The storyline in motion picture “Kramer vs. Kramer” tells about the family in the mid 70-ties in New York that brings up a son and deals with the relationship problems and life difficulties. The background of Joanna’s Kramer identity crisis starts when she is not heard and understood by her husband Ted Kramer on the issue of her job applying (Philipsen, 1992). Ted’s refusal to understand Joanna affected her self-affirmation and came as a ground for depravation of her self-development.
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In order not to lose her personality, Joanna decides to leave her husband and son and pursue her self-development claiming that those motives are more intelligible and reprehensible than rejecting her responsibility for the child and family as whole (Philipsen, 1992).The code of dignity in Joanna’s case is regarded as a charter of human rights and humiliation intolerance (Margalit, 2002). Value assumption in relation to the particular ethic code asserts that her leaving family is not desirable for the society she belongs to (Gomez & Crowther, 2012). Concept of the dignity code becomes sufficient when one’s capabilities can be effectively applied; for example, if Joanna succeeded in what she had left family for (Margait, 2002).
Joanna’s story resembles the story of Achill in Homer’s “Iliad and Odyssey” that can be understood based on the conditions resonating from the hearers. If to draw the lines between Achill and Joanna, they both were hurt because of the self-affirmation injury of the different emotional type: Joanna by being not understood and Achill by having his wife taken away from him; they both exerted redemption and returned (Philipsen, 1992). Joanna regained her self-dignity after having rhetorically persuaded court on the grounds of losing her “self”; she was finally heard and rewarded. Eventually, Joanna had not kept the son with her and did not reconcile with Ted, since the relationship failed because Ted took Joanna’s commitment of being his wife and mother of his son for granted (Philipsen, 1992).
Similarly to Joanna’s story, in Richard Rodriguez’s story the “scholarship boy” strived to gain self-sufficiency with the help of studying (Rodriguez, 1982). The storyline of the Richard Hoggart’s “Scholarship Boy” resonates with Richard Rodriguez, because the two felt no excuse for being Latinos in the American society. It took the author twenty years to find out that schooling changed him and separated from the life he enjoyed before he became a student (Rodriguez, 1982).
Reading Hoggart’s descriptions of the “scholarship boy”, who spend hours studying modern academic theories, made Rodriguez realize that his academic success in doctorate degree was not a victory, but a loss. Author appeared between “two worlds”, societies he did not longer belonged to. The first was his family, because he was too different to understand his parent’s simplicity; and the second was his fellow student, with whom he did not even had common topics to discuss. One day a “scholarship boy” sees Latino students talking on the library premises, where he spend hours studying, and it makes him feel lonely (Rodriguez, 1982). Alike Joanna watching Ted playing with the son and enjoying his company, he feels that he belongs where his family is.
The common point between the story of Joanna and Rodriguez’s biography is that two of them did not express a code of dignity but exchanged it for the arrogance. Both of them considered achieving their goal by choosing what suits them the best. Joanna has forgotten her responsibility of being a mother and wife and acted exactly as men do, when they fear the responsibility (Philepsen, 1992). “Scholarship boy” has forgotten where his roots were and appeared in the middle of nowhere. The lesson we can learn from these stories is to be responsible for our actions, since we can do harm to people that are not guilty of our insecurities. In addition, we should always remember where we came from and where we can return if society does not accept us the way we are. Particular belief system always decides the value of being right or wrong, but we should use our own ethic standards (Gomez & Crowther, 2012).
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