Culture’s Negative Outcomes

“13 Reasons Why” is a television series on Netflix that follows the lives of a group of high-schoolers and how their interactions with each other leads a newcomer, Hannah, to take her own life.  Hannah just moved into town and she has summer to get acclimated to new classmates and their predetermined culture; pretending that bullying is okay. While at first the new town seems like a good fit for Hannah and her family, she comes to realize her classmates lack compassion and the ability to see that she is in pain that was caused by the continuous bullying from her peers. At the beginning of Hannah’s first year in the new town, she is introduced to a variety of people at her school. Some peers she becomes good friends with and others turn on her by spreading nasty rumors about her. Hannah tries to ignore the accusations her “friends” spread of what she has done, because she comes to understand that her new school’s culture has been tailored to how the students treat one another. They take other’s feeling for granted which also leads to their own feelings being wounded. Hannah experiences some of the worst of it because she rejects the culture and attempts to change it by confronting issues. That seems to only make things worse for Hannah and she ends up committing suicide to escape the horrid culture her classmates constructed and didn’t change.

 

The Bluest Eye is a novel that also shows how culture is adapted with younger children and affects how they act and go through life. For example, Pecola experiences discriminatory acts against her beauty and being a young black girl, which attributes to the culture she lives in. The Bluest Eye and 13 Reasons Why represent the keyword essay “Culture” in a way that shows how negative outcomes arise from uncivilized actions. Pecola, in The Bluest Eye, experiences constant criticism from nearly everyone in her life. She deals with relentless bulling from classmates and a verbally and physically fighting family life. Through this all Pecola, like Hannah, needs an escape from the difficult culture she experiences and so she fantasizes about becoming more beautiful which she believes would improve her life. What is wrong with Pecola and Hannah’s culture is they both were put in a place where their culture constructed their identity. They both have bullying cultures which builds on Richard Flynn’s Keyword’s essay Culture. In the essay, Flynn writes that “asserting culture has passed over from being part of the solution to being part of the problem” (64). Flynn is stating that the wrong culture hurts individuals more than helps and if the predetermined culture didn’t make such an impact on individual’s lives, people would be healthier mentally. Culture should be a guide for people in new situations rather than direct them into specific patterns and thought processes. Hannah and Pecola are only two examples of how culture can negatively impact individuals.

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1 thought on “Culture’s Negative Outcomes”

  1. I strongly resonate with the assertion that culture often negatively impacts individuals. We live in a society in which media and social contact are consumed almost immediately. With this comes the spread of ideas and ability to falsify information quite easily. For example, on social media an individual’s newsfeed may be flooded with articles about X, suggesting that that is the over-arching opinion of the whole society. Because of this “supposed majority” idea, it is often to hard to confront cultural problems if one is going against the majority. Therefore, because of the difficulty in standing up to a culture that is oppressive, the negative culture continues and is often reinforced while the individual, or group of individuals, suffer silently.

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