1. The movie chocolat helps readers to connect life to society. The movie is set in an appealing place that is filled with people with closed minds who are led by leaders who also have closed minds. Vianne is a character in the film who beauty and is a beast. The movie helps us to connect very life with the society because it starts by showing that it is on a Sunday and there is a church service in progress, Alfred M and Judi D. (2000). This is a way of connecting every life with the society because people go to church services on Sundays. It also shows that it is the time of lent where people are required to abstain, reflect and penitent. The movie tries to connect life to society by showing a society that is guided by religious values.
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Vianne is a character in the movie chocolat who can help us connect life to the society. It is clear that in this society, people believe that people who do not go to church are sinners, Alfred M and Judi D. (2000). Vianne and her daughter do not go to church and hence the society feels bad about them. The film also shows that Anouk, Vianne's daughter does not like their way of life. The feelings of Anouk clearly show that she is against her mother's way of life. They have to move from one place to another because the society does not agree with Vianne's way of life. This shows that the sociological point of the society is that any person who does not go to the church is not sanctified. Though Vianne is an opponent of the custom in her current town, the film tells us that temptations of the flesh are unwelcome. This shows that the society considers sexual sin to be worse than any other sin and that is why it is unwelcome in this society. Moreover, since Vianne is a beautiful lady, her customers feel that they will glow like her after tasting her chocolate and this shows a sociological view of the society where people feel that they can compare to their friends if they associate with them.
2. The issue of assimilation is evident in the film chocolat. The town's people want Vianne to assimilate into their way of life. The collision between Vianne's point of view of life and that of the society shows the reaction of people to diversity, Alfred M and Judi D. (2000). There is a clash in cultural and religious views between Vianne and the society. The town's people expect Vianne to assimilate to their way of life. When she is welcome in the society, she is told to join into the catholic-worship but she clearly says that she doesn't go to church. Vianne holds to her ways and does various things in contradiction to the ways of life of the town. She does not assimilate to the ways of the town. For example, she does not go to church, she dresses in vivid red and helps people fix their problems. In this connection, Vianne is labeled as sinful and immoral woman because she is single and she has a child, Alfred M and Judi D. (2000.
According to Martin N. (2009), assimilation is a process that helps members of the subordinate race and ethnic group to be absorbed in the dominant culture. It contributes to the stability of the society because it helps to minimize group differences that may bring hostility and violence. It occurs in various levels including cultural, biological, structural and psychological stages. Cultural assimilation occurs when members of an ethnic group adopt dominant group traits such as dressing, language and religion, Martin N. (2009). Structural assimilation occurs when members of subordinate racial or ethnic groups gain acceptance in everyday social interaction. Psychological assimilation involves a change in racial or ethnic self-identification on the part of an individual. Biological assimilation on the other hand occurs when members of one group marry those of other social or ethnic groups.
Functionalist theorists claim that, for race and ethnic relations to be functional and contribute to the harmonious conduct and stability of the society, racial and ethnic minorities must assimilate into the society, Martin N. (2009). Conflict theorists on the other hand emphasize on inequality in the society. They claim that inequality among people and the patterns of dominance and subordination that develop among people is always essential in the society. According to the conflict theorists, assimilation is not achieved either for a society or for the specific groups and individuals within it. In other words, conflict is part of human interaction. Interaction theorists show the role of social interaction in reducing racial and ethnic hostilities. According to this theory, when people or two different ethnic groups come together, they help to reduce conflicts. Interaction reduces prejudice among people.
The theory that explains assimilation well in the film chocolat is the functionalist theory. This is because there is a need for Vianne and other people in the town to have a functional relationship that can contribute to the harmonious conduct and stability of the society. In this connection, Vianne should assimilate to the ways of the people in the town such as dressing and going to church in order to promote harmony in the society. The functionalist theory is best in explaining assimilation because it shows the need for one group of people to follow the ways of others in order to create harmony into the society.
3. The symbol of ethnocentrism is evident in the film chocolat. Ethnocentrism when a particular group of people feel that their culture is more superior to that of other people. The first symbol of ethnocentrism is seen when at the beginning of the film we learn that the town's people think that their culture is more superior to that of Vianne, Alfred M and Judi D. (2000).. Comte who represents the town people cannot communicate well with Vianne because he has already labeled her as an immoral person through the use of his own personal constructs.
Vianne is also a character of ethnocentrism. She has feelings of ethnocentrism and anger toward Comte for labeling her as immoral. She is also not willing to adapt to the traditions and expectations of the town's people. This explains why she does not go to church and why she dresses in red.
Cultural relativism is another issue in the film. It refers to a situation in which a person feels that his/her beliefs and actions should be understood by other people based on the culture of that person. In the film chocolat, cultural relativism can be seen through the interaction of Vianne's culture with that of the town's people, Alfred M and Judi D. The society wants Vianne to understand that she should not be operating a chocolate shop because it is during the time of lent and people ought to fast. In addition, they also want Vianne to understand why they go to church and dress the way they do.
On the other hand, Vianne shows cultural relativism in her life because she wants the society to understand her culture in order to know why she dresses in red and also why she operates a chocolat shop during the time of lent. The society fails to understand Vianne's culture and that is why they feel that she has brought sin into the town. Vianne and her daughter do not attend church and dresses in vivid red because they have not understood the culture of the town people. This shows the symbol of cultural relativism in the town.