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A Day of Compassion

In conducting my ‘day of compassion’, I had to define what compassion was to me first. Defining it was very difficult since I did not know where to set the standards. Coming up with something arbitrary, I defined compassion rather loosely as being ‘caring, loving, merciful and empathic’ to other people. I tried to keep my efforts solely on a domestic basis so that there would be no misinterpretations if I had done it to my friends on campus or people I did not know. Also, my family would appreciate my efforts more.
I think that a change in my disposition and demeanor such as becoming more compassionate, and in fact any deviation from my usual candor and attitudes would always elicit wonder and suspicion. This is one of the features of social psychology wherein a change in demeanor may be interpreted negatively. It may be implied that compassion has an ulterior motive to its presence. My family would greatly appreciate my efforts in being compassionate and caring instead of the next ordinary person or acquaintance.
Personally, the compassionate version of myself gave me great fulfillment especially in seeing how my family appreciated my efforts and reciprocated them just as easily. I think that this also gives insight into how behavior may be transmitted throughout society. One can serve as an example to others to elicit the same behavior. Examining my experience, I could see that some psychological factors tended to prevent me from being more compassionate. These factors mostly had to do with the dynamics of my family and the status quo of affection and compassion that was the norm within my family.
For example, because of the relative age of me and my siblings, we found it difficult to express sentiments of affection, caring, and love. Being so busy with public life and livelihood such as studies, career, and work, and being used to be professional all the time, compassion is usually forgotten in lieu of proper work ethic and practice. A Day of Nonconformity In my experience in this activity, once again defining the concept to be operationalized was of primary difficulty. Determining the minimum and maximum criteria or behavior that would characterize being nonconformist was a challenge.
The previous experience with the compassion exercise and the experience in this exercise showed me how concepts such as compassion and nonconformity may be highly subjective and at times largely a social construction. This is because my own perceptions of nonconformity may not be congruent with the perceptions of others, and thus my behavior can even be misconstrued to be something totally different. But for the purposes of this activity, nonconformity as defined by me would involve adhering to norms and desires that were produced purely by my own mind and psychology.
I focused my efforts of being nonconformist in my physical appearance since this would be an easy task to perform and in utilitarian aspects wherein usual unwritten social norms would apply. One example would be following my own desires and simple social settings such as restaurants, coffee shops, and other commercial establishments. From this experience, I wanted to examine the psychological costs and benefits that involve this activity. One behavior of nonconformity involve my physical appearance, wherein I would dress myself in clothes that suited my comfort and taste and gave no consideration whatever to the popular and common garb.
I dressed mostly for comfort and less for fashion. One benefit of this behavior is that by myself as an individual, I felt comfortable and did not see the need to constantly adjust, fix, and ensure that my appearance is pleasing others. The cost however involved being the object of discussion, curious stares, and sometimes, ridicule. Being a nonconformist mostly involves having to weigh society’s expectations with your own desires. Usually, the society is the one who wins. A Day of Nonviolence
As with the previous activities, determining if an act is violent or nonviolent is problematic in the sense that social psychology deals with social constructions that differ across cultures and locations. Especially this activity which deals with an issue that impacts a lot of people in terms of how they view the world, I think that this activity gave me great insight on how it would feel to be the producer of violence and the receiver. Defining violence would also entail a determining the levels and scope at which it operates.
Would violence involve only physical acts? If causing harm would be the basis of determining violence, in how many ways can harm be caused? Due to the nature of violence and its problematic definition, I chose to define acts that cause people physical, emotional, psychological, and economic difficulty or harm as violent acts. Just by defining violence gave me insight on how the world views certain practices and social processes; I could see that some normal practices that are fully accepted by our society may be embodiments of violence.
For example, disciplining your children may be viewed as violence. Spanking, berating, getting angry at your child may constitute to violence using my definition because these cause some form of harm to the child. Though parents and society would say that discipline is part of guiding the child, techniques involved in administering discipline may be considered violent acts. This then poses a question to me. The alternative to not disciplining your children would involve letting them do whatever they want.
This could result in untoward incidents and possible harm to the child. Clearly, society places more importance in the benefit of this form of violence than the cause of a child’s temporary hurt feelings. Does this mean some forms of violence are necessary? That for society to continue to survive and continue to socialize its new participants, some forms of violence should be used and that total nonviolence of society is not possible? A Day of Social Justice When thinking of social justice, the concept of race, gender, class, and equality immediately comes to mind.
The dynamics of dominant groups and weaker groups comes to mind as well, as social justice would involve the interplay within these groups and the mere presence of them. In this activity, I saw immigration rules as to be a product of social injustice. The differences between citizens of different countries around the world showed me that social injustices were in fact institutionalized and systematic norms and rules in society. This meant that governments, schools, and other formal institutions recognized that some groups should be controlled and the others should be given less restrictions.
The bases for these restrictions were usually socially determined by misconceptions, generalizations, and wide intolerance of cultures other than theirs. The distinctions of race, class, and gender and the barriers and divides that these create are what usually produce difficult social situations and conditions for women, Asians, Afro-Americans, Latinos, and the poor (Davis, 1992). Trying to instill social justice in even the simplest things such as getting in line, shopping, and talking to other people meant forgetting about apparent and obvious differences between people.
The color of one’s skin, the money in one’s pocket, the country where one was born does indeed produce differences that cannot be ignored by society. However, the treatment of society to these people should be reexamined to promote cultural diversity and not to force them to accept certain norms and rules imposed by dominant groups. In truth, I think that the distinctions of race, class, and gender are purely socially-constructed. Things could have gone the other way around and the dominant groups were the weaker ones if history was different. Social justice can only be attained through acceptance.
A Day of Compassion



A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance was a novel, I had read in my middle schooling years. I thought it was a terrific and moving novel with all the aspects well linked and throughout to intrigue and question the reader. This novel had given me hope when in doubt and expanded my knowledge of less fortunate people in our society. As the reader, it transformed the meaning of life and gave an insight of what and could happen to the poor people in India and their living circumstances. The two main characters where embraced with series of misfortunes that strikes the readers sympathy.
A fine balance is set in the 1970’s in India and explores the effects on the state of emergency on the lives of ordinary people. The story is told through many fazes; from meeting the main character Dina, to the lives of her tailors, Ishvar and Omprakash who are Nephew and Uncle.
In an attempt to break away from their caste, Ishvar’s father apprentices his sons to a tailor, and they became tailors. Soon after the tailoring tradition passes on to the next generation, changing from untouchables to tailors. Uncle and nephew soon move to Mumbai to find work, as a consequence of the pre made clothing shop that has just opened. Dina is the widow, who has just broken away from her over protective brother and moves into the flat of her deceased husband. She finds it hard to cope financially as a widow so a friend recommends her to find student boarder. She quickly informs relatives and friends of her spare room and soon enough Maneck the soon of her friend moves in.
Each character in the novel has their own separate story to tell, Maneck is from a small hill village in northern India and decides to move to the city to acquire a college diploma incase his father’s business is no longer available. His father does not approve of this back up solution but goes forth with the idea. The characters all from different backgrounds are all brought together by the economic forces changing India.
Dina is initially unsure about whether to treat the tailors as workers or guests, as they work in her house. Maneck is told not to talk or socialize with these tailors because he is considered of a higher class but forms a strong bond with the nephew, Omprakash. Soon after, these four characters learn to work together in a productive environment even come to a friendship.
Dina has a hard exterior, but when it comes to a crunch, she is a real softie this is evident when the tailors get invited to live with Dina and Maneck and come to enjoy each others company. Although it seems this novel will end as a fairy tale is certainly is far from that. Ishvar and Omprakash take a break and go back to their village to look for a wife for his nephew, they are taken by ‘officials’ in a mass raid to keep India’s population down or as they said ‘family cleansing’. This takes a toll as Ishvar the uncle, suffers from a deadly infection in the groin area and is forced to amputate both his legs.
Many years pass, Maneck goes to Saudi Arabia after completing university. Dina is evicted from her house and goes back to her over demanding brother and becomes almost the ‘slave’ of the household, spending her days cleaning. When Ishvar and Omprakash come back to Dina, after many unseen years they find Dina’s flat empty. They sadly come to be beggars – which was common in India, as they were not able to find Dina and their sewing machines.
Mistry introduces Dina Dalal, the main character of this novel when she was a child in the middle class caste living in a city by the sea in India. Her father falls ill when he volunteers for a dangerous job in the jungle as a doctor. She is refused a university education by her brother and is harassed to marry a rich man. The character Dina Dalal is perceived as a hard woman because of all the tragedies that have happened to her through her life. Although she has a hard exterior the gentle Dina reveals herself throughout the novel, an example of this is when she forms a strong relationship with the uncle tailor, Ishvar, at one moment it was considered more than a friendship, “She liked Ishvar’s face, the type that would put people at ease and encouraged conversation.” though she had vowed that she would never marry again.
Maneck, the student boarder who is chosen to live with Dina is the boy who grew up in the northern mountains of India. His family was well off; opening and owning a well run deli and even producing the first beverage, Kola. Events cause him to be sent to the city to become schooled, as his parents thought of this education as a back up from running the family own Deli. Still young and naive, Maneck is forced to live in the school dorms where he is constantly violently bullied by the other students,” What was there for anyone to laugh about in this wretched place?” Once he had enough and took up the courage to write to his parents of the horrific torture he has to go through every day. This action let him to stay with Aunty Dina Dalal.
At the same time, two men, an uncle and a nephew, from a caste-structure area are terrorized by the owner of the farm. Ishvar and Omprakash’s family are part of the Chamaar caste were considered untouchable. Their father had started Isvhar and his brother (Omprakash’s father) into tailoring business which was considered a higher caste, although it was forbidden, “Crossing the line of caste had to be punished with the utmost severity.”
Everything was well, until that faithful night when the police officials found out about their secret tailoring project. The officials burnt the house of their relatives with all the family inside. Only Ishvar and Omprakash had survived the horrific ordeal although Omprakash was still very young. Left with nothing, the two men leave for the city to find a job and a wife for the younger one. Once meeting Dina, they were well presented and were always on time, considering they were leaving in a small hutment colony, “There was nothing to distinguish the small hutment colony from the huge slum across the road.”
Omprakash the outspoken and naive young boy, would always critist Dina and her effort to help, as Ishvar, the non daring and mature man, would warn Omprakash about speaking to Dina in that offer. Soon Maneck and Omprakash form a strong friendship, with the same qualities and still in their youth. While they went out on the tailor’s lunch break, Ishvar would be left behind with the controlling Dina, soon they form a friendship that was meant to last forever.
Themes and Style:
Mistry does not hesitate to put everything in perspective, as a few issues have been raised throughout the novel such as the corruption of the government, women’s role and poverty. Although some skeptics have questioned the mood in this novel, I believe this novel was touching and couldn’t just help but feel for the characters!
A well debated theme in this novel was the abuse of power. An example of this corruption would be when the Prime Minister changes the law that found her guilty of cheating. The prime Minster also writes new legislation that gave her the right to do whatever she wanted, even if that meant overpowering the people’s rights, which to my opinion is unjustified. Police Brutality was also a large aspect in the novel with the compulsory sterilization ‘family cleansing’, the clearing the streets of beggars to make India a cleaner and better place.. Mistry uses this initial corruption of the Prime Minister to show how quickly people will abuse power if they know they are able to get away with it.
This novel is told through the eyes of an omniscient narrator/ third person who reveal the feelings of all the characters at once. Mistry describes the feelings of the characters by mainly involving their actions and less of their thoughts. Mistry provides in depth detail about the settings and situations surrounding the action. The language of this novel is easy to understand and flows well together, although there are some Indian words inscribed to give a better effect of the understanding to the reader.
Rohinton Mistry is the most talented writer I have come across. The book was gripping from beginning to end and is style of writing is clear, interesting and enjoyable. Mistry describes the feelings of the characters by mainly involving their actions and less of their thoughts and provides in depth detail about the settings and situations surrounding their actions. This book not just celebrates the human spirit but incorporates the truth of poverty and the heartbreak of dreams.
A Fine Balance



Between Mouthfuls

Imagine that you are a theatrical director and that you are preparing for a professional performance of a play. One of the actors is concerned that he will not be able to create a credible character in this difficult to set play. Advise the actor as to how you want the role to be approached. Talk him through the play, explaining how he should develop relationships with other characters within the play and how difficult sections of the play should be managed. (You must quote from the play to illustrate the points that you make. )
I have chosen you after auditioning many others to play the part of Donald Pearce in the short play Between Mouthfuls within the series of plays called Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn. You have come to me, as you appear to be concerned as to whether or not you will be able to create a credible character. As your director I am here to advise on how I want the role to be approached, I will also explain to you how you should develop your relationships with other characters within the play and how difficult sections of the play should be managed. I would like to establish exactly why you feel you are having problems.
I have directed this play a number of times and many of my actors have come to me expressing difficulties and doubts. Some of the problems they found themselves experiencing were simply that they found it difficult to deal with the serious issues of separation, obsession and isolation. Some of them had been having similar problems in their own families and found it undermining to laugh at such circumstances. Others simply didn’t feel they could really get into character in such a short play in such a short space of time and they found it challenging to act with such small group of actors.
To get to the bottom of your problem I think we first need to make sure you understand a little about Alan Ayckbourn himself, his style of writing and the nature of his plays. Alan Ayckbourn is one of the most prolific writers for the English stage, having written and produced, on average, one full-length play or comedy every year since 1965. He started his theatrical career as an actor and stage manager with Donald Wolfit’s company but he later moved to Stephen Joseph’s Studio Theatre Company in the early 1960’s, where he began directing and writing.
Many of his most successful plays began at Scarborough where he is Artistic Director of the Library Theatre. His plays have their roots in the tradition of farce rather than in experimental theatre. He has stretched the boundaries of comedy and farce as his work has developed. Increasingly, the comings and goings of married couples are injected into his plays with a note of black comedy and social groups are fraught with the suggestions of the darker arenas of human interchange. In his own words: “I brought light and darkness face to face on stage, clear cut and identifiable. ”
Ayckbourn’s success may be accounted for in that his work is challenging, but within strict limits; his subject matter has tended to be of middle-class values and of lifestyles under threat, which form plays with theatrical convention but is always firmly rooted in the familiar structures of farce and West End comedy. He often writes about the middle classes in order to explore the more serious issues of modern life. In my opinion it is not just enough to know the authors background and his motivation but it is also necessary to discover the nature of the play and the character you are playing.
Between Mouthfuls is one of a series of five interlinked one-act plays called Confusions, which are typical of his interactive comedies of human behaviour. Usually in his plays Ayckbourn takes an apparently normal or ordinary situation and setting and proceeds to play with it both in order to entertain and to draw his audiences attention to what concerns him most, and his concerns can be very serious indeed. The fact that he chooses to portray them through the medium of comedy only serves to heighten the awfulness of what he reveals in the action of his plays.
Although his audience cannot keep from laughing they must also be aware of the darker aspects of his plays. Confusions is no exception to this rule. The plays are alternately naturalistic, stylised and farcical, but underlying each is a problem of loneliness. Whether the problem concerns marital conflict, infidelity, or motherhood, is set on a park bench, or at a village fete, the characters are immediately familiar and their cries for help instantly recognisable. In my opinion it is of vital importance to keep this factor in mind when taking part in a production of any of the plays within Confusions.
Without this strong message the plays are not worthwhile. It is obvious to see how this is applicable in Between Mouthfuls as we can see that it is an extremely funny play while at the same time it deals with the serious issue of disintegration of marriage. The character that you will be playing is Donald Pearce. Pearce appears to be a very dedicated businessman. Throughout the play his character unravels, there isn’t one point in the play where his character appears pleasant. Charming maybe, but not pleasant. As a director there are many things I have to consider when advising my actors.
These things are, tone of voice, costume, stage direction, setting, visual details for example body language, timing, the part the audience plays and the way the characters interact with each other. I think the best way to help you would be to take a couple of these points in turn and discuss how we think it would be most appropriate for you to approach it as Pearce. I am going to start with tone of voice. At the beginning of the play Pearce appears to be rather sarcastic. He treats the waiter with disrespect as if he is talking down to him. Pearce is very impatient we can tell this from his curt replies to the waiter: Yes, I’ve just said I did” and “That’s really rather why I reserved a table for two”. It is important that you exaggerate this aspect of Pearce’s character right from the very beginning of the play. The audience will sit up in their seats when they here how Pearce is treating the waiter. In my opinion Ayckbourn did not intend Pearce to be a character that the audience liked, he intended him to be a character who they are able to relate with, his intention was for him to be a character who represents a side of themselves they prefer to keep hidden away. Throughout the play Pearce’s character develops.
As I have said at the start we see a rather unpleasant side to his personality. Towards the end of the play it doesn’t get much better. He goes from being sarcastic and impatient to angry and resentful. To emphasise this point to the extreme I would advise you to at the beginning of the play appear rather withdrawn and shy, you should seem keen to get things over with and avoid confrontation. This would explain the curt answers and impatient attitude. At the end of the play make it seem almost as if Donald Pearce is coming out of himself, the audience is being faced with his true colours for the first time.
We can see this in the play from the way he talks to his wife and the waiter: To the waiter: “(snarling at him) Yes please” and to Mrs Pearce “(fiercely) Could you kindly try and control yourself” It is essential that you make this extremely meaningful. The audience should be left feeling that they know the character of Donald Pearce inside out and that he is not someone they would choose to be friends with. I have talked to you about the beginning of the play and I have talked to you about the end of the play but I haven’t really talked much to you about the middle of the play.
There is a very amusing conversation between Pearce and his wife where Pearce finds himself having to read out the menu over and over again to Mrs Pearce as she has forgotten her reading glasses: “Mrs Pearce: ‘My reading glasses. I’ve left them at home” and later on: “Mr Pearce: ‘(fading up) … Dover sole meuniere. Lobster thermidor. Lobster americaine brackets when in season. Scampi – all sorts of scampi – grilled halibut … (he fades out). ‘ This could possibly be the section of the play which receives the most laughs from the audience but it is all to do with timing, which I am going to go on to talk about next.
Timing is an essential factor in all plays produced at this level but it is particularly important in Between Mouthfuls. The reason for this is because the audience has to follow two conversations at the same time. If you do not pick up where you left off then there is no way the audience is going to be able to follow what is going on. You must come in with your lines exactly on cue for the play to be able to work and run smoothly and it is important that even when you are not speaking that you keep on acting all the time as if your conversation is still in full flow.
The audience will still be watching you even if someone else is speaking, so it is important that not only are you mouthing the words but that your conversation is animated as well. When it is your turn to speak I would advise not to speak at full volume at first, fade in so that the audience are following everything that the waiter hears. It is as if they walk into your conversation. The same applies for when you lines are finishing, fade out as the waiter moves away. The next factor I am going to talk about is visual details, in particular body language.
As I said before it is important to keep your conversations animated, this can be done using body language. I think the best way to do this is to use hand gestures. To show frustration put your hand on your head or run your fingers through your hair, to show anger clutch at the side of the table or hold on to each side of the chair, to show boredom twiddle you thumbs or drum a silent beat on your knee. These minor details are what make the production come alive and it helps the audience to really get absorbed in the play. Throughout the course of the play Pearce’s body language changes depending on whom he is talking to.
We all know that in real life we change the way we act according to who we are with or the message we would like to get across. For example if we are talking to our peers we are very well mannered and polite whereas if we are talking to someone younger than ourselves or someone we are in charge of we tend to talk down to them or treat them with a little less respect. This is exactly the same for Pearce. As we know Pearce talks down to the waiter, treating him with disrespect, he is very condescending. It is almost as if he is treating him as a servant: “Bit on the chill side.
It’ll do. Go ahead. ” This is an example of how Pearce doesn’t bother to make the effort to thank the waiter or pay any kind of attention to him whatsoever. The manner in which Pearce talks to his wife is completely different from the way he talks to the waiter. Pearce seems to be permanently annoyed and frustrated with his wife, not giving her enough of a chance to state her opinion. He never quite looses his temper though as he knows that because she is his wife he has to put up with it however agitating he may find her: “Are you deliberately trying to annoy me this evening? and “For the last, time will you pull yourself together. ” These are two examples of how we can definitely see that Mrs Pearce is getting on Mr Pearce’s nerves but he is afraid to loose his temper as it is his wife and will give him a bad reputation. The way Pearce treats Martin is once again different. You can tell from the way he speaks that he is trying to emphasise the fact he is the boss and he is in control and that if Martin put a foot wrong he has the power to ruin him. I would say that he sweet talks Martin as he knows he is in a higher position, some would say he is hoity-toity: Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ve just got to have a quick mop up in the Gents. Won’t be a second. Then – fancy a quick brandy in the bar? ” and “Not at all, not at all. I think after all that stalwart work you’ve done on that report I probably owe you meal, don’t I? ” These are examples of how Pearce completely changes his tune at the end of the play to talk to Martin. He has just finished having a major argument with his wife, which could lead to the end of his marriage when he meets his employee and immediately turns on the act some wouls say he puts up a front.
This all seems to be to do the with tone of voice but in fact it is not, it is also to do with the manner in which he behaves and to get this across body language plays a vital role. I would advise you to think a lot about facial expressions. Think about when it is appropriate to frown, when it is appropriate to smile, when it is appropriate to screw up your eyes or scrunch your nose and when it is appropriate to raise your eyebrows. It is also necessary to consider the way you think Pearce would hold himself. Would he stand up straight, would he slouch?
These are questions you need to ask yourself. Another question which needs considering is what kind of clothes you think Pearce would wear. This leads me nicely in to talk about costume. Costume also plays a vital role in the production of a play. Without costume a play would not be real. The audience would not see the characters being played but just the actors. The play would not come alive. For this reason costumes are necessary. Judging from what I know and have gathered about Pearce’s character I would say that he is not too difficult to put into costume.
He is an uptight businessman very concerned about his reputation and how appears. For the reason I would put him in a suit, or smart trousers, shirt and a tie. The audience plays a very important role in the production of a play. For every detail we should be thinking how the audience would see it, how they would react, would it make them laugh and would it make them forget everything else around them and make them fully focussed on the play. The audience should feel involved, they should leave the theatre feeling that they have been involved in something magical, something they will never forget.
Due to this fact the actors should really know thoroughly not just their lines but also their character and the background of the play they are performing in. They should be proud of their performance if they feel they have done well and they have really felt that they were their character then it will have seemed this way to the audience. In Alan Ayckbourn’s own words: “Always work with something you admire and not with something you only set out to make fun of. That way you might even manage to raise your game rather than lower it. ”
In the end I would say I am your director and I am here to help and advise you in the best way that I can, but at the end of the day I am not the actor and cannot do the job for you. I can tell you the way I would like things to be done but it is up to you to go away and out it into context. I have given you all the aid I think you need and my last point would be to say to you to always remember that although Alan Ayckbourn’s plays are produced in the medium of comedy they all deal with society, they all present a gloomy prediction of a possible future world where society, as a result of the behaviour portrayed, has all but collapsed.
Between Mouthfuls



The Pursuit of Happyness

The new Will Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness is wrong and not just in how it spells “happyness”. Movies that have hidden and misleading messages bother me — and I don’t like the underlying messages in this movie. The movie presents an important concept and then stomps all over it. The concept comes when Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, is opining about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. He muses that Jefferson called it the “pursuit of happiness” because you could never quite catch it. The running, the chasing, the pursuit would be elusive with the prey remaining just out of reach.
The right answer seems to be realizing what is truly important in life, yet how does the movie end the pursuit of happiness? Happiness is achieved when Chris Gardner lands a six-figure commissioned salary brokerage job. The bright and shiny happy people in the movie were the rich. The poor were downtrodden, mentally ill, hostile, and dishonest. The poor guy won’t pay you back the $14 he owes you, but the suit will fork over the $5 you gave him for cab fare. The message of the movie was money = happyness . The movie conflates two concepts and doesn’t distinguish them — survival and success. Most of the movie is focused on survival.
The movie captures the truly horrific feeling of an empty wallet. Halfway through the show, I was thinking — “Hell, I feel this way at home and I didn’t have to pay $7. 75 to feel poor. ” I am amazed every day at the thin line between disaster and survival. I see individuals everyday who are walking that tightrope or worse, who have fallen off already and just barely managed to grab on to the tightrope and are now moving hand over hand across the chasm of poverty. Over 90% of the people filing bankruptcy in this country have had one or a combination of these three things happen to them:
1. Lost job or income. 2. Divorce 3. Major medical issues. In the movie, Chris Gardner suffers the first two and it nearly destroys him. He fights against all odds and eventually escapes the poverty. This struggle and display of the human spirit is uplifting in classic underdog fashion. Yet, when Chris gets to the top, he has learned nothing by his near escape from disaster. If he had had the same will and desire and only slightly less talent, this story would have been a tragedy rather than a triumph. Some facts about the “real” Chris Gardner flash upon the screen at the end.
In 2006 he sold a minority share in the brokerage he started for a multi-million dollar profit — a profit that originates from a host of Chris Gardners slaving away at dead end jobs and who will never see the success of the protagonist. He succeeds wildly, but I couldn’t shake the tragedy of all those who didn’t have his skills, perseverance, or luck. The movie wanted to create a sense of loss and then have it redeemed through hard work and perseverance — the realization of the American Dream. Survival is the American Nightmare.
Something is wrong when the United States Bankruptcy Code is the closest thing we have to a National Health Care Plan. Something is wrong when the richest country in the world has a large homeless population. Something is wrong when Pay Day Loan stores are more prevalent than churches. When did you last read the Declaration of Independence? Read it again. Think about how things are now. The seeds of rebellion are sown in economic disparity and unequal treatment. The only happiness that comes from the single-eyed pursuit of wealth is one that is misspelled and misplaced.
The Pursuit of Happyness



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