Term Paper: America by John Debrizzi

Pages: 6 (1805 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy for $19.77

¶ … America by John Debrizzi. What makes this a bit more difficult is that Debrizzi is a sociologist. To properly understand the novel, one must understand the social theory behind it. Therefore, we will first consider the theoretical implications, specifically Debrizzi's working out of Mills dichotomy between individual and society. In this, we will consider how the Marxist dialectic and alienation from the means of production apply. Finally, we will consider the novel, particularly the relationship between Moses Shabalala and America Huerta. These two individuals represent not only economic alimentation, but also individual alienation from each other. They not only have to cross the white color barrier, but also the cultural and color barriers of their various subcultures. Only then will the "workers" (i.e., humanity) unite to make a better society and a better world. In this way, they become connected and end the alienation of human beings from each other and from their surroundings.

In writing the Sociological Imagination, Mills was trying to reconcile two individual and society. He thereby challenged the dominant sociological discourse in order to define some of its basic terms premises behind definitions. Mills felt that the central task for sociologists was to find and also articulate the connections between the particular social environments of individuals interfacing with the wider social and historical forces in the milieu in which they find themselves. His approach questions the structural functionalist approach to sociology because it opens new positions for the individual with regard to the larger social infrastructure. Mills also wrote of the danger of malaise, seeing this as inevitable in modern societies. This led him to question whether individuals exist in modern societies in the sense that "individual" is commonly understood (Mills, pp 7-12).

H. Spencer's reactionary ideas of survival of the fittest were well disposed to justify the capitalist reality of America. Robber barons used Spencer's philosophy to justify many actions against workers and the lower classes. Spencer's philosophy was typical of classical liberalism and was used to run rough-shod over the rights of workers in not only labor disputes, but in other situations as well where the interests of the rich were threatened by the actions of the poor.

Such tendencies as above were what Mills was fulminating against. What are more important are Marx's concepts of alienated labor, applied not just to labor but to individual social situations outside of the workplace. Correctly, Marx identified the premier place of economics to the center of our existence and the disconnect between our labor and the control of wealth and its creation via the means of production. To realize his new world, individuals have to be educated to see their individual destinies in the context of the surrounding society. Like the old saying, we need to "act locally and think globally" or at least nationally. By doing this, sociology becomes not just an abstract study, but a blueprint to make society on a more humane basis.

This paper will examine two major concepts of Marxist, firstly historical materialism and secondly alienation. These two concepts are controversial and misunderstood. It is necessary to re-examine Marx's thought and develop a better understanding of them. While the economic aspects of his concepts of alienation have been analyzed foremost, the concept is much broader than that. According to Marx, humans are alienated from nature and from the world and the social relations they have created. Marx is fuzzy as to what the exact cause of alienation is. In some of his writings, he traces the roots of alienation to the ownership of private property. In other writings, he says that private property is not the source of it. Whichever it is, Marx unites economics with the Hegelian concept of alienation. In terms of the individual, alienation consists of individuals that do not fulfill themselves in their work. Because the work is imposed on them to fulfill the needs of others, the correctly feel that they are exploited and debased. Even workers who are paid well for their work share in this alienation. If they can not directly enjoy the fruits of their labors, they are dismayed that others are enjoying the fruits of their labors and they see their work as meaningless to them (Velasquez, p. 667).

In Marx's view, because workers are alienated, they can not be free. While they may "enjoy" the superficial trappings of political and social freedoms such as the appearance of freedoms of speech, religion and self-governance that are the province of classical liberalism, this is not real. Freedom from government interference/persecution will not necessarily guarantee freedom from economic exploitation and repression (ibid, 668). While Marx may seem to be far from the fundamentals of America, the founding fathers of the United States put the power of the purse strings in the power of the people by placing it in the hands of the Congress. At a base level, they understood that economic control meant real control. Therefore in an equitable society, individuals must control their economic destinies to be free. Such knowledge moves thinking individuals to shake off these shackles in their quest to gain this freedom.

Appropriately, John Debrizzi is a sociologist. He is also a premier scholar of Marxism as well as sociology. Without a doubt, he weaves all of these concepts of alienation into his literary work as well to increase the social conscience of the reader and to further their political and social education. Where he expands upon this is that he applies the theory of Mills to bridge the gap where Marx is "fuzzy," specifically what are the cultural causes of the alienation. Marx was not a romantic. John a. Debrizzi is. After all, economy is a human creation. It is an outgrowth of human culture and the Hegelian dialectic of alienation needs to be explored further to come up with a coherent social theory which will not only explain the causes of alienation but also their solution. The Marxian solution is to eliminate private property and the selfish impulses that come with it.

In the context of Mills work, John Debrizzi's America fits in very well.

Is even the most powerful man in America free to do what he wants and to love who he wants? Is he just the sum total of the culture that exploited him and the subculture that raised him? America tells the story of young America Huerta, an inspirational young woman who makes her own way in life and gets into public service via this unique route.. Out to change the world, she may find the ability to do so as her acts seem to put her on a road to meeting the President of the United States. Moses Shabalala, the first African-American President. Afterwards, he makes decisions that move the nation in unanticipated directions after meeting America Huerta for the first time.

Huerta is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and she embodies values and ideals embedded within the history and culture of the United States that time had remained unrealized. A magical yet realist dream of a better with her and lover leads America towards a better future. It helps to resolve the crises afflicting the country and result in the rebirth of a nation and the dawn of America as a new society. Debrizzi has written a love story. However, he has also written a vision of utopia within the plot that casts a bright light on the contemporary problems that plague the United States. The bottom line of the story centers around the daughter of Mexican immigrants meets the first black president, Moses Shabalala. The answers the book gives pave a path to the rebirth of a nation and a new dawn for society. This love story bridges the Hegelian and gap between their social origins and where their future lies: "Moses, since we've dispensed with formality, may I ask that you come from behind that desk and sit nearer me. There shouldn't be a barrier between us... And I promise I won't bite." Smiling again, he nodded and took the chair adjacent to hers. A coffee table was in place before them already with appropriate food and drink atop it....Leaning forward again, the president put things to her as plainly as he could. "Things haven't been worse... ever. No one admits it publicly, but it looks to become worse than the depression of the 1930s. Now, to be truthful, I've never heard of the One Big Union until now, but it's evident it's a serious organization and you are its leader. Young though you may be, you're an important person (Debrizzi, p. 43)."

The president takes the country into a new direction due to his relationship with the young lady. In the spirit of C. Wright Mills, the president connects his personal experiences to social policies that are to part of his administration. In this way, sociology is not just an academic pursuit or even an activist pursuit. It is part of Moses Shabalala's personal live and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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