The Effects Of Social Roles On Ordinary People Essay

The Effects Of Social Roles On Ordinary People Essay

Length: 805 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

When one shoots and kills an intruder in her home, is it considered murder or self defense? When a soldier shoots and kills a man, is he defending his country and following orders, or he is committing murder? These are questions raised by A Few Good Men, a 1992 film by Rob Riener. When Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and Pfc. Louden Downey are given orders to give Pfc. William Santiago a code red, they accidentally take it too far and kill him. They are then placed on trial for murder, but are they really guilty? Though many people would consider Dawson and Downey to be sadistic or even ruthless for what they did to Santiago, Zimbardo in “The Stanford Prison Experiment” and Milgram in “The Perils of Obedience” explain how they are simply ordinary men who reacted to their environment and the intense authority figures in their lives.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was an experiment headed by Philip Zimbardo to study the effects of social roles on ordinary people. He found that when a person is labeled with some kind of social role, they begin to form themselves to it, however untrue it may be. In A Few Good Men, for example, Dawson and Downey refuse to plead guilty and take the plea bargain as Kaffee suggests, because they feel it 's against their code, “Unit, Core, God, Country,” to take the easy way out. Both Dawson and Downey knew that giving a Code Red to a peer is illegal and morally wrong, however they both wholeheartedly thought that what they were doing was their job, and that they did nothing wrong. Dawson explains his reasoning to Kaffee when he says “What do we do then, sir? We joined the corps 'cause we wanted to live our lives by a certain code. And we found it in the Corps. And now you 're asking us to sign a piece of...

... middle of paper ...

... people had a lack of confidence in themselves, seeing some kind of deficiency they could never show, so they continued to conform with the group. Similarly, Downey’s lack of confidence enabled him to go with Dawson to deliver the punishment; he had never been directly ordered to give Santiago a Code Red. However, to say no would have been going against someone who, to him, was the epitome of a Marine: strong, hardworking, obedient; To say no would have been disobedient, something looked down upon. If Downey had more confidence in himself, perhaps he wouldn 't have gone with Dawson. In the same way, Downey’s lack of confidence puts on a tremendous show in the courtroom when he refuses to answer the question about the Code Red without permission from Dawson. He is obviously very dependent on Dawson 's authority, perhaps because he has the confidence that Downey lacks.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Social Roles And Social Norms Essay

- Intro A real world example of how social norms and social roles shape people’s behaviour is that of the African genocide in Rwanda that left thousands dead on the account of obedience. The genocide in Rwanda could is comparable to the atrocities in the holocaust of Nazi Germany that compelled Milgram to conduct an experiment on obedience to authority (Milgram, 1963). Social roles and social norms basically give an explanation of how people’s behaviour is greatly influenced. The essay gives an account of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority....   [tags: Social psychology, Sociology, Psychology]

Strong Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

The Effects Of Social Inequality On Inner City And Low Income Neighborhoods That Help Generate Crime?

- 1.WHAT MUST BE DONE TO CHANGE THE LIVING CONDITIONS IN INNER-CITY AND LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS THAT HELP GENERATE CRIME. Several strategies that can change living conditions and reduce crime rates are education, employment, and decreased inequality. “Changes in the structure of inequality would result in changes in crime rates” (pg.284 Social Inequality). The more opportunity is granted the less likely and individual is prone to committing crimes. Additionally, the government must implement changes to the current income guidelines which denies and reduces resources for many individuals living in poverty....   [tags: Sociology, Criminology, Social status, Poverty]

Strong Essays
1636 words (4.7 pages)

The Roles of Ethics and Social Responsibilities Essays

- Introduction This reflection highlights the roles of ethics and social responsibilities when developing a strategic plan and the importance of stakeholders during this process. Incorporating the discussed roles will allow a strategic plan to function successfully. Finally, a personal perspective toward ethics will be shared. In general, ethics and social responsibilities plays a role by allowing a business to operate effectively, generate an honest profit, maximize social benefits, increase the confidence of the public, strengthen the relationship with stakeholders, provide an effective framework for conducting business, add value to the business image, etc....   [tags: General Roles, Legal Roles]

Strong Essays
954 words (2.7 pages)

Culture Is Ordinary, by Raymond Williams Essay

- According to Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of “culture” is “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. On the other hand, accroding to Raymond Williams, it is more complicated. However, ther is something that is certain: Culture is ordinary, which happens to be the title of an article he wrote to define and explain what culture is. In his article “Culture Is Ordinary”, Raymond Williams defines culture, based on his knowledge, and experience –which would, as he defines, would be his culture....   [tags: Culture Is Ordinary Essays]

Strong Essays
1076 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on The Ego and Despair in Ordinary People

- The Ego and Despair in Ordinary People Ordinary People by Judith Guest is the story of a dysfunctional family who relate to one another through a series of extensive defense mechanisms, i.e. an unconscious process whereby reality is distorted to reduce or prevent anxiety. The book opens with seventeen year old Conrad, son of upper middle-class Beth and Calvin Jarrett, home after eight months in a psychiatric hospital, there because he had attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. His mother is a meticulously orderly person who, Jared, through projection, feels despises him....   [tags: Ordinary People]

Strong Essays
1497 words (4.3 pages)

Gender Roles in "The Awakening" Essay

- Gender Roles in The Awakening The 1890’s were an era of rapid social change in regards to women’s rights. In 1893, Colorado was the first state granting women the right to vote with Utah and Idaho following soon after in 1896. This soon set momentum towards of ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. It was in 1899 the Kate Chopin published The Awakening, a novel telling the tale of a suppressed mother, Edna Pontellier, and her desire for something more in her life. Literary scholars consider Chopin’s The Awakening as a subtle yet effective portrayal of women of the late 19th century and consider it as an important piece of the feminism movement....   [tags: Gender Roles]

Strong Essays
943 words (2.7 pages)

Free College Essays - Hardships in Ordinary People

- Ordinary People - Hardships The theme of Ordinary People can be said best in the words of Honi Werner, " Some things cannot be foreseen or understood or blamed on anyone- they can just be endured. Love, openly shared, is the only thing one can count on to give them strength for that endurance.”  Ordinary People gives a wonderful example of real life and addresses many internal conflicts. This story about a boy's recovery after his brother's death is extremely engrossing and captivating....   [tags: Ordinary People]

Free Essays
1966 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on Ordinary Men by Browning

- Ordinary Men by Browning The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 were just ordinary men, from a variety of backgrounds, education, and age. It would appear that they were not selected by any force other than random chance. Their backgrounds and upbringing, however, did little to prepare these men for the horrors they were to witness and participate in. The group was made up of both citizens and career policemen. Major Wilhelm Trapp, a career policeman and World War I veteran headed the battalion....   [tags: Browning Ordinary Men Essays]

Strong Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

The Psychological Effects of Gender Roles Essay

- The Psychological Effects of Gender Roles “Let the boys be boys.” You’ve heard this phrase before. Often repeated by parents regarding their little boys. So what makes a boy, a boy. Rambo like characteristics. Muscles. Short hair. Wearing blue. Wearing T-shirts and jeans or playing with sporting equipment. Well last I remember, the main characteristics boys shared were penises. The role gender association play in the lives of our children can sometimes affect them negatively. The messages that gender roles send, is that in order to be part of society, you must fit into the norm or the status quo or most importantly what society deems as acceptable....   [tags: Gender Roles Equality Psychology Essays]

Strong Essays
2072 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on Striving for Emotional Perfection in Ordinary People

- Striving for Emotional Perfection in Ordinary People Throughout the life cycle, a person undergoes many changes.  One matures both physically and emotionally as time passes.  Emotional growth is quite often more difficult than physical growth.  A person must realize his faults and admit to them before he can develop emotionally, while one does not need any self-analyzation to develop physically.  In her book Ordinary People, Judith Guest depicts the struggles man must experience in order to reach his ideal emotional perfection.  Conrad, the book's protagonist, and his father Calvin, were both searching for higher levels of emotional health....   [tags: Ordinary People]

Strong Essays
1856 words (5.3 pages)