Bury my heart at wounded knee Analysis

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In the movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee which originally written by Dee Brown, and produced by HBO Films in year 2007, there are several social roles and social statuses portrayed in the movie. Social statuses are any of the full range of socially defined positions that someone occupies within a large group or society, from the lowest to the highest. Social status can divided into many types, which are ascribed status, achieved status and master status. Different social statuses have different status symbols. Statuses symbols are the signs that identify a status or recognize a status to the others. Status symbols are different among every countries and cultural regions, based on their development in economics and technology. They may also change over time. Some of the examples of status symbols in daily lives are as police officers; they will wear uniforms, guns and badges.

We can also conclude that a person is wealthy by their cars, clothing and accessories that they own as these are considered to be status symbols of the person. For the example in the movie, Sioux men wear breechcloths and leggings and buckskin shirts; Sioux women Wear long deerskin or elk skin dresses and their hairstyles is in long braids which is the most common in them. Sitting Bull, the Sioux warriors and chiefs is wearing a feather which is symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power and freedom on is head. They have clearly shown that their social status is Red Indian in the movie. Next, ascribed status is a position an individual either inherits at birth or receives involuntarily later in life. It assigned to a person as you cannot choose or ask for it such as race and ethnicity, sex, age and social class of your parents. For example, a person is born in a wealthy family characterized by traits such as power, property and prestige will have many expectations while growing up. For the example in the movie, Charles is born as a Red Indian in Dakota. Furthermore, achieved status is a position that is earned, fulfilled or included at least some effort or activity on the individual’s part voluntarily. We must do something through our own effort to obtain an achieved status.

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It also reflects a person’s skills, abilities, and effort. For example, the occupation that you get such as lawyer doctor, engineer, president and so on. For the example in the movie, Charles decided to follow his father went to town at start a new life. He study hard through his own effort and become a doctor as his achieved status. Other than that, master status is a status that dominates others and thereby determines a person’s general position in society. In our society, every person holds many different social statuses and we view one of the social statuses as the overall position of a person. For example, Arthur Ashe is a famous tennis star, but at the end of his life, he died of AIDS. Most of the people recognize him as a HIV+ patient but not as a retired athlete. Therefore, HIV+ patient is his master status. For the example in the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, when Charles go to reservations to be a doctor, the peoples at the reservations not viewed him as a Sioux, his ascribed status, but recognized him as a doctor, his occupation with his achieved status. Besides, statuses inconsistency is a mismatch or contradiction among a person’s statuses which means ranking high on some dimensions of social status and low on others. In shorts, it means the statuses did not fit fairly well together.

This can also know as status discrepancy. For an example in daily lives, 14 years old person is a college student. The example in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Charles’s ascribed status is a Native American, which is look down by the White people. Otherwise, His achieved status is a doctor which has a higher position in the society. Next, status sets is all the statuses or positions that an individual occupies at the same time. For the example, Sally is 18 years old and a college student. At the same time, she is also a daughter of her parents, a classmate, a roommate, a friend and an employee. These all statuses of Sally called status sets. In the movie, Sitting Bull is the chief of a Sioux tribe. He is also a father, a brother, and the enemy of White governor.

Apart from this, social roles is a set of expectations for people who occupy a given social position or status. It is also a set of connection between behaviours, rights, responsibilities, beliefs, and norms in a social situation. So, every distinctive social status has particular role expectations. Social roles are an essential component of social structure and social life. From the view of functionalist perspectives, social roles enable members in society to expect the behavior of others and respond their action accordingly. This can helps to stable the society stability.

For example in daily lives, as a son or daughter, we should respect our parents. In the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull is the chief of the Sioux. As a chief, he tried his best to protect the tribe and his people, and also the cultural heritage. In addition to this, role conflict is incompatible expectations arise from two or more social positions held by the same person. The fulfillments of roles associated with one status may directly violate the roles linked to a second status. In short, role conflict is the conflict among the roles relevant to two or more statuses hold by one person. In common, a person experiences role conflict when they find out themselves was pulled in many directions as they try to fulfill to the statuses that they hold. For the example in daily lives, a working parent experiences the role conflict when they need to decide whether to work at the office or be present the meeting of his child’s school. This is another example of role conflict.

There is a couple in an assignment group. The male is the leader of the group and his girlfriend is the group member. When allocate task, he should be fair to all the group members, but at the same time, he need to be good to his girlfriend. His decide may violate his social role. So, this couple is having a dual relationship which is one is couple and the other one is group mate. For the example in the movie, Senator Henry Dawes is experienced the role conflict. He is a senator and also a white. As a senator, he needs to concern the right of Red Indian. But as a white, he also needs to look after their privileges. He cheated the Red Indian to sell their land to government and moved them to the reservation. Furthermore, role strain is the difficulty that arises when the same social position imposes conflicting demands and expectations. It is the problems that cause in a single position.

This is the stress experienced by a people when conflict behavior, hopes, responsibilities are related within a single social status. For example, a student is having two tests on the same day, what subject should he study for. Another example is a student want to do well and active participate in class as these are his social role. At the same time, he also try to not to make other in class feel bad. In the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Charles has experienced the role strain. He had helps Senator Henry Dawes to plan and draw the policy to prevent his ethnic group from extinction. But at the end of the movie, he was regret for his decide. He found out this policy is a fraud and this will destroy his ethnic group and Red Indian’s cultural heritage. Other than that, role exit is the process of disengagement from a role that is central to one’s self-identity in order to establish a new role and identity. According to Helen Rose Fuchs Ebaugh, there are four-stage model of role exit. The first stage is doubt; a person feels frustration, tired and unhappiness with his current role. The second stage is search for alternatives; it can be a leave of absence or separation for a short time.

The third stage is action or departure; this is a clear turning point that forces a person to leave his role. The last stage is creation of new role; it means a person engage a new role. For example, a student failed his Sociology twice. He feels frustrated, sad and disappointed with his results. He started to search for an alternatives way that can achieve his goal. He decided to quit school and start to work. At last, he found a job at a company and establishes a new social identity. In the movie, Red Cloud is one of the chief in Sioux. She feel frustrated and regret for her decide to sign the policy. So, she decided to not to be the leader of her tribe. As a conclusion, social statuses and social roles shape the social structure and our society. Everyone in the society occupies social statuses and social roles. From the functionalist perspectives, all these elements need to work together to maintain our society stability.

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