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This paper examines the theories of Dean Barnlund regarding culture and how Shirly Jackson and Maxine Kingston demonstrate Barnlund’s ideas. The paper will specifically look at how culture dominates the behavior of people, how and why culture is so powerful that very few people realize the impact that it has on them, and how culture completely surrounds people.

Let us first look at how culture dominates the behavior of people. Dean Barnlund tells us that people are really blind as to why they do things. They just rush off and do them. Barnlund writes, As long as people remain blind to the sources of their meanings, they are imprisoned within them. (Barnlund, 73). Both Jackson and Kingston overwhelmingly demonstrate this point through the insanity of the villagers mad-rush to stone Jessie Hutchinson. Old Man Warner calls out Come on! Come on! (Jackson, 7). Kingston also illustrates how the villagers are led into a blind rush by culture, she points out, The villagers broke in the front and the back doors at the same time. (Kingston, 2).

Now let us see how and why culture is so powerful that very few people realize the impact that it has on them. Barnlund shows it to us by saying that people that follow their culture will not stop to think if it is sane what they are doing and if they want to lead their lives by this certain culture. Cultural norms so completely surround people, so permeate thought and action that few people ever realize the assumptions on which their lives and their sanity rest. (Barnlund, 73). Jackson shows this point to us in her story when the villager willingly go along with the lottery, not even thinking twice that one of them will die a horrible death. All right, folks, Mr. Summers said, Lets finish quickly. (Jackson, 7). Kingston shows this to us when the villagers raid the house, and will do no matter what kind of violence to follow their culture. Familiar wild heads flared in our night windows; the villagers encircled us. (Kingston, 2).

Now we will take a look at how culture surrounds people. Barnlund shows it to us when he talks about different people, no matter where they are, are surrounded by cultures. Cultural norms so completely surround people (Barnlund, 73). Jackson shows us this point when the villagers gather around the black box that has been in their culture for generations. And the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. (Jackson, 2). Kingston demonstrates this in a similar way. She shows us that in her story the culture is that men are always first and better then women, and people would even kill if the baby would be a girl instead of a boy. It was probably a girl; there is some hope for forgiveness for boys. (Kingston, 9).

In conclusion, both Jackson and Kingston demonstrate some of Barnlund s ideas regarding culture. This paper specifically looked at how culture dominates the behavior of people, how and why culture is so powerful that very few people realize the impact that it has on them, and how culture completely surrounds people.


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