Thursday, February 20, 2014

essay #3

 Natasha Rene’

English 24

Ben Villarreal

11, February 2014

                                                            The Struggles


          While reading stories and articles relating during the semester relating to the struggles on debt I come to realize that debt can really put your life and any future accomplishments like buying a house, car, taking out any bank loans of any kind. Debt can either take a lifetime to fix or have you doing or working multiple jobs just to get rid of the circumstances you are in due to you being in debt. Pop culture looks at debt as a way of seeing your downfalls and doing your best to make it back to the top by doing what you have to do get out of these situations.

         In the story A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge was a grumpy old money lender. He was basically like a credit card company, a bank, you could say. Scrooge would lend money to people that didn't have enough. That was all he thought about day in and day out. He audited his books every night, and he wasn't someone you wanted to mess with when it came to his money. Ebenezer wasn't the most typical generous type of man. With all the money he had, he wouldn't even donate his time or money helping the unfortunate, sick, or people most close to him, his family.
        Then one night this was all going to change. He went to his house where he and his late friend Marley lived. When he got in front of his door there was a big doorbell with Marley's picture on it looking at him but Scrooge didn't seem to let that scare him. As he was just about to go up the stairs. You would think Scrooge then would be scared out his boots buy the didn't let that scary Hearst even bother him. He then proceeded to his bedroom, even though he had all this money he still lived savagely in a big house with a lamplight and ate grueling withy was little heat, which showed that for someone as filthy rich as he was, he could afford to be living comfortably. Later that night, as he was going to sleep with his thick comforter because of the very little heat in his room, he heard noises coming from the basement. At that moment Scrooge started to freak out because around that time of night the other people who lived there were out, and he was the only one in the house. The noise and chains sounded like it was coming up the stairs. Who could possibly be coming up the stairs? He wondered. Then the door swing swung open and standing there he saw it was Marley. “Scrooge went to the window to confirm his fear and looked outside. The air was filled with phantoms, wandering higher and thither in restless haste, moaning as they went by. Everyone if them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some were linked together and might have been guilty government members. None were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He was quite familiar with one old ghost wearing a white waistecoat, with monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant who it saw below upon a doorstep." The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever. This quote basically implies that whatever you do in your lifetime whether it's good or bad will basically come back to haunt you. Marley came back to remind Scrooge that he had better start paying his debt from now while he was alive, or he would end up in chains in the afterlife as punishment for not helping all the people he could have helped, but chose not to because he felt they were just a nag and they put themselves in debt: Marley came to him as three different ghosts to warn him and give him a chance to change.


As Margaret Atwood stated "Without memory, there is no debt. Put another way: Without story, there is no debt." (36) Margaret Atwood author of "Debtors Prism" speaks briefly about people getting themselves in debt and trying to find a way of getting out of this financial predicament. Also explaining debt as "an outsized bubble of interlocking debt burst, leading to the downfalls of prominent companies. Loans by and to the government, financial institutions, consumers collided on an epics scale. Still, the idea of what we owe on another is an ancient theme, and this is just the latest chapter in a long cultural history." The Pursuit of Happyness" looks at debt as a way of seeing your downfalls and doing your best to make it back to the top by doing what you have to do to get out of this situations. Atwood relating it to all being a part of capitalism, but reading this article and seeing where it fits in pop culture. It perfectly relates to the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.” This movie describes how being in debt really can hold you back in life, and the circumstances of Chris Gardner not being able to pay his debt and having almost just about everything taken away from him, while having to take care of a young child. Trying to make it in the work force after giving up his job, for a job that was only paying a commission. After getting the opportunity to finally get out of such distress, and landing a job in Corporate America he was able to appreciate the results of that opportunity and have a better life for himself and his son.
          In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis describes Steven Conrad, writer of the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" which he describes the life of Chris Gardner of simply just having bad luck and making bad and unrealistic decisions. With having a very unsupportive wife and a child to provide for, not carefully thinking things out before he made these choices he found himself in a messy debt situation. His wife not being able to support his silly mistakes would shortly leave him and to raise their 5 year-old son with no type of help or assistance. Steven implies in the film that money matters the same way it does in today's life. Conrad openly saying that money matters particularly in his film than it does in most Hollywood stories that focuses more on the poor, largely because Chris's doesn’t just want to secure life for him and his son. Even though in the film or by the example of the real Chris Gardner, he seems to yearn for a life of luxury, stadium box seats, and the kind of sports car he stopped to compliment in one of the scenes. His desires aren’t jumping upwardly mobile, they are materialistically unbound. Instead of a starter home or a mansion, Steven Conrad wondered maybe that’s why Chris hoped to becoming a stock broker. Dragis illustrating the thoughts of Steven Conrad the writer of the film, and since the film is based on a true event and explains the struggles of Chris Gardner and his story, this movie proves the old saying you must live through struggles to make it to the top is more than a figurative of speech, it’s just a way of life and nothing in life comes free and if it does, it comes with a very heavy price.

While viewing an article based on debt from the Nation by Gar Alperovitz, Alperovitz argues “Deeping economic and social pain are producing the conditions from which new forms of democratization can emerge.” (21) Implying that quote means the economy and the so called American Dream are not really the dreams you wake up to. This system is a process and to further any accomplishments for yourself, you can’t rely on the government to make changes. Though the economy are constantly going changes Such as unemployment, poverty, global warming, and people in debt. Knowing the economic system is dominated by powerful corporate institutions. We are aware that the political issues are not simply that our situation is worrisome. It is that the nation’s most pressing problems are built into the structure of the system. They are not unique to the current economic slump or the result of partisan bickering, something passing in the night that will go away when we elect forward-looking leaders and pressure them to move in a different direction. Not only has the economy been stagnating for a long time, but for the average family, things have been a bit of a project trying to develop a better strategy that would   decrease the numbers of debt in the U.S. economy.

         Another review that I found on the website by one of the reviewers by the name of James Berardinelli. He expresses his dislikes of the movie, he saying "you would think of the movie title and think that it begins with "the Pursuit of Happyness" the movie should seem more real and expected the characters to get into the promise land. Even though they do most of the time, but if the journey matters more than the destination, this is a movie skip. "The Pursuit of Happyness" is long, and dull, and straight depressing. It expands into two hours a story that could have been told more effectively in one. This is not the feel good cheer can redeem 110 minutes of gloom." Berardinelli is trying to say even though this story based on Chris Gardner's life Hollywood still pin points and exaggerates the main idea of the movie there is still a piece that's just not real.

        My point here is whatever problems or struggles you are going through to get out of the struggles of being in debt, trying to support your family and also trying to make it in Corporate America like Chris Gardner or just an ordinary job, should interest those who are trying to make it or be successful in whatever they put their mind to, or whatever debts that an holding them back. Beyond this limited audience, however, my point should appeal to anyone who cares about the larger issue of being in debt or has debt controlling their every move.

 Summing it all up debt is a state of financial circumstances that could take just about a life time to try and fix. You may find yourself having to work multiple jobs just to get rid of the circumstances you are in due to you being in debt, because when certain companies want their money they are going to hunt you down until they get what you owe them.

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