Professor Guy Pollio
5 December 2012
What Shapes You?
Often times, we rely on the world to we live in to shape us. From mass media, to magazines to commercials, we always find ourselves seeking the next best thing instead of what we already have. The way society shapes us develops each and every one of us because we are persuaded by such advertisements. Robert Scholes of “On Reading A Video Text”, and Shirley Jackson of “The Lottery”, show appropriate examples of the world we live in today. Robert Scholes proves how distorted and misconceiving people construe the world through the “Lottery”, proving his idea of cultural reinforcement.
In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the small town of 300 people consists of a very active community, which is very routinely. The children go off to school, the mothers are the primary caregivers of their homes and the fathers are the workingmen. In this town, everyone enjoys the tradition of picking a name out of a raggedy, old box for a name. However, what is so strange about the town is they assemble a “lottery”, which is when everyone in the town selects who is to be stoned to death. As something they see as normal, to them it is an ethical and traditional event. From a reader’s point of view, one may say to themselves, “are you kidding me?” or “how could they all agree that this is ethical?”. Robert Scholes explains the villager’s point of view through cultural reinforcement. “By cultural reinforcement, I mean the process through which video texts confirm viewers in their ideological positions and reassure them as to their membership in a collective cultural body” (620). Robert Scholes cultural reinforcement could be defined as how a person develops their morals and beliefs through the social world. For example, the Budweiser commercial in “On Reading a Video Text”, reinforcement is shown through the myth of America we are known for. Although the myth of America being we...
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