Captivity Final

Captivity Final - -1Question 1B: Captivity as Produced by...

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- 1 - Question 1B: Captivity as Produced by the Law In many, if not most modern captivities, the law, or some form or consequence of the law, is the cause for captivity, either directly or indirectly. As seen in our readings, many captivities directly produced by laws are based on laws dealing with individuals, such as criminal activity and incarceration. In these cases, the laws, in theory, apply to all persons equally. However, in actuality, as we can see in the case of Leonard Peltier, often times this equality and consistency within the law can be avoided or overridden by the government or other laws, and used for any purpose which the government or enforcers of the law deem justifiable. Other times, captivities produced by law are not so equal, even in theory. As in the case of Mine Okubo and the Japanese internment during World War II, as well as in the case of the Chinese detainees held on Angel Island, government or law-produced captivity can be seemingly arbitrary or based purely on race, and is sometimes used as a display of government power over the captives. In other cases, the government and laws and their expectations of normative behavior create captivities within and around society, holding captive its citizens, physically, mentally, and socially. In a larger sense, the law produces a captive society, held within the bounds of the law and government, and forbidden by the law to stray outside these bounds. Although the individuals in a society are in some sense parties to this captivity by being a part of the captivating society, the laws and expectations in society control what people can and cannot do. The threat of physical captivity for overstepping one’s bounds with respect to the governmental/social captivity created by a law-abiding society serves as a deterrent for many to break out of the captivity of society, be it positive, negative, or both.
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- 2 - In another sense, the law produces the expectations of normalized behavior, which can also produce captivity, even if the captive has done nothing against the law to merit captivity by law. The law sets the guidelines for what is socially acceptable behavior and what is not. With the evolving laws come evolving expectations of behavior, and evolving definitions of what is normal or abnormal behavior, and who is mentally ill and who is sane. This is evidenced in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” as well as described by Michel Foucault, when he states “The keeper of madmen who has obtained domination over them directs and rules their conduct as he pleases; he must be endowed with a firm character, and on occasion display and imposing strength. He must threaten little but carry out his threats, and if he is disobeyed, punishment must immediately ensue” (160). In this sense, the government is able to control its citizens and hold them captive out of fear of punishment by the law. In the case of Mine Okubo and her story of the Japanese internment during World War II,
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Captivity Final - -1Question 1B: Captivity as Produced by...

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