The Jack Roller

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Peter Wilke
Professor Callais
Analysis Paper
February 11, 2013
The Jack Roller
In the book The Jack Roller author Clifford Shaw is a criminologist who has researched many different youthful deviants to see exactly when the deviance begins and how it evolves. The book dives deep into the mind of a particular case of a boy named Stanley in Chicago during the 1920’s. From the beginning of the book Stanley is abused by his stepmother often being set aside so she could tend to here actual children. I believe this book is most accurately depicts the social learning theory. Stanley has been exposed to a multitude of positive outlooks of crime from his family and friends at an extremely young age.

I support the blank slate theory because in the very beginning of the book Stanley’s stepmother encourages him to act in deviant behavior. “One day my stepmother told William to take me to the railroad yard to break into box-cars.” (52-53). So Stanley has been taken under the wing of his step-brother who is stealing stuff for there stepmother, in return they are rewarded for stealing. This is a perfect example of an exposing Stanley to a positive outlook on crime. With this happening it kick started Stanley’s deviant behavior he began stealing for fun for many years, constantly being picked up by the police and taken to detentions homes which were not much of a punishment for him. Stanley enjoyed being in the detention home more than his real home so the consequence for his criminal behavior almost was a reward for him.

In the detention home, Stanley was able to meet other criminal that furthermore gave him positive reinforcement of crime, “I was really awed by the bravery and wisdom of the older crooks. Their stories of adventure fascinated my childish imagination, and I felt drawn to them.” (57). These criminal that Stanley met inspired him; they gave him someone to look up to, someone that he could aspire to be through crime. After being released Stanley was...
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