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Sociology and Req. For a Dream
ARequiem for a Dream@ takes sociological deviation to the extreme. Deviation is defined as behaviors which do not conform to significant norms held by most members of a society or group. This movie uses drugs as the deviation and shows how it destroys the four main character's lives. Harry and his girlfriend start out as ambitious young adults with dreams of starting their own clothing store. Tyrone just wants happiness with his girlfriend. Lastly Sara Goldfarb, Harry's mom wants to be on television. The three friends end alone, with nothing but their addiction to heroin and Sara is committed to an asylum because of the effects of the speed she uses to lose weight in order to be on TV. There are many specific sociological principles that apply to things that happen within deviant subcultures. This movie illustrates a good many of them in fine detail. This paper is going to discuss most of these terms and apply them to the tragic lives of the people portrayed in this movie.
The movie starts out with primary deviation, which is the deviant act itself. Within the first one fifth of the movie Harry, Tyrone, and Marian are all portrayed doing Auppers@, an illegal drug that gives users a boost of energy. Also vocabulary of motives is shown in the first portion of the movie. Tyrone's language is different than the rest of the character=s, and he uses it in his subculture of friends to discuss their motives to sell heroin and beliefs that money is the key to happiness. However, the deviant subculture starts to develop when Harry and Tyrone start selling heroin. They form a group that believes that heroin is the only way to make a living. Harry comments about how Agreat it is out there@, referring to when he's selling drugs, and exclaims that Aeveryone's thirsty out This subculture not only condones the selling of drugs, but takes joy in feeding other people's addiction to heroin. As well Harry and Tyrone both live with their girlfriends and it is very obvious that they are involved in sexual intercourse with each other Society as a whole however looks upon these views with disgust. To their subculture however these beliefs and values make up their entire lives. As a result of them selling, they also start using the drug and differential association starts to occur. Eventually their entire life revolves around it, and the people they know who use it as well. They also start their differential association at this point, and only associate themselves with each other. When Harry finally goes to see his mother, it is after a very long period of time, and Marian talks about having not been going to her psychologist lately. Outside of buyers, suppliers, and each other however they make little contact with other people, which is the definition of differential association. Obviously the role engulfment for these three is the usage of heroin. This is the process that facilitates isolation of a person from main stream. The technique of normalization, or the actions by which a person becomes a part of a deviation in social behavior is the selling and using of heroin. However not portrayed in the movie, a character contest develops between Harry and Tyrone. Each of these characters start withholding a small portion of money at a time from each other. They are both individually competing with each other to make more money. Their subculture has instilled in them that money is one of the most important things. Although they share most of the money they get, when their addiction for heroin becomes more intense they are also convinced that this is the other most important thing. They both withhold more and more from each other in order to have the most of the most important things ingrained in them by their subculture and differential association with only themselves and those around them Concurrent with Harry and Tyrone selling drugs, Sara switches from her grapefruit diet to speed pills in order to lose weight. This is an example of a techniques of neutralization which is the process of hardening ones attitudes, perspective and involvement in society and social norms. Harry goes to visit his mother and tries to warn her about how dangerous the pills are, she however does not listen. Her attitude is hardened because she only sees the weight loss and thinks that there is nothing wrong with the medication. Her account, or legitimation for this drug use is that she is going to be on television. She tells all her friends that she is going to be on T.V. And that she got the pills from a specialist and this is her information control.. She hides that she is on a dangerous and addictive drug that will ruin her life by glossing over it and focusing on the result, not the process by which she achieves her goals. This part also shows stabilization. Because of their differential association Harry has no idea that his mom has started taking uppers. By the time he goes to see her, she is already very addicted to them. If he had stopped the differential association the stabilization had stopped he could have saved her, but everything only gets worse, as does her condition and there is nothing he can do. During this scene he is also exhibited his courtesy stigma. He tells his mother he is a distributor and is dressed in very nice clothes. He also tells her he is going to buy her a television and that he has a girlfriend. He uses all these to cover up his stigma and convince his mom he is doing the right thing. In his mind everything is alright, however if she knew the truth and his stigma was revealed she would be devastated. This is as well a covering technique to keep his mom from knowing about what he is doing.
The next portion of the movie is after Harry and Tyrone's supplier for heroin is killed in front of Tyrone. They get to a point where they have nowhere to get heroin to sell and all their money is going to. Marion has to go to her psychologist to get money for them to obtain some heroin that is coming in straight from Florida. Harry knows that she has to sleep with him and is tormented by it in a riveting portion of the movie. This is when deviance disavowal occurs. This is an action that helps a person disavow or deny the existence of a disruptive behavior. Marion going to sleep with her psychologist is the behavior and Harry is left all alone. He sits at home and uses heroin to ignore the thought in the back of his mind that his girlfriend is essentially cheating on him. When she comes home, he and she both ignore it. She wants to avoid it, however he is so wasted that he is actually able to. This is also an example of selective enforcement. Harry would normally not tolerate his girlfriend sleeping with another man however he does not enforce this value because he needs to feed his deviant behavior. When they go to get the heroin from the dealer from Florida, they are in a large group of people that all want drugs. This is a form of collective stigma management. He is in a group, so it is collective and because all of them are there for the same thing, there is no stigma applied to any of them. He could have continued to try and get drugs elsewhere, however he chooses to go to a big exchange where there are lots of people, trying to get the same thing at the same time. Simultaneously amplification occurs for Sara. She starts taking the speed pills, not once at a time three times a day, but four or five a time three times a day. She starts to see herself in the TV, and eventually the illusions come out of the TV. This eventually becomes a norm for her as the pills lose their potency and the effects of them start to increase in her everyday life. Within the other characters= world contamination occurs. Harry and Tyrone have been selling to get drugs and score weight@ but they cannot get anything anymore and Harry starts to impress on Marian to get it. He sends her to Big Tim@ who will only give the heroin up for sexual interactions with females. The boys= deviant behavior of obtaining heroin leaks over into her life as Harry and Tyrone leave for Florida to try and find better drugs. Unfortunately for Harry and Tyrone racism is strong in the south and they get arrested for the heroin they are obviously using. Bureaucratization in this case is a little twisted because the police officers want to put themselves above African-Americans and people who associate themselves with them. So…[continue]
"Sociology And Req For A Dream Arequiem" (2003, December 08) Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/sociology-and-req-for-a-dream-arequiem-160669
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"Sociology And Req For A Dream Arequiem", 08 December 2003, Accessed.24 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/sociology-and-req-for-a-dream-arequiem-160669