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Introduction: “Marginalization is the social process of becoming or being made marginal, especially as a group within a larger society”, according to the free dictionary . In each of the films, marginalization is a major theme. Tsotsi, ‘The Little Things’, Once Were Warriors and The City of Men: ‘The Emperor’s Crown’ all show affects of poverty and marginalization. In Tsotsi, post apartheid South Africa, everyone who can afford a house lives in Johannesburg with power and running water but the rest live outside of Johannesburg in townships like the one Tsotsi lives in called Soweto which has no power or running water except for a tap on the road that everyone shares. ‘The Little Things’ shows a girl, George, on her 14th birthday but nobody cares, even her own mother. Once Were Warriors shows a marginalized Maori family who is poor and uneducated as well as bad family relations. The City of Men: ‘The Emperor’s Crown’ is about a little boy in the slums (favela) of Brazil who is used to extreme crimes and gets caught up with gang members. I chose these films because the films are all about marginalization and people living in poverty. Marginalization is hugely effected by poverty, which affects the people marginalized both internally and externally.
Poverty is a major key to marginalization: According to Wikipedia , “When a large group gets marginalized it is usually connected to a person’s social class, educational status, relationships and living standards. It also applies to people with a disability, minorities, to members of alternative (LGBT) communities, to the elderly, and to children and teens. Anyone who deviates in any perceived way from the social norm of a society may become subject to marginalization.” Different people and societies can cause and control marginalization. People who are marginalized due to poverty are usually controlled by the money and wealth people have and the set “social norm”. When a person has money it can alter their perspective and causes poverty to become imponderable for them causing them to exclude other people who think differently or lack money. This causes homeless and poor people who can’t support their family to be excluded by richer people. When people are marginalized due to poverty it affects their social class, education, relationships and living standards, which in turn affects their children who are born into a marginalized society. In Tsotsi, Gavin Hood shows poverty through Tsotsi who runs away from his parents when he was a child. Tsotsi starts living on the outskirts of Johannesburg in a township called Soweto. Marginalization is a major theme in Tostsi and ties in with the theme of luck of the draw. You can’t choose what kind of family you are born into. Hood shows in the opening scenes of Tsotsi, the vast township as far as the eye can see, filled with shacks built out of scrap on top of one another. In the scene you can see large utility poles carrying electricity though Soweto but does connect to Soweto. This scene also shows several women lining up with buckets to fill with water from a public water tap that everyone has to share. This shows that the people in Soweto marginalized by society living in poverty without electricity and proper plumbing. During the Apartheid in South Africa blacks were discriminated and segregated . After the Apartheid only the lucky successful black people were able to escape the marginalization and live in houses in gated communities safely with power and running water. The not so lucky people like Tsotsi and his gang members were raised in poverty and learned to do petty crime to be able to make a living and survive. These petty crimes stack up and lead Tsotsi to accidently steal a baby. Similarly we see poverty being a key to marginalization in the City of Men ‘The Emperor’s Crown’. In the City of Men Cesar Charlone, shows marginalization through Acerola and his frinds and family who live in poverty. Because of poverty people are forced to live in the favelas. People who cannot buy their own homes and make a living in the main cities of Brazil have to live in favelas. According to Wikipedia “A favela is the term for a slum in Brazil, most often within urban areas.” The first favelas appeared in the late 19th century and were built by soldiers who had nowhere to live. This was the place where former slaves with no land ownership and no options for work lived. Today more than 6% of Brazil’s population lives in favelas. Living in the favelas where the slaves used to live shows that you are almost the same status as the slaves. The favelas are marginalized by the rest of Brazil due to the stereotypes that people who live in the favelas are criminals and poor. Charlone shows poverty through Acerola and his friend Laranjinha, who need to come up with R$6.50($3.36NZD) to go on a school trip by scamming his mother’s boss. There are many similarities between Tsotsi and Acerola. They were both born and raised in slum-like conditions marginalized by society and were both raised along side crime and live in poverty. Tsotsi and Acerola are both marginalized by society and are used to the crime around them. Tsotsi must resort to crime in order to make a living and Acerola must scam his mother’s boss to come up with R$6.30.
Poverty is also shown as a major key to marginalization within New Zealand. The Little Things written by Reina Webster shows a girl named George who lives in poverty. It’s her birthday and not even her mother wants to spend time with her. She goes out and steals a CD and sells it to get some money. Then when she was told to leave the food court she tried to sneak into the movie theatre where she was stopped. On the way out she pulled the fire alarm and walks home by herself. Webster shows that George is marginalized doing petty crime and is disliked by a few people even by her own mother, on her birthday. Poverty is shown through her acts of stealing and trying to sneak into the movies and the house she lives in. Being poor and alone on her birthday lead her to making bad decisions and doing small crimes getting herself marginalized by showing other people and the viewer that she is a criminal. Like wise in New Zealand, poverty is shown once again to be a major key to marginalization. Once Were Warriors written by Lee Tamahori, is about a Maori family on the verge of ripping apart. The father Jake Heke is a tough bloke that beats anything in his way, even his wife Beth Heke. Beth tried to hold together the family while taking care of their 5 kids. The oldest son was recruited by gang member, the daughter is/was on the verge of suicide and their 2nd oldest son is detained in a youth camp by social workers. Jake takes no responsibility and the whole family is troubled by the empty wallets, electricity bills and trying to look good. Tamahori shows the marginalization of their family through the struggle for money and the almost collapsed family. The marginalization is shown differently through every family member. The father beats his wife and takes no control over the family, the wife stays with the abusive husband and still tries to make the family happy, the sons were doing crimes and so one is detained and the other is in a gang, and the daughter committed suicide because their uncle raped her. The Heke family and George are very similar because they are both New Zealanders and are marginalized in someway due to poverty. The films show a connection of how marginalization can be effected by poverty and happens a often even in 1st world countries.
Marginalization has both internal and external affects: Marginalization can cause some serious damage for people being marginalized both internally and externally. In Tsotsi, Tsotsi is affected internally because he has grown up in a township that was marginalized he learnt to grow up as a gangster doing crimes like theft and murder. This lead to Tsotsi having a fight with Boston and going out into the city of Johannesburg and stealing a car. But in the car was a baby that he ended up kidnapping. Although stealing the baby could have benefited for Tsotsi internally, but it caused a lot of trouble for the parents of the baby and the detectives that were on the case. So not only did marginalization affect Tsotsi but also affected the rich people of Johannesburg who weren’t marginalized, but were the people marginalizing. In the City of Men Acerola and Laranjinha are affected everyday. Charlone shows they boys’ struggle through their everyday struggle. When Acerola was on his way to school he was stopped by a group of thugs and asked where the boss was. Acerola said he didn’t know but the thugs didn’t believe him and stole his money and broke his ruler which his mother bought for him not too long ago. This causes Acerola to start crying. Since Acerola’s family live in poverty his mother had to go through a lot of work hours to buy him that one ruler along with the money he got for the school trip. Acerola was devastated thinking that he couldn’t go on the trip anymore. This is an internal affect that marginalization caused. An external affect is shown when boys in Acerola’s class was seen shot dead. Acerola and Tsotsi are both affected by marginalization internally and externally. They both has seen and been affected by the death/misfortune of others or themselves.
In The Little Things, Webster shows the internal and external affects of marginalization on/in George through her acts over the course of her birthday. George comes home from school to find her house locked and her mother telling her to go away since she was pre occupied with a male friend from work. George complains that it was her birthday and today was supposed to be a day of her and her mom all together. This causes a chain reaction, which set George in an unhappy mood and shows she was hurt internally, because her mothers choose to spend her birthday with a man from work than with her. An external affect could be that when she came home from the mall she decided to eat some cake and drink some alcohol along with Tama, her neighbor who is 6 years old. Along with The Little Things Tamahori shows internal and external affects in Once Were Warriors through all the characters acts and behaviors. One significant external that I felt strongly about was when Grace commits suicide because she was raped. After she was raped she started to see how bad her life actually was because until then her mother had been hiding the fact that their family is struggling both socially and money wise. Grace, before committing suicide, felt internally confused and struggled to cope with life. Grace’s death also caused a lot of internal hurt feelings in the family members. These films all have a connection of internal and external affects from marginalization whether it was good or bad (mostly bad).
Marginalization is a major problem that is caused by multiple problems, one major problem being poverty. Marginalization is bad because it affects people internally and externally. Some can get hurt emotionally or physically, which is almost always a problem in a crime filled society. All the movies have marginalization and poverty in common. The movies also have a scene of violence that somehow related to being marginalized by poverty. Society thinks of marginalization, as something that has to happen and that people who are marginalized can’t live together. Societies who marginalized are often filled with people who are afraid of change and/or rich people that can afford expensive cars and houses. In the future societies can avoid marginalization by having a way for people to adjust to the changing of social norms and give everyone a fair chance instead of being born into a world of poverty without a choice. For example societies can fund housing and jobs that people can move up if they show they are capable of learning and adjusting to society. These four films show marginalization, its causes and effects and show that people are born into it and have no other choice but to live excluded by the rest of society.
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