Saturday, 14 March 2015


Started by L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) in 1952, Scientology is a fairly recent and newly developed religion. It relies on its celebrity members to keep up the hype, including Tom Cruise who happily promotes the religion.

Tom Cruise giving a speech at the opening of a new church in Madrid, 2004.

Considering the fact the religion was created as an escape from government interference and taxation, it has quite a steady following according to its website. However, despite this, it is still striving towards monetary goals with everything costing money.

"Scientology is a religion in its highest meaning, as it helps bring Man to total freedom and truth."

The way in which the main concept of the religion is worded on the website seems to allude to American ideologies, namely with the reference to 'freedom'. This idea that Man's capabilities are unlimited and this religion can bring you to 'total freedom' is a very American ideal. This shows how the 'religion' has been catered to appeal to many Americans, bringing in more money to the organisation.

What is Scientology?

The above video boasts over 4.4 million new people every year, and one new church or mission opening every twenty-four hours to promote its worldwide effect on people. It brings new ideas of the 'Thetan' and being that indeed make you question whether or not it could be a possibility, however at the foundations of these ideas is L. Ron Hubbard. 

L. Ron Hubbard was a man who made a religion because he saw the money in it, many people would try and deny this however fundamentally that is what he did. He wrote books and spoke at lectures that you have to pay to be able to read and listen to, and the only way you can move towards enlightening yourself is through the idea of 'pyramid selling' that is illegal in the U.S. hence why he made it a religion, and used the first amendment to protect himself and make more profit.

The so-called 'religion' is more of a organisation and cooperation than a religion as no other religion makes it a requirement for you to pay to be a part of it, something that completely devalues the idea of complete 'freedom' and 'truth' that it promises.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Little House on the Prairie

What attitudes are revealed through the representation of American Indians?

little house on the prairie, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was published as a childrens story book in 1935. Written through the eyes of a young Laura, the book contains many harsh references to the American Indians, often dehumanising them and making them seem brutally savage.

Laura's constant obsession with wanting to see the baby papoose and the way she writes about this further dehumanises the American Indians. She writes about how her father had showed her baby bears and animals such as this and then wonders whether he will show her a baby papoose - this again creates an image for the reader that the American Indians are wild, like other animals. 
"'Where is a papoose , Ma?' Laura asked...
           'Mercy on us!' Ma said. 'Whatever makes you want to see Indians? We will see enough of  them. More than we would want to, I wouldn't wonder.'" (Ch.4) - Here again we see Laura's fascination to see a baby Indian, however we also get an insight into what Ma thinks about them and wants nothing to do with them. Similarly, she makes Laura put on her sunbonnet to make sure that she does tan or go red 'like an Indian'.

Throughout the book there are multiple views towards the Native Americans, the harshest though it seems to come from Mrs Scott "the only good indian was a dead indian. the very thought of indians made her blood run cold" (Ch.17). Although Ma also dislikes the Indians, it seems that this is more due to the fear that she feels towards them, where as Mrs Scott is cruel because she simply wants them dead and feels that they are inferior to her.

The main controversy regarding American Indians within this book would be in the opening chapter in which the book originally read: " There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture and stretched much further than any man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there". This regards the Indians as not even being human at all - this led to mass controversy and the publishers changing the line to something less offensive.

gender roles in little house opn the prairie

The chapter I will be looking at is chapter 13 fire in the chimney. In pediculate the part that the chapter is named after, Ma and the girls Lara, marry and baby Carrie are alone in the house. ma is on the rocking chair with baby Carrie close to the fire, but when she hears some thing coming from the chimney she hands baby Carrie to marry and pushes her in the rocking chare and goes outside. when Laura follows her she sees that the chimney is on fire and Ma is attempting to put the fire out.

when Laura goes back inside she sees that a burning loge has fallen out and the fire and is under Marys dress. Laura pulled the rocking chair away from the fire and then throws the loge back in to the fire. soon after ma puts out the fire and the danger is over. this is the part I wanted to look at the fact that it has been repeated and show many times over that Marry is the proper little girl and Laura is not. even if not outwardly Laura is still naughty in her head and the fact that she is interested in thing that are considered mans work and even helped him build the door and mixed mud to build the chimney . so here we see marry unable to move and Laura being the brave hero.

Hardships caused by nature in Little House on the Prairie

The Ingalls face a number of hardships on their journey including a number of hardships caused by nature.
Right at the beginning of their journey they have to cross a frozen lake, they think nothing of it on the journey across it. Yet during the night Laura hears strange noises, which is the sound of the Lake cracking (“It sounded like a shot, but it was sharper and longer than a shot.”). Which prompts Laura to consider what would have happened if the ice had cracked whilst they were travelling on it. “She thought what would have happened if the ice had cracked under the wagon wheels and they had all gone down into the cold water in the middle of that vast lake.” This is an example of the constant threat of danger they face from nature even when that threat is not obvious at the time.

 Similarly, in chapter two they are crossing a creek when the water suddenly rises and causes the wagon to float and the horses to have to swim. Charles has to jump into the water to guide the horses to the bank of the creek safely. This event is an example of the very real danger they face on their journey. After this ordeal the family realises that their dog did not make it across with them, and is most likely dead. This shows how nature can very easily harm travellers without warning, and also due to this event they are with out a guard dog and so the family will be more vulnerable to wolves attacking.

In chapter seven Charles encounters a large wolf pack that follows him on his journey back from the bachelors (“They were all around Pa in a moment“). He has to force his horse to move slowly to avoid causing the wolves to chase him, and as soon as the wolves leave him he rushes home. At this point we see the up close the danger wolves are to the family. Up until this point it has been a distant threat, such as in chapter one where, “Pa slept outside in the wagon, to guard it and the horses”. This close encounter with the wolves shows the danger they face as settlers is very real.

One less obvious hardship they face due to nature is the threat of malaria, and in chapter fifteen they are bitten by mosquitoes and contract malaria, or “Fever ’n’ Ague” as it is know to them.

Some other more minor examples of the hardships they face which are caused by nature are events such as the prairie fire which would have burned down their home, if they had not been able to control the fire. However the prairie fire that could of potentially burned down their home is thought to have been started by the Indians to force out the settlers form their new homes. There is also the instance in chapter eighteen where the girls think that Mr Edwards and Santa will not be able to visit them on Christmas day due to the bad weather, yet Mr Edwards swims across the river to bring them presents from Santa.