Malcolm Gladwell's The Power Of Context: An Analysis

2004 Words 9 Pages
A background, whether it is a painting, backdrop, or an individual’s past, can have an effect on the world. These influences may not appear to be evident, but they can inspire and evoke an emotion that can dictate an individual’s actions. With these evoked emotions, the background of an environment is given the power to influence the mindset of an individual to engage in activities that are uncharacteristic of a person. Some argue that this phenomenon is the main reason why an individual would commit degenerate acts. In particular, Malcolm Gladwell, depicts in his essay “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York Crime” how even the most miniscule aspects of the surrounding environment haves the potential to influence …show more content…
This can involve a person in a type of defensive behavior to satisfy the need to protect him or herself due to a change in the immediate environment. Gladwell claims that this phenomenon of a particular tipping point “isn’t [from] a particular type of person…It’s something physical…The impetus to engage in a certain kind of behavior is not coming from a certain kind of person but from a feature of the environment” (152). In this situation the tipping is something physical, like the environment, that can influence an individual over the edge of sanity because it has an omnipotent presence. This presence does not fade away easily and is always present as a background to fuel an individual’s desires to engage in a particular behavior. With this presence, a change in the an individual is not dictated by another person but the environment itself evokes an emotion that calls forth an action to protect something important to that individual. The This reason for of protection can take on various shapes, such as an individual’s self- protection or to defend a safe place. For example, Shannon Faulkner, the first female candidate to attend The Citadel, sued the institution when she was barred from attending. In the case of the cadets, they “…feel [a need] to defend [The Citadel] walls. Never mind that their ideal may not be the vaunted one of martial masculinity, just as their true enemy identity is not Shannon Faulkner. The cadets at The Citadel feel that something about their life and routine is worthy on its merits and is endangered from without” (Faludi 103). For the cadets, their tipping point was not physically Shannon Faulkner, but what she represented as a threat to the cadets’ sanctuary. Faulkner represents the female race violating the cadets’ safe space and the world’s expectation of masculinity. Her presence at The Citadel would destroy the cadets’ way of

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