for example to use the same premises for manufacturing a greater number of goods. As a production unit grows, the company is able to realize synergies, that is, eliminate redundant operations and lay off extra workforce. Although socially painful, layoffs allow the company to concentrate its resources on the key areas, enhancing the productivity of its employees.

Economies are also achieved through reduction of purchasing and selling costs that result from the realization of synergies in these operations. For example, the company only has to spend on one marketing campaign promoting the company's corporate image as opposed to the two campaigns that were previously realized by two separate entities.

Besides, through vertical integration the organization is able to advance coordination of its functions and capabilities, enabling better communications between parts of the whole.

The company that absorbs other businesses to embrace the whole process can benefit from the realization of the economies of speed. Economies of speed mean that the product can move quickly from the input to output, thus increasing the throughput of the manufacturing process. Time previously wasted on negotiations of orders and management of a long stream of supplies is now freed up, and the speed of production increases.

If the company owns and uses proprietary technology, vertical integration allows it to protect this know-how as information stays within the company and will not be lost through sharing it with outside sources.  

Horizontal integration also enables the company to realize economies of scale, contributing to the bottom line. Even if products are diverse, the company can still eliminate some of the technical functions, such as human resource management, security, etc.

Besides, a company that absorbs other entities that produce related products will be able to accumulate greater market power. The organization will be able to offer its customers a wider range of products and in this way become better known to its customers. More often than not, a company that has made a reputation with one or several successful products will be able to sell other products to customers who already have a positive perception of the quality and value associated with this company.

To sum it up, there were viable grounds for 19th- early 20th century companies to integrate both vertically and horizontally. One of the main driving forces behind production consolidation was the realizations of economies of scale and speed, achieved through better coordination of activities, lower transportation costs and realization of synergies.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Essay on Drug Policies

Essay on Drug Policies

Suggestions to improve current drug policies
Introduction: Current efforts to fight drug abuse
Drug abuse has turned into one of the most acute problems of today. As a result, many countries have recognized the need to combat this problem and have joined their efforts to address the issue. An example is the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) that was supposed to coordinate efforts of the member states on combating drug trafficking and use. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the Europol Drugs Unit, later replaced through the European Police Office (Europol) were set up to help the bloc achieve better coordination in this area (EU Action Plan on Drugs).

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However, the evaluation of the results achieved through the implementation of this plan by the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), published in October 2004, shows that little was achieved of what was stated in the initial plan. The problem with the evaluation of the plan was the lack of coordination between the member states and use of different evaluation criteria when assessing the impact of the plan (ENCOD Bulletin).

In the US, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is an executive body that coordinates the work on combating drug trafficking. The US Department of Justice includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DFA) that oversees the import of substances in the country (US Embassy in Mexico).

Suggestions on improvement of the policies
To eradicate the problem of drug abuse or at least reduce it to a minimum, one needs to address the issue of why people abuse drugs or why they choose to engage in drug production and trafficking instead of more legal pursuit. The answer to the latter question is that financial benefits of this pursuit outweigh the potential dangers of imprisonment.

I would suggest to replace the prison terms for those people with fines that will be later used on drug-combating programs. Imprisoning members of drug gangs hardly contributes anything to society, as it merely removes these people from the environment where they can stop committing crimes. On the other hand, financial punishment will result in an inflow of funds that can be put to good use, assisting in sponsoring rehabilitation centers for drug addicts, creating employment programs for youth in depressed areas, and offering assistance to drug addicts who were able to conquer their dependence.
As the fine will replace prison terms, it would be possible to make them really substantial in size. Ideally, calculations could be made to fix the amount at such a level that the whole fortune made on drugs can be extracted from the criminal’s funds plus some of the additional income from other sources, if the perpetrator has legal business operations as well.  The fine has to be set regardless of the availability of funds from the criminal and has to be paid later in life if the criminal claims to be unable to do this in the moment. In this case, a prison sentence has to be applied. Subsequently, the convicted person will have to devote a large part of one’s income to extinguishing the debt to the government.

The effect has to be to a great part psychological. It will make little sense for criminals to engage in illegal drug trafficking if they can expect that their fortune will later be taken away from them.
Another change in the policies could involve an alteration in punishment for people who do not trade in drugs, but were found guilty of using drugs themselves.

First, it would do good if the criteria for punishment could be harmonized across the nations. There has already been debate in the EU on the equal application of punishment, especially with regard to the liberal policies accepted by some countries like the Netherlands.

Second, it is unwise to punish young people, many of whom showed carelessness in making a decision to take drugs, with a severe measure, like imprisonment. Some of them might have tried drugs only once in a company of friends and are not likely to do it again. Thus, suspension of severe penalties for them could be worthwhile.

Another option for them might be compulsory involvement in drug-combating activities, such as educational programs for youth, fund-raising for charitable initiatives, or voluntary work in rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. These kinds of activities would help them to grasp the negative impact of drugs and assess the danger they are in through drug use. In case the violators refuse to engage in charitable activities, they can be subject to other, more severe measures.

Drawbacks of the proposed solutions
The outlined steps, however viable, have several limitations.
As for the first solution, replacement of the imprisonment with fines would inevitably reduce the seriousness of the punishment and might lead to a factual increase in criminal activities. Besides, it is not always easy to asses the amount of wealth accumulated by the person through illegal activities. If this is not enforced, the criminal would benefit financially from drug production and/or trafficking, and the enforcement agencies will not be able to nullify the effect from taking on extra risk from illegal activity.

The second suggestion, namely, replacement of punishment with voluntary activities for the criminals found guilty of drug abuse for the first time, seems to be less controversial. The only dubious moment is whether psychologically these people are going to benefit from the things they will be required to do. Undoubtedly educational as these activities are for the people who engage in them of their own accord, for those who are required to perform them, they may turn out to be less beneficial.

Drug abuse has grown into one of the greatest problems of today’s world, and so far efforts to fight it have not achieved desirable effect.

The first of the proposed solutions address the cornerstone of the drug production, its attractiveness as a professional pursuit due to the huge profits it brings. Its viability is somewhat challenged by the problems with its enforcement.

Both suggestions aim at substituting imprisonment with alternative actions, forcing criminals to take active action against one of the most serious problems of many countries.
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Felix the Cat Essay

Felix the Cat Essay

The paper describes in brief advent of Felix the Cat animation picture, the main landmarks of its early historical development till 1930s. a summary and evaluation of some of the pictures from the series is given.

History of Advent
For the first time Felix the Cat appeared on the screen on November 9 1919 in short five-minute “Feline Follies” as a part of a Paramount Magazine. The following years brought the Cat as well as the technology of animation worldwide fame. In fact, Felix was the first cartoon character to gain such a level of popularity enough to draw audiences to the picture only by his star power. He was also the first television star, as his image was the first one ever broadcast through means of television. Cat’s black body, huge white eyes and giant grin together with surrealism of situations gets into, made him the best know cartoon character in the world. He remained at the top of popularity until the advent of Disney’s Mickey Mouse. [4]

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Despite the fact that the Cat was actually created by Otto Messmer, Pat Sullivan assumed all the fame for creating him, as Sullivan placed only his label everywhere he could. Messmer was just doing what he liked – he drew. Actually Pat Sullivan in 1917 had made a cartoon named “The Tail of Thomas Kat” starring a prototype of Felix. This character was called Master Tom and this name didn’t change until the third series. In 1923 Felix was for the first time introduced as a newspaper comic and was distributed by King Features. [4]

Felix’s Popularity
The Cat’s popularity was enormous: his image was used to a great range of products from baby oil to cigars. Yet, Felix wasn’t just a wonder of marketing acumen, the cartoons were an example of some of the wittiest animation of the silent pictures era. Owing to his creator, Felix possessed an outstanding personality. While most of other cartoon characters had little individuality, Messmer managed to endow the Cat with his own traits, manners and mimicry. One important feature: when Felix was faced a problem and was seeking for an answer he would walk back and forth with his head handing low and his hands locked behind his back. And he always found an answer, as he was the fastest-thinking animation character ever! [1]

Era of Sound
When the arrival of era of sound many old-fashioned actors have finished their careers. Quite similar thing happened to Felix. Pat Sullivan possessed too narrow vision that didn’t let him to upgrade the studio to new technical standards. So, Felix disappeared from the screen for a while. Sullivan has missed his chance. Such rapidly growing studios like Disney and Fleischers squeezed Felix’s native studio out. Their technology could no longer keep up and creative forces had been exhausted. In attempt to save the situation, sound was added later on. [4] First, the studio added sound to already existing silent cartoons, such as Astronomeows (1928), then original films animated around sound. In the first instance sound was added in attempt to increase the comedy of the situation. Sound cost the Cat too much. Sound-related expenses took their toll on creativity. In later cartoons such as April Maze animation is tragic and awkward. Felix’s movements are no longer so natural, organic and at the same time abstract as Messmer once managed to draw. Over time, the Cat’s character changes for the worse as well. He became more and more domesticated, finally timid and child-like. [1, 2]

Characteristics of Series
“Felix Saves the Day” was the first genuine Felix the Cat cartoon. It presents one of the most archetypical plots of the Felix animation film. Felix comes to the rescue of his friend and finds witty, eccentric way to save the day. In this cartoon the ballplayer friend of Felix is thrown to jail just one day before the important game. While Felix doesn’t win the game literally, he finds a method to put the outcome of the game off to a later date. He beans Jupiter, the god, with a pop that burns into heaven. Jupiter sends a downpour of rain in revenge, which cancels the game. [1]

In this cartoon Messmer reveals a full range of the treats that would make Felix so dear to the audience. The picture is filled with fantastic events, yet the plot revolves around a common thing – a baseball game in New York City. In this cartoon Felix is confused for the first time. A bunch of question marks appear out of his head. It appears that it is possible for him (in Felix cartoon everything’s possible!) to climb up to the window several floors high. He uses punctuation in a witty manner also in “Felix Finds ‘Em Fickle” (1924), as he clubs the bear into head with a exclamation mark that leaped from his head. In this early cartoon Master Tom, a cat, courts a kitty that lives nearby. Tom has no traits like Felix does, in fact, nearly all the early cartoon characters of the silent era were nondescript. Towards the end of the picture Felix uses signs of notes that leap out of Mater Tom’s guitar, makes a go-cart out of them and rides off. This kind of surprising and fantastic action has become a hallmark of Felix the Cat cartoons. [1]

Felix helps a hen-pecked husband to find a coat for his wife in “Felix Goes A-Hunting” (1923). In “Felix in Hollywood (1923) he helps his proprietor to get to the Hollywood and helps an owner of a shoe store sell his shoes. The most endearing quality of Felix’s character is readiness and willingness to help out anyone. Thus, in “Felix Lends a Hand” (1922) he goes to Egypt on a flying carpet to rescue a girlfriend of a shop owner. And whatever the case is, Felix’s solutions and decisions are anything but commonplace things. [2]

He is not always that lucky, though. Sometimes the Cat’s solutions do not work as intended. In “Felix Goes A-Hunting” he causes a bear to chase him so that a hunter would shoot the bear. But the hunter is not ready so that the bear runs right into hunter’s house and his wife. In “Felix Lends a Hand” he finds out that the girlfriend has become so fat he can’t get her on a flying carpet.

In “Felix Dines and Pines” (1927) the action develops in a rather dramatic way. First, the Cat can’t catch a mouse, then a chicken and jumping beans and eats a shoe instead. The shoe brings him a lot of trouble and action turns into hallucinatory nightmare. [3]

Decline of Cartoon
Pat Sullivan’s Studio gradually dissolves and after his death in 1933 only Otto Messmer remains. The value of Felix as a trademark fell dramatically. “The first Cat to Act” now appeared on pages of children books. In spite of this, Otto Messmer continued to draw his Cat on a daily basis, for living. [2]

After a few decades of virtual oblivion, as he was appearing only in children’s books and comic strips, which was nothing compared to the glory he enjoyed before, Messmer’s assistant Joe Oriolo produced TV series about Felix’s Magic Bag of Tricks in 1958. Since then a number of TV series appeared including Film Roman’s Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. [4]
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Literary Analysis Essay

Literary Analysis Essay

1F. The land is an equal participant of the events of the “Heart of Darkness.” It has its own destiny, and it should be regarded as an unavoidable element of the character list of the story. The beauty of the jungle isn’t a mere contrast to the cruelty of the European colonists in Congo. The land is continuously referred to as a living being. Charlie Marlow was very much surprised by the “river, the forest, all the great land throbbing with life.” (Conrad, 1998, p.9), and this scenery had awaken many thoughts in his mind about the sense, meaning and the purpose of life and its transient nature.

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Land seems to have emotion of its own, for instance, the sound was described “as if the whole land had been one immense drum booming out steadily an appeal to heaven.” (Conrad, 1998, p.16)

The land is full of serenity, wisdom and splendor, and the reader can virtually feel “the subtle and penetrating perfume as of land breezes breathing through the starlight of bygone nights.” (Conrad, 1998, p.37)

1H. Dreams in the “Heart of Darkness” are both a part of imagery and way of structuring the story. For a number of times Marlow felt like loosing the contact with reality and he wasn’t sure about what was really happening, for instance, during his voyage upriver.

Another symbolic value of dreams is revealed at the point when Marlow was awakened by drums and felt himself at a loss and in the middle of nowhere. Many things in Africa appeared to the Europeans like in a feverish dream.

2B. In this essay I’m going to discuss why the “Heart of Darkness” can be viewed as a story of the education of Charlie Marlow, and the specific role Kurtz played in it. Indeed, the “Heart of Darkness” is the comprehensive account of Marlow’s personal growth. Life, nature, strange people and extreme conditions – all this was serving the noble purpose of Charlie’s education.

From the nineteenth century colonist, Africa demanded much courage and strength. The Congo nature and way of living were all new to Marlow, so he had to cope with many threats and hardships without descending into the darkness of madness, like many Europeans were doomed to.   

The experience of Marlow makes him reassess his own values and the social values of those times. He was used to civilization, but he had to meet with savagery face to face. It would be logical to think that in the “heart of darkness” civilized people should fall into degradation and dehumanization; however, observing the natural state of people helps Marlow to understand his own self and the nature of the social organization.       

During the course of the story, Marlow becomes more and more skeptical of imperialism. He opened his eyes on the dangers and suffering it caused. I believe that Marlow became more humane and enlightened.

The Congo journey of Marlow can be compared not only with the university of life but also with the grand awakening. The Old World was sleepy, lazy, and meaningless. The unknown lands were offering dynamic developments, adventures, and freedom from the old social prejudices.  

Kurtz have produced a powerful impact over Marlow. At first, he appeared as an elusive figure, and only then as a real man of flesh and blood. Kurtz is continuously referred to as “gifted Mr.Kurtz.” At first, Marlow “was then rather excited at the prospect of meeting Kurtz very soon.” (Conrad, 1998, p.182)

When he met him, he wasn’t disappointed but even more intrigued by the enigmatic personality of Kurtz. Kurtz was strong, eloquent and knowledgeable. He won the respect of Charlie by hi independent and analytical nature. He always had an opinion of his own and was never afraid to express it freely:

“This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say.” (Conrad, 1998, p.241)

In difficult situations, Marlow “turned mentally to Kurtz for relief-positively for relief.” (Conrad, 1998, p.228) 

Kurtz didn’t admit the rules of the game the European colonists had to play. He recognized that the Europeans, him including, ruled the continents with the help of aggression and oppression. He familiarized too much with the natives, and that was the reason of his downfall.

Concluding my argument, I can say that the “Heart of Darkness” tells the story of the gradual education of Marlow in the faraway Congo. The influence of Kurtz was the major influence out of all the factors that influenced Charlie’s personality during the course of the story.
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