Response Paper: “Precious”
Our life depends merely on social interactions among humans. Everything we are, or become, depends on social interactions within the family or outside, within the circle of acquaintances. Nonetheless, all these sociological interactions are the ones that influence the formation of a social identity. Through the prism of the film “Precious” (2009), this response paper focuses on sociological theories that explain the social behavior of the main characters in this film.
In this motion picture, Claireece Precious Jones is in the center of the picture. She is a sixteen year old girl, who is oppressed not only by her father who ran on her and her mother, but by her mother herself, the principal of her school, which she has been expelled from, and also her society. Even though she is about to have a second child from her biological father, and she is abused by her mother every day, she keeps her head high and pursues her education in an alternative school, suggested by her ex-principal. In each difficult situation, Precious is picturing herself as someone else: a Hollywood star, a singer, or a skinny white cute girl – in each of these situations she is different from what she really is, therefore, she can escape from reality in order to make her feel better. All this helps her stop all this abusive behavior and become a better person for herself and her newborn child Abdul. From sociological perspective this film covers the issue of conflict theory, functionalism, and interactionism as well.
According to the conflict theories, different kinds of inequality, such as political, gender, material, and social conflicts may affect the formation of the personality of an individual. In the film “Precious” different kinds of social conflict situations occurred at various instances. First, throughout the whole film Precious refers to herself as lacking a lot of good life due to being black and overweight, as opposed to being white skinny and pretty girl that she keeps seeing in the mirror. Second, her relationship with biological father is really intense as well. Due to the fact that she has been abused by her father since her childhood, when she is as old as 16 years old she has 2 children on her hands and a runaway parent, who does not provide any support to her and her mother. Third, as she is underage, Claireece’s mother has to adopt her own daughter in order to receive unemployment benefit. The only reason why she keeps her daughter under the roof is due to the fact that she gets to have the money for her child with the Down syndrome.
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The identity of a person depends a lot on the behavior one decides to take, or the behaviors that one has towards other individuals. For instance, Precious is being abused by her mother every day. Her mother tells her that she is worth nothing and that she is dumb, and is unable to achieve anything in her life. Despise this fact, Precious finds close friends in her school whom she is able to open up to, as well as her teacher who despite the difficulties can eventually teach her to read and write. I suppose that Precious was unable to achieve the needed level in reading and writing at school due to the fact that she has not believed in herself because of the remarks of her mother. Even though she did not want to share any information about her life with anyone, she finds the strengths to open up to her teacher and further to the social worker in the difficult moments.
The theory of interactionism propagates the dualism of causality, and follows the pattern “if … then”, therefore, predisposes a person to a predicted outcome of events in the case of occurring previous ones. In the case of Precious, the causality of events can be predicted: she was raped by her father, abused by her mother, and is being pressured by her peers at school. She is being transferred to another school, where she can be “saved” by her open-hearted teacher, who selflessly helps her in her difficult life events.
In conclusion, the film “Precious” (2009) describes a difficult life of a girl from ghetto in Harlem who with no fault of her own becomes an atrocity to the society, nonetheless, she find the strength to find her place under the sun.This film represents a rich in sociological theories illustration of a life of a simple black ghetto girl who has encountered the harsh reality of this society.