zzzenglishfinal[1] - Joshua Smith Critical essay#2...

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Joshua Smith Critical essay #2 Alaistair Hunt English 169 A Constitution Upon Ourselves This affirmation of the equal rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is at the heart of American values and the enticing dream it provides. Throughout history freedom to live as oneself lead people to immigrate from across the world into America, creating a culture more diverse than any other. From the Pilgrims to the Hmong, people aspiring to escape oppression for their race and ideals, risking their lives for the promises of freedom and individuality found in our constitution. Ironically and unfortunately, after risking their lives to arrive, the same oppression overtakes these minorities in the “land of the free”; for people view the constitution in terms of themselves rather then others, to improve one’s own “equality” and position in society. In reality, the only people created equal are those in the higher echelons of society, and those who share the views and ideals of the majority. Due to power from privilege and the majority, they can even promote their own “equality” at the expense of others. Nowhere to be found are the unalienable rights of minorities and the lower class; no one is willing to protect their constitutional rights and the life, liberty, and happiness they provide. For this reason just as many novels praise our countries freedom, others like A Streetcar Named Desire criticize this illusion. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams shows this irony and failure of an individualist view of the constitution through the struggle of Blanche and Allan Gray, sexually aberrant members of the upper class, and Stanley, a lower class Pole. All three
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are characters at odds with society, and they become victims of the majority and each other through selfish views of the constitution. Like members of society they oppress those who are different for their own advantage rather then protect them. Creating a vicious cycle with dreams and violence the only defense, when the constitution is all but an illusion for the people needing it most. Wealth and class have always been one of the biggest signs of power, and logically this difference is one of the most common means of oppression, shown at the expense of Stanley. Throughout time, the upper class has used their privilege to ignore the rights of the lower class for their own benefit. Taking away these rights brings them more power and control. Stanley befalls victim to this abuse of power. Society, Stella, and Blanche exploit him because of his membership to the lower class. Stella and Blanche, due to their privileged upbringing and the nature of their society feel that they are better than him. Blanche especially exploits Stanley’s class differences to gain more power in the household and over her sister; “Well--If you'll forgive me--he's common!. .. He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits!. . There's even something— subhuman—something not quite to the stage of humanity yet!. . Thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he is--
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zzzenglishfinal[1] - Joshua Smith Critical essay#2...

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