Pursuit of Happiness

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Professor Meade
Sociology 110
16 May 2013
Pursuit of Happyness and Poverty
Social Problem: Poverty - the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. (According to Dictionary.com) Theories:
Structural Functionalism – Poverty is natural & expected •Symbolic Interaction – The way we view the poor, blaming the victim oWe work to change the behavior, not the actual cause
Conflict Theory – Poverty is unnatural and not the fault of the individual but rather the fault of society Definitions:
Persistent Poverty – you grow up poor and you stay poor •Temporary Poverty – usually results from illness, divorce, or unemployment (2 years or less) How Pursuit of Happyness relates to Poverty

Gardners grew up in poverty
Only “blue-collared” jobs were available to the “colored” •They had poor housing, struggled to find food, limited funds to pay rent •Chris Gardner faced “persistent poverty” but managed to make it “temporary poverty” by never giving up on his dream to become wealthy, to own a “Ferrari” •Encountered inequality because even though he was able to get a job, all of his clients went to a “more-experienced” person – a white person •Chris falls into the category of a person who has the experience, but no formal education •Had a difficult time finding a home for him and his son

Faced jail time
Political Views

Conservatives
oNot that many people are living in absolute poverty
oPeople should take responsibility for themselves
oWork hard = success
oLimit government involvement to help those who NEED help

Liberals
oPoverty is a societal problem and should work together to fix it oRecognize that poverty affects different groups rather than individuals oIncome is distributed unequally and is heavily impacted by discrimination oSupport government aide

oFeel that many people don’t try for assistance because the culture of shame The Pursuit of Happyness
Chapter 1
Chris Gardner, along with his siblings lived in a foster home. Lived with Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. Chris’ biological mother would visit at times to give candy them candy. At a young age, Chris’ sister Ophelia would steal cherries from a neighbor’s garden. While growing up, Chris always looked to Ophelia for explanations. The Gardners grew up in Depression-era 1928 in Little Rock, Arkansas. – Trials of Poverty and Racism. Mainly steel mills and foundries and carmakers employed blacks. Also known as “Blue-collar jobs”. Almost everyone had family members with the employees. The families always “stuck together”. Now Chris’ family live in Milwaukee. Chapter 2

Chris’ goal was to get Freddie, his mom’s boyfriend to like him. Chris’ mother wanted to be a teacher in Wisconsin, but Chris’ mom was a domesticated worker – cleaned rich (white) people’s houses. Ophelia has a different dad, Sam Salter, who is a high school teacher. Sam would give Ophelia 2 dollars, Chris 1 dollar. Freddie is complete opposite from Sam. Freddie is violent. Chris promised he wouldn’t be like Freddie. Chris wants Sam to be his dad. Freddie attempted to kill Chris’ mom multiple times. Chris’ mom rented an apartment close by, but faces eviction. Chapter 3

Chris’ Mother is missing. Chris living with Uncle Willie and Aunt Ella Mae. Strict household. Chris saw his mother at a funeral (uncle henry) with prison guard next to her, Ophelia was sent away living in a detention home. Uncle Henry was is idol. Uncle Henry said to him “Here it is, Chris, the world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls” “live large”. Taught him how to swim, happiness when with him. Chris’ mother is in prison because Freddie accused her of burning down the house with Freddie in it. Chris also saw his sisters again at funeral. At end of chapter, Chris is reunited with his mom Chapter 4

1968 Great awakening. Chris and his schoolmates went to a different school. Chris aspired to be an actor. Chris got a part...
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