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Management

Job Satisfaction and Organizational Socialization: A Review of the Literature, With Special Application to Higher Education

Introduction/Overview

The importance of organizational socialization and job satisfaction is well recognized in the literature. Organizational socialization is the process by which a new employee becomes a part of their organization. This necessarily means induction into the organization’s culture, including informal mores and behaviors as well as formal ones. An employee’s success in the organizational socialization process will determine much of their success in the organization as a whole. The construct is similar to, but distinct from, job satisfaction, a construct that describes attitudes about one’s workplace. Job satisfaction is in some ways a more difficult construct to define, and it has even been suggested that it is a different construct from job dissatisfaction, as will be seen.

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Literature

Apartheid in Mother to Mother and A Dry White Season

The concept of apartheid represents a very large stain on the pages of British and Dutch history books, where Britain’s is not even otherwise clean. Although it’s socio-economic implications were typical of global thought at the inception of the system, the fact that it continued until being quashed by none other than Nelson Mandella in the 1990’s is appalling. The classification of people into racial groups, and segregating them as a government policy dates to the 1940’s, however its informal practice has roots in the original colonization of Africa by Western powers, dating back centuries.

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Literature

Antigone and Creon

The tensions between Anitgone and Creon make up the central narrative of Sophocles’ play Antigone: Creon, King of Thebes, after political struggles against his opponents, decides to enact revenge on his political opponent Polynices by refusing Polynices a proper burial after death. Antigone, engaged to Creon’s son, and also sister of Polynices, decides to violate the King’s order and bury her brother: this leads to her own punishment, being sealed off in a cave, where she ultimately takes her own life.

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Literature

Case study of Apartheid in South Africa

1.

At the beginning of the film “A Dry White Season,” school teacher Ben du Toit, who is white, is approached by his gardener who is asking for his help. The gardener’s son has been beaten by police, and the gardener asks Ben to help him. Ben declines, believing that the son must have done something to deserve his punishment. It is clear that Ben does not see the Apartheid system the same way that the gardener does, and seems content to believe that the system is a good one. After the gardener’s son later dies in police custody, Ben’s feelings about the system begin to change, and he takes up a legal battle on behalf of the gardener’s family. The film serves as a coming-of-age story for Ben, as his growing awareness of the brutality and unfairness of the Apartheid system drives him deeper into his legal fight while also driving a wedge between Ben and his family.

As Ben enlists the help of an attorney in his battle, the distance between himself and his family grows wider. It is clear that his wife and daughter do not share his changing views, although his son does support his cause. Ben becomes more and more disillusioned as his career and his family life are torn apart by his involvement in the legal battle. In the end Ben pays the ultimate price for having fought against the system, as he has lost his job, alienated himself from his friends and lost most of his family. This is a difficult thing to watch, and is hardly a happy ending. The film shows that standing up for what is right can be dangerous and will not always turn out for the best.

2.

The first line of the novel “Mother to Mother” says simply: “my son killed your daughter.” It is written from the point of view of a mother whose son commits a terrible crime, and the opening introduction to the novel reads as if it is a letter written from the mother of the killer to the mother of the girl he killed. After the brief introduction, the story’s perspective shifts backwards in time, before the young girl was killed, but maintains the point of view of the mother of Mxolisi, the boy who kills the young girl. The story picks up two days before the events that end in the girl’s death, and describes both some specific details about the way Mxolisi and others in the book spend those days as well as offering insight into the mother’s life as she grew up under the system of Apartheid.

The structure of the story allows the naarator to reveal her feelings about the murder, about her son, and about his victim, slowly and deliberately. While she has already acknowledged to the mother of the young girl who she is, and has also acknowledged her son’s guilt, she does not offer significant details about the murder itself until near the end of the book. This is done for two reasons: the first is that it fits within the narrative of telling the events of the story as they unfolded from the narrator’s perspective; second, it allows the drama and the tension to build up over the course of the book. Both mothers in “Mother to Mother” are well aware that the murder has taken place. By waiting to recount the events of the murder until the end of the story, the Mxolisi’s mother has a chance to offer some insight into what her life and her son’s life have been like under Apartheid. This may not garner any sympathy for her or her son, but it does at least give her the chance to explain some of the factors on their lives that led Mxolisi to become the young man he became, and to do what he did.

3.

In “Mother to Mother,” one of the central themes of the book is the effect that the system of Apartheid had on those who suffered under it. At the beginning of the story, after Mandisa has addressed the mother of the young girl directly, she describes what it is like to start the day in her home while also imagining what the girl’s day was like. At Mandisa’ s home, she struggles to get the children fed and ready for the day, knowing that she will soon have to leave for work. She also knows that she will be home long after they have finished school, and she warns them that they better be inside when she gets home. As she is preparing for her day, she describes the young girl waking up in her home, and taking a leisurely shower and eating breakfast before returning to bed where she settles in to do some reading and studying.

It is immediately clear, even before Mandisa offers any details about the events of the coming days, and her discovery that her son has killed someone, that white people and black people in South Africa lead very different lives. The girl has a life of relative privilege (even though she has dedicated herself to causes she feels are important) while Mandisa has a difficult time feeding and caring for her family, and must take a job working long hours for a white family to make ends meet.

Throughout the story, Mandisa offers examples of the suffering she and the people of Guguletu endure at the hands of the police and the government. Mandisa had dreams of getting an education, but these dreams were interrupted by her pregnancy, and she soon found herself trapped in the same cycle of poverty that trapped everyone she knew. She also realized that her children were just as caught up in this trap as she was, and that there was nothing she could do about it. Mandisa recognizes that what her son did may almost have been inevitable; when she claims that the “resentment of three hundred years plugged his ears,” she was describing to the readers –and to the other mother- how her son was just one small figure swept up by the centuries of oppression her people had suffered.

 

Categories
Literature

Murder in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Macbeth is also perhaps one of his most violent; although the plots of these tragedies often revolve around a murder, there are three murders in particular that stick out to compare and contrast with regards to justification and honor–Lady Macbeth’s orchestration of the murder of Duncan and the following murders of the chamberlains by Macbeth himself would be by Shakespearean standards dishonorable, however, the suicide of Lady Macbeth herself can be seen as an honorable murder.

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Literature

Study Questions: “Mister Johnson” and Things Fall Apart

While the main characters in “Mister Johnson” and Things Fall Apart are very different in terms of the cultural practices that they adhere to, they have some similarities as well. The most obvious is that each character ends up dead at the end of the story; along with that, both characters display selfishness and a lack of concern for how their actions affect others. One of them ends up dead because of a criminal penalty, while the other commits suicide. At the end of his life, Johnson has been convicted of murder by the very government he revered so greatly. After his suicide, Okonkwo is rejected by his own people, who will not even touch his corpse; they leave that up to the district commissioner to deal with.

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Literature

A Long Way Gone and Blood Diamond Essay

Blood Diamond, the critically acclaimed blockbuster that dealt with the bloody Civil War over diamonds that took place is Sierra Leone is a work of fiction that centered on Danny Archer–played by Leonardo DiCaprio–a mercenary soldier turned diamond smuggler. By comparison, A Long Way Gone, is a true memoir written by Ishmeal Beah recounting the exact same Civil War. Due to paralleling themes, the extreme element of truth in Blood Diamond, as well as paralleling experiences, both works were equally effective in projecting the theme of Civil Wars in Africa fueled and funded by child soldiers.

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English

New England Literature & Culture

PART ONE

            A Model of Christian Charity by John Winthrop (1630). One of the major arguments of Winthrop is to create a new society in America. Based on religious ethical concerns and rules, he lays down the foundation of the society that acts as an example of good Christianity. The use of the word “charity” in the script is taken as it is used in the King James Bible; meaning “love” or “Christian love”. Therefore, the idea of Christian love is based on following the example of Jesus. Helping people who are unable to help themselves is one of the main traits of Jesus, and Winthrop believes that by implementing this view and putting it into action in the New England society, emphasizing the ethical views if the puritan society in America. By stating that “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a   by-word through the world.” (Winthrop)

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Literature

What Makes Gatsby Great?

The Great Gatsby was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous story- written in 1925. The tale tells the story of a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby after being inspired by the lavish parties and high-end lifestyle of some of the people he met in New York. Jay Gatsby, the main character of the story, is a young, mysterious millionaire with shady business connections and a luxurious lifestyle. The story The Great Gatsby is “about the breakdown of class differences in the face of a modern economy based not on status and inherited position but on innovation and an ability to meet ever-changing consumer needs” (Gillespie, 2010). Gatsby is a complicated character whose his greatness lies in his ability to throw lavish parties, attract mass amounts of people to his mysterious mansion, and deceive many through his false personas and multiple personalities.

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Literature

Letter from Gogol

Dear Maxine,

Hello, it’s me, Nikhil. I am writing to you after all this time to apologize to you for the way things happened between us when we broke up, and to explain to you a little bit about me so you will hopefully understand why I did some of the things I did. I always felt really bad about how our relationship ended, and I don’t feel like I ever really told you some of the things I was dealing with when we split, or some of the things I had to deal with when I was growing up. Because of my heritage I have spent a lot of my life trying to figure out who I am, and how I fit in with American culture even though I  am come from a background that is very different from the way a lot of people I know grew up.

Categories
Literature

Beah and Blood Diamond Study Question

  1. Explain Ishmael’s cultural reference to the moon—“We must strive to be strong like the moon.”  What does the old man in his village mean?  Identify and explain at least two other culturally specific references to Ishmael’s native traditions.
  2. Explain 2-3 major difficulties that Ishmael faces getting ready for his first NYC trip.
  3. In Blood Diamond what is Maddy investigating? Do you think her journalistic perspective will be successful or not?  Explain and provide evidence to support your reasoning.
Categories
Literature

The Portrayed “African” and Western Colonialism

Throughout Western literature and cinema, it is true that the proverbial “African” has been made a stereotype—in some ways romanticized, and in others almost as bystanders to their own destiny. In addition to this idea, and going along with it as well, is the use of Africa, and even “Africans” as a people, as nothing more than background, props for the manipulation of Western journalism and media. As an almost universal rule, Western views and policy with regards to imperialism and colonialism are exactly on point with the way Africa is portrayed as in the media—mainly as an “exotic” and fitting background for a story as in The Snows of Kilimanjaro as well as The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, though the latter proves an excellent, though somewhat indirect, example of Western colonialism during the time period.

Africa, for hundreds of years, had been looked upon as a land of undeveloped heathens—when Western Europeans first landed there, they exhibited the same behavior as they did toward the Native Americans when they crossed the Atlantic. The native people, because of their perceived status as unintelligent (due partly to the language barrier, partly to the lack of technological advancements, and mostly to racism), as well as submissive when bullets became involved, the continent has always been looked at, and used, for its resources.

The explosion of the exploitation of the resources of the African continent in the early to mid 20th century was not a new idea—the slave trade between Western nations, where Africans were moved like cattle onto over-crowed ships, where they could look forward to being either sold or auctioned, followed by unquestioned servitude for the rest of his or her days. The West had already seen that it took minimal effort to exploit the continent as a whole, which truly fueled the train of thought Hemingway showed in both of his short stories.

Even after slavery was outlawed in the Western world, the exploitation of the continent far from ceased. Whether the the product in demand was first slaves, then gold, and ivory, and oil, and now diamonds, the African continent had an abundance, without any military might to prevent the exploitation. Naturally, as it had been for ages, the West, and really namely England, France, and the United States (followed by Russia a little later) colonized places such as Sierra Leone, Somalia, and South Africa.

The social stratification in British-owned South Africa made the continent a popular place for explorers, hunters, as well as anyone trying to make fast money in the early 20th century. British claims to the region made it more popular amongst white people looking for a safari or a hunt, without the perceived danger that goes along with it. Nowhere better is this idea illustrated than in Hemingway’s The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber.

In this story, the main characters of Francis and Margaret Macomber are on a big-game hunting safari in Africa. They are led by their guide, Robert Wilson; keeping in mind that all three of them are white people. After Francis is scared by a wounded, charging lion and freezes up, his wife calls him a “coward”, and promptly has an overt affair with their guide. Even looking at the story this far in illustrates many main points.

The first point is naturally Africa as a backdrop. As was consistent with colonialism, many Westerners took advantage of the imperialism for purposes of safari or hunt. The largest issue with regards to this, is the virtual playground the West used Africa as. These “exotic” excursions to Africa, which still continue to this day, turns third-world countries, and the people that inhabit them, into museum exhibits—the proverbial rich Westerners sit safely in their car, while they are not as much in an exotic place, as they are in someone else’s land and property. Most Americans would not appreciate an African in a Range Rover pulling up on their front lawn, taking pictures of them through their windows.

Moving forward in the story, specifically the events leading up to the death of Francis, Hemingway illustrates and highlights social injustices, perhaps without meaning to at all. The internal conflict between the three—Francis, his wife, and the guide—becomes a central theme of the story. Keeping in mind they are on safari in perhaps one of the most impoverished places in the world, their internal conflict can also be seen, and adequately judged as a juxtaposition for the broader picture.

Of course it is disheartening to see a man called out as a coward in by his wife, and then even more sad to see his own wife cheat so obviously and up front with another man. This is another horrible age-old story, that whether it be through movies, witness, or personal experience that people of all ages would have no problem relating to. Again, looking at the broader picture of the state of the African continent at the time—the social, economic, and political injustices that existed, and still exist, quite heavily in the African continent, this internal conflict is very small. It is possible that Hemingway used this juxtaposition for dramatic effect, to otherwise highlight these injustices. Either way, it is applicable.

There is another idea that somewhat parallels the former paragraph, and in fact that they are the direct details surrounding the death of Francis. While standing his ground, and firing at the buffalo charging him, he misses. His wife, watching the situation from the car, takes aim, and fires a shot in a last ditch attempt to save her husband. Instead of hitting the charging animal, she strikes her husband in the head and kills him. This is another idea that calls out Western colonialism—the irony surrounding the death of Francis. There with his wife to hunt big game with guns, reflective of how the African continent was taken over by the West as a whole, it is a gun that ironically leads to Francis’s death. In essence, instead of being a less than adequate hunter, Francis very quickly became the hunted. This irony works much the same way as the juxtaposition did—it forced the readers attention to a counter-argument, and thus highlighting true Western feelings toward African and Africans; probably not something Hemingway intended.

With regards to the story The Snows of Kilimanjaro, also written by Ernest Hemingway and set in the African continent, further provides examples that the African people have been largely ignored, but instead used as props, with the continent itself as a living set. Harry was a writer in the middle of his memoirs, also on exotic safari in Africa. It is clear that his wife, whom he grows to resent over the course of the story, is a materialistic person, obsessed with high society, and seemingly wealthy. In this story, the internal conflict Harry faces is actually an extension of the broader issue as a whole—a genius concept Hemingway uses to truly hammer home his point.

Instead of a lion or buffalo being the attacker, so to speak, but actually a would he had sustained from a thorn that had since become infected. The reader is taken through the mind of Harry, and his movement to the realization that although he had experienced a great many things, as a writer, he documented very few. He also began to resent his wife and the high society socialite crowd that he claimed had distracted him from the regular person, with whom he seems to better relate to.

Keeping in mind Harry is in Africa, it is likely he went on the safari as so many wealthy Westerners did. By illustrating this idea, Hemingway conceptualizes that the materialistic society Harry allowed himself to be sucked into, eventually led to his death. The idea of treating Africans, both on and off the continent itself, as equals has been a hard idea to swallow for many Western nations. This idea is actually shown very clearly in the film “The Ghost and the Darkness”–the theme of white man’s burden, or saving Africa “from Africans” shows the embedded racist thoughts that have prevailed for so long.

The current civil wars that rage throughout the continent now is an exact indication that Western  colonialism directly parallels the train of thought exemplified in Hemingway’s two stories—the idea of exploitation of the African continent by the wealthy of Western nations.

Categories
Literature

True Power through Denial of Power: Renunciation as Core Value in Harry Potter

Introduction

K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, aside from being a cultural phenomenon, are typically viewed as life-affirming works which inculcate values of responsibility and ethical behavior in their readers of all ages. There is certainly a “fabulous” quality to them, in that they reflect traditions of fable wherein human virtues overcome dark forces.  Then, given the number and complexity of the series, there is ample room for many human attributes and failings to be presented as shaping character and directing events.  Throughout the entire story, however, there is a distinct message or ideology at the heart of Harry’s adventures, and one reaching fruition in the final conflict: that of Harry’s goodness arising, not from action necessarily, but by a consistent unwillingness to advance his own personal interests and an equal commitment to achieving the modest satisfactions of living as a decent human being.  In J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories, renunciation is the ultimate guiding principle by which the true power to live happily is granted.

Argument

     That renunciation of power is at the core of the Potter books is relatively easy to overlook, given the circumstances and trajectory of the earlier novels.  These establish the boy as, first and foremost, a victim, so there is an initial impetus to observe this changing as the story progresses and Harry comes into his own as a wizard.  This does occur, certainly, but in a way indicating different priorities in Harry.  From the earliest representations of Harry, he is motivated, not by a desire to gain authority or power, but to merely be accepted and permitted to lives reasonably.  His victimhood is profound; his parents were brutally murdered and he must live with relations who resent and despise him.  It would be usual, then, for the boy to develop deep-seated resentments of his own, which could be exercised through the acquisition of power.  Such power, in fact, is potentially his, as he begins his wizarding education.

Harry’s actual ambitions, however, are consistently modest.  Abused by his guardians and feeling neglected by his new school and friends, Harry is a despondent boy, but his emotional response is not that of seeking to reverse his circumstances, or even escape; rather, he craves only basic, friendly contact: “What wouldn’t he give now for a message from Hogwarts?  From any witch or wizard?”  (Rowling 8).   This is particularly telling in that, again, the boy has come to understand that he possesses great power.  Time and again, the earlier novels reveal a Harry whose chief struggle lies in only finding a means to enjoy security and minimal comforts.  In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the odious relation Aunt Marge taunts Harry into erupting in anger and using his magic, but this is against his nature.  It is only the cruelty of her abuse that draws Harry’s fire: “Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia usually encouraged Harry to stay out of their way, which Harry was only too happy to do”  (Rowling  25).   Importantly, he does not wish to attack because conflict, a necessary aspect of power, is alien to his character.  If submission is forced upon the young Harry, it is also true that his nature turns to renunciation because, essentially good, he is uninterested in overcoming his subjugated state through the use of power.

As the story progresses, it becomes more evident that the key to Harry’s character, which is reflected in his dismissals of ambition and power, is an ability to care.  His innate nature as a loving boy is his core, and so strong that it is manifested in the most demanding circumstances.  It is, moreover, a kind of “ordinariness” that affirms Harry’s trait of renunciating that which is not centered on human relations or welfare.  For example, his aunt’s intervention when his uncle seeks to evict him from the safe Dursley home triggers his care: “For the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister”  (Rowling  38).  In the midst of growing danger, and when power would be most helpful, Harry’s focus is on the plain and human, and his appreciation responds.  Rowling is essentially foreshadowing Harry’s realization of his own, true power, which is completely in contrast to that of Voldemort, or even Dumbledore.  It also seems that, lacking in typical ambition, he has difficulty in recognizing the value of his own greatest power, as when Dumbledore clarifies matters for him: “’So, when the prophecy says that I’ll have power the Dark Lord knows not, it just meant…love?’”(Rowling  509).   In a sense, he is coming to the realization that this power, based on renunciation and unconcern with the self, is the only force capable of combating the tangible power of evil.

This realization builds and has its climax in Harry’s victory, not over Voldemort, but over what he himself might take on.  Having won the right to wield the Elder wand, Harry is poised to be supremely powerful.  Moreover, as it is long established that he is good, there is no sense that he will inevitably be corrupted by it.  The actual exercise of great power, however, is not the issue, certainly for Harry.  He has consistently followed a course of denying acquisition of power, not because he fears it or is unable to gain it, but because his character comprehends the inherent conflict – and danger to all – power itself represents.  The less-than-sensational discarding of the wand emphasizes the strength of his conviction and character.  There are no grand speeches, but only a young man’s plain appraisal: “’That wand’s more trouble than it’s worth,’ said Harry”  (Rowling 749).  Ultimately, Harry gains his greatest power through the understanding that denying power over others is the stronger, better course.

Conclusion

It is certainly true that, throughout the story, Harry demonstrates any boy’s interest in being able to create change, particularly as his gifts allow him to do so in ways that protect himself and others.  He does not shy away from using power as people do in order to better shape and conduct their lives.  Given the scope of potential power of the story, however, these are meaningless demonstrations, and do not convey the true essence of both boy and tale.  This essence culminates in Harry’s discarding of the most powerful wand in existence, which reinforces his life of simply seeking to love and be loved.  It is the renunciation that crowns the pattern of renunciation marking Harry’s life, emphasizing his acceptance of “non-power,” or love, as paramount.  As Rowling’s Harry Potter stories reflect, renunciation is the chief guiding principle by which the true power to live happily is granted.

Works Cited

Rowling, J. K.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2007.  Print.

Rowling, J. K.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2005. Print.

Rowling, J. K.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  New York: Scholastic., Inc., 2004.     Print.

Rowling, J. K.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2001.       Print.

Categories
Literature

Romanticism: Ideas of Wordsworth and Keats

Born in 1770, Wordsworth William is renowned for his prowess in Romantic English poetry. According to Stillinger (88) together with Coleridge Samuel, the two men saw the start of the Romantic Age with regard to literature and poetry. Being a Cambridge graduate, he travelled to France when the French revolution was going on (Morgan 300) but it is not that he saw bloody scenes; rather it was what has been described as a revolution in terms of the romanticism and political art. The need for change was therefore sparked by the revolutionists who sought to have a leader of their own choosing. It was very clear that there was a need for change in the area of Poetry and societal acceptance of the same. Keats John (1795) belonged in the group of poets that came after Wordsworth’s time. He was therefore part of the next generation of romantic poets. He used sensual pictures in his work but it was not until his death in 1821 that people began appreciating his poetry.