Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warning against silence

The scene with the rake from David Mamet’s story made me think about how even the most innocent people can turn into the things that they loathe. Mamet describes the beatings that his sister received as a child throughout the story and then details how he ends up hurting his sister in the same way. Though Mamet didn’t intentionally hurt his sister, his actions derived from similar emotions. He was frustrated about having to rake leaves on a lawn that he hated and was disappointed in the life he was living in what he described as the middle of nowhere.

I think that Mamet incorporated his absence into the scenes where his sister was being mistreated to show that while these things were going on he remained silent. The fact that Mamet didn’t speak out against his mother and stepfather’s cruelty towards his sister emphasizes the idea that, even though we may disagree with something that is going on, unless we take a stand against it we are actually condoning those actions. Repetitive refusal to acknowledge what we think is wrong can make us grow accustomed to those things and even breed that kind of evil in our own lives. Mamet throwing the rake at his sister made me think that he had unknowingly let a part of what he hated so much influence him. Reading the final scene with the rake caused me to think about the things that I fail to speak out against and the things that I disagree with but accept as normal. I began to wonder if I have let any part of the things that I loathe into my life and if the things that I ignore affect me in the same way that the domestic violence affected Mamet.

Mamet had been constantly exposed to cruelty and violence in his own home to the point where he came to expect it and probably even view it as normal. I think that we run this same risk of recognizing deplorable behavior as acceptable in our culture because of the numerous ways we are exposed to such behavior. Television is a huge way that we are influenced to see something that in real life would be considered horrible as acceptable because it is being dealt with in a very everyday approach. So many TV shows (like the ones on the CW) depict young adults as wild and irresponsible; constantly having sex, drinking, and doing drugs. Most of the people that I know don’t behave anything like this but in our culture we have come to expect this from teenagers and I think that young people have become influenced by this type of behavior. While I disagree with the conduct that is depicted on TV, I tend to assume that is how most people act. This scene made me think of how the Christian church is guilty of the same things as Mamet. In many areas, Christians have allowed things from our culture that the Bible clearly defines as sin to become acceptable behavior or at least refused to acknowledge that it is happening. I think that it is because of this silence towards sin in the church that has allowed many Christians to commit those sins. As I read Mamets final scene, I felt like he was warning us to speak out against violence and other things we view as wrong so that we will not eventually become guilty of those same actions.

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