Sunday, December 8, 2019

Master narrative free essay sample

Life is a history of master narratives, controlling the views of many individuals. The definition of master narrative can seem quite vague, but the values and limitations it holds give it purpose in the world. Whether or not the purpose of a master narrative is acknowledged varies between each person. Master narratives are not always right or wrong— true or false, good or bad— they are a way to marginalize society into thinking a certain way. Master Narratives always have and always will shape the beliefs and knowledge of the world by defining and defying society’s thoughts, emotions, and actions through the stereotypical views of our world. Master narrative is a concept that describes the overall ‘story’ of an event or occurrence. They are the base where all other stories branch out of, and conduct the way different ideological groups think, feel, act and what they believe in. I describe master narratives as being vague because within different ideological groups, the same concept could portray a very different outlook, resulting in a completely different master narrative on the same or similar topic. Master narratives within ideological groups are not considered vague because the concept is something everyone in that specific group knows about and usually agrees upon. What is not clearly defined, is the whole definition of what master narratives ‘could be’ in all other ideological groups, races, regions, religions, cultures, sexes, etc. If a person is based in a certain group, for example: females, African Americans, Canadians, elderly, teenagers†¦ it does not mean they have to believe everything or agree with the ‘master narratives’ that go along with the stereotypical consensus of those groups. As Robert Fulford describes in his article on master narrative, â€Å"they [master narratives] are often wrong in significant ways,† they are overgeneralized, distorted, and belittling (31). Postmodernism comes into play when the realization that a single persons truths or beliefs may be vastly different from anyone else’s. The point of postmodernism is not to search for the truth, but to understand the concept that everyone has their own perception of these truths. Master narratives and postmodernism go hand-in-hand as there is no absolute truth that every person on Earth abides to, therefore there are thousands of different master narratives. A master narrative of Western civilization—2014 edition—would be: every person is equally valued. This statement is true now, but up until the early 20th Century the master narrative was that the ‘white man ruled. ’ Women had no independence, ‘Blacks’ were slaves, and Native Americans lost their land; mass amounts of discrimination determined what these people could do, where they could go, how they were treated and how much money they made. Not until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did the master narrative based upon these groups of people begin to change. Yet today, in different areas of the world they may still follow or believe in a similar master narrative as Western civilization used to. Master narratives provide an overall feeling of what is, or is not, acceptable based on the ideologies of a larger group of individuals. Master narratives have rules and regulations that determine how they are constructed and why they shape the world. In order to understand master narratives there needs to be limitations, which provide structure and values, guiding the morals of the world—which are not always good— along with a sense of history and storytelling. The limits that construct master narratives rely on facts and order; they have an expiry date, are not very descriptive, are able to alternate, and provide the basic framework of the event or story. Master narratives cannot be only one person’s idea, concept, belief, or life story. They are the overall ‘thoughts’ of society, from which individual ideas and beliefs branch out from. Master narratives provide society with bases of knowledge and a guideline for conducting daily life. Historical events, thoughts on society or religion, what we think is good or bad, right or wrong, all have to do with master narratives. If there were not master narratives like: The Bible, Slavery, Abortion†¦telling society what to believe in or think is right or wrong, people would not know about them or their importance. Master narratives do not always have respectable connotations. For instance, the consumption of marijuana used to have a lingering master narrative that â€Å"linked the use of marijuana with violence, crime and other socially deviant behaviors, primarily committed by ‘racially inferior’ or underclass communities† according to the â€Å"Marijuana Timeline† on PBS. org. Today marijuana is legal for medical use in nine different states across America, with two of these states including regulations for recreational use. Society lets master narratives judge whole groups of people based on the incidents of a few individuals which is very stereotypical. However, the master narrative does not have the control or ability to determine every person’s actions. A master narrative that resonates with me is the view American’s have on Canadians- that they are over polite and always say ‘sorry’ even when it is not their fault. I would think being very polite is one of the best qualities Canadians have, yet Americans make fun of us for it or think we are ignorant because of it. I hear this master narrative all over the place, whether it is on the internet, TV, or from friends. It is not that I completely disagree with this statement, but I think it is a very stereotypical view on Canadians. This master narrative is also extremely vague as I have met many Canadians who are rude and arrogant, and who certainly are not polite to all those they interact with. Additionally, I have traveled to Mexico and found that people there are generally more pleasant and kind than a vast majority of people I have met in Canada. In conclusion, the concept of master narrative is to marginalize society’s thoughts, feelings, and actions by inducing values and limitations for humanity to follow and believe in. With this being said, master narratives hold a purpose in the way society conducts their lives but it also produces an immensely stereotypical view on certain subjects and it is the decision of each individual whether or not they wish to follow the ‘master narratives’ of the world.

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