Deviance: A necessary curse in society
Deviance in the larger sense refers to the diverging from usual or acceptable standards, especially in social or sexual behaviour, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. But for our purpose of study we shall define deviance as any action by an individual (deviant) which is considered unacceptable in society. Kai Erikson’s “On the Sociology of Deviance” throws light upon the deviation seen in human society and how deviant behaviour might be necessary to the integrity of a ‘community’. A number of texts, works of literature and visual media can be studied using Erikson’s principles of deviance. ‘Adaptation’ and ‘Jeet’ are two such movies which I will be analysing using Erikson’s study as a backdrop. In doing so I will try to prove how the presence of deviant characters is necessary in trying to elicit a sense of sympathy for the hero or heroine. Adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze, is a movie based on a book written by Susan Orlean entitled “The Orchid Thief”. The book revolves around three central protagonists. Charlie Kauffman, played by Nicholas Cage, is a talented but somewhat reserved screenplay writer who is asked to adapt Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief” into a movie. Next is Susan Orlean, a character essayed by Meryl Streep, author of “The Orchid Thief”. And finally we have our deviant, John Laroche, played by Chris Cooper, who is shown as a witty and obsessive person who takes it upon himself to clone the elusive ‘Ghost Orchid’ for his own profit even though it requires him to take the law into his own hands. The deviancy in John Laroche’s character is made visible right at the outset of the movie when Laroche, along with a couple of Seminole Indians, finds himself arrested by the police, the “agents of control in the society”, and facing trial for poaching protected species of orchids from the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Florida. Using Erikson’s model of deviance we may analyse that Laroche’s act of...
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