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By mattmac12 May 03, 2014 759 Words
Matthew Maciejowski
Sociology
May,1, 2014

Reflective Essay: Breaking Bad

Throughout the AMC series “Breaking Bad” the main character, Walter White, is face with many challenges nearly all life threatening. Although they are severe, the directors made sure many of them are common problems that anyone can face such as, cancer, poverty, drugs and death. However, during this series Walter takes a different approach then most of us would. Walt is a prime example of masculinity and its is continently expressed throughout the series. Even though we as viewers start out as sympathetic to Walt, over the course of the show, we realize just how problematic Walt’s actions and motives are, and that although he tries to justify his actions as selfless and as rooted in his commitment to serving his family. What really drives him are notions of masculinity deeply entrenched in our society. Even if we accept that his willingness to become a producer of illegal substances stems from his urge to set his family up with a financial safety net in anticipation of his imminent deaths, this ability to put aside all moral rights for the sake of achieving his goal is clearly more than a simple act of one man’s altruism but rather embedded in hegemonic notions of masculinity. Throughout the series viewers will start to notice that Walter White forms an alter ego whom is known as , Heisenberg. Heisenberg is the name of which Mr. White goes by when he is involved with the drug world. It becomes clear that Walter takes on not only a new identity but a new life style as this character suffering from borderline bipolar. These two people have totally different takes on life while with his family Walter White comes off as a harmless, family first man whom always looks out for others. However, when dealing with the Methamphetamine business he is known as one of the most ruthless, physcopathic men in all of the south, who will not hesitate to make the nessasary calls so that he ends up on top. Despite shifts in the gender order, our society still expects men to take on the role of the provider and rewards those men who can, while shaming those that cannot. It is no surprise then that Walter White would make a desperate if illegal final attempt at living up to this standard, given that he appears to be running out of time. In addition to these internalized self-identification as the provider of his family even beyond his grave –the social arrangements and gender relations in our society, and those within the White family more specifically, exert very real and material pressures on Walt to take steps to ensure the financial future of his wife and kids. The White family adheres to dominant social scripts about family life in the US, with Walt filling the role of the primary breadwinner, while his wife Skylar is a mother and homemaker first, working odd jobs and in later seasons being employed as an accountant. Clearly, due to these unequal gendered relations of production – and against the backdrop of a healthcare system that is failing Walt, and a social security system that would most likely fail the White family sans Walt – the possible death of Walter will put the family in deep financial problems, prompting him to find a solution for these economic pressures. Although he spends most of the series stating the sole reason for his actions is to provide for his family he later on references a story from his past, in which he was bought out of a company he once help found before it had sky rocketed. This gives us as viewers reason to believe that not only does he want to provide for his family, but he also wants to regain a sense of power that he once lost. Throughout the series Walter has complete control over the market for methamphetamine, and by doing so he accomplishes his goal as become one of the most powerful men in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In conclusion, within the series Breaking Bad there is multiple examples of sociological concepts. Including Walter White’s search for power and control over his not only his family but most of the southwest. He takes in the audience with common problems we all face such as poverty and illnesses resulting in near death, but then later evolves from a common everyday high school teacher to a innovator , destroying whatever is in his way of becoming the wealthiest most powerful man in New Mexico.

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