November 13, 2012
Tonight, I attended the showing of a movie that followed four different individuals with diverse backgrounds around, all facing similar struggles in our economy today. The theme of this presentation had to do with moving forward, having hope, and being the leader and taking charge of your own life. This movie also relates to the book we started, “Shane” by Jack Schaefer. “Shane” offers a similar theme of growing up, while being loyal and taking charge, something that the people in the movie talked about as hope for the future.
In the movie, I was introduced and followed the lives of John from California, Sheila from Chicago, Ronald from New Orleans, Louisiana and James from Charlotte, North Carolina. These four live on opposite sides of America, but all share the fact that they are currently living in poverty. I was surprised when I heard the statistics about how there are actually forty-six million individuals that live above the poverty line presently. The poverty line is defined as earning less than $23,050, the typical amount to live the “American Dream” being $50,000, a year for a family of four. Surprisingly, suburban poverty is now at a higher rate than urban poverty.
John discussed the stereotypes that many people think of when they think of being poor: lazy, stupid, having no skills and not being able to take care of their families. However, his life was not always this way, and up until a few years ago, he had a job at a bank where he made money in the six figures and lived very comfortable. When the economy dropped, he lost his job at his bank, along with many other Americans.
Sheila lived a bit differently, and ended up back in the same house she grew up in when her mother died. She was married with children when she fell down the stairs at a Chicago train station, ultimately leaving her unable to work when her brain crashed into her spinal collar. Although she didn’t necessarily want to, Sheila sent her children to private schools on full scholarship, making it difficult for her children who saw the fancy and expensive things the rest of their peers had.
Ronald is a fisherman working in Louisiana. When Katrina hit, it wiped out much of his fishing. During the oil spill of 2010, half the oysters were wiped out. Three years later, and the oysters still are not there. Ronald’s story explains how sometimes its mother natures responsibility, but he is the one who suffers from it.
Lastly, James told his story of how he was poor as a child, and unable to get the education he needed. Since he never went to school, he grew up uneducated, and having no real skills (like the stereotype John previously described). He lost his job at a race track a few years ago; he couldn’t work anywhere else since he didn’t necessarily possess any other skills. A restaurant in his town then opened up, and decided to help him out and hire him. That single restaurant gave him hope for his future.
Like James finding a job, Shane decided to take action for his life, and stand up for himself. Although the individuals in the movie don’t call themselves heroes, they have hope for the future and for themselves and their families. Shane sticks up for the family he has grown to love because he doesn’t want to see them get hurt again. This relates to the people in the movie because they are doing the best for their families, and don’t want them to get hurt even more than they already might have.