Analysis: The Forest And The Trees By Allan Johnson

1520 Words 7 Pages
As defined by Professor Terrance McGinn, sociology explores how groups affect the world around them, how groups affect each other, and how groups affect the lives of their members. Allan Johnson, a sociologist and the author of The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, explains how to view life in a sociological lens, providing the reader with a different perspective and understanding of life. Using examples from the film, Pleasantville directed by Gary Ross, key concepts from The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise will be explained and explored. Chapter One of the book deals with the flaws of individualism, which explains the world in terms of what goes on in an individual, and rather …show more content…
An example of social structure in the film is the town of Pleasantville. Big Bob, the mayor, has the most power, as he makes the rules and makes sure that the town is running smoothly, and underneath Big Bob are all the residents of Pleasantville, who must abide by the laws set forth by the mayor. Some of the key topics of this chapter are status, role, and role structure. According to Johnson, status can be defined as the position one holds in a given society; this can be a permanent or temporary position (Johnson). In the film, Big Bob’s status is mayor. A role is the collection of beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms that apply to a position holder (Johnson). Big Bob’s role as mayor is to officially speak for the government and the community as a whole. And role structure is the relationships that link statuses or entire systems to one another (Johnson). In the town of Pleasantville, there are many statuses, such as barber, cook, student, librarian, etc. They are all associated with each other, as they must fulfill their role to make sure the town runs smoothly and efficiently. Another important topic that is covered in this chapter is the family role structure. Johnson discusses the patriarchal family power structure, which was based primarily on the male ownership of land. But, everything that occurred in the family was centered on women, as they were ones who were responsible for the most productive work, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Although women were the subordinates in relationship to the men, the family would not function without the woman (Johnson). The patriarchal family power structure is very apparent in the film and is substantiated when George tells his wife, “You’re going to this meeting. You’re going to put on some makeup. You’re going to be home at six o’clock every night and

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