The issue I am writing to you about has been on the News, in Magazines and in all the daily newspapers. It is a global problem, which needs to be addressed by all major world powers. On a more basic level, I feel that supermarkets, with their buying power, could influence governments by sourcing products, such as bananas, coffee and other important food/drinks from countries that encourage and support fairtrade.
This would help the under privileged, hard working native peoples of the world who pick, pack and send your products to get a decent wage for their labour. It seems to me that it is wrong when the people who only stack the shelves get fifteen times more than the people who have the most difficult jobs, who work for as long as possible just to feed their families. I am not putting the blame on you, but I think if you brought in fairtrade products to your stores and increased the price of each of them by a few pennies, I’m sure people will buy the products still because it is for a good, charitable cause, you will make a profit and the coffee bean growers and the banana growers would earn the right amount of money.
Also, show promotions to your customers in your store to educate the public to make them aware of how they can help. I apologize for the length of this letter but I think you will agree that I have a point.In the short story “The Man from Mars” by Margaret Atwood, Christine, the main character, is pursued by “a person from another culture.” As the Christine’s relationship with this man evolves, her ideas about people from another culture begin to surface. Her views are results of her mother’s ideologies and her social background. The story exposes prejudice attitudes in a person who thinks she has, “done my bit for internationalism.”
From the beginning, Christine expresses a general ignorant attitude towards people who are of a different cultural background from her. The two people in the story who expose her to different cultures are the man who is pursuing her and the servant girl. Christine describes the man as what her family would refer to him, “a person from another culture.” Thinking that he is an international student, her immediate reaction is to give him “her official welcoming smile.” Her smile implies a force of false emotions to appear warm and welcoming.
When she speaks to the man Christine reduces her speech to simplistic over-exaggerated language indicating the low intelligence Christine believes the man to have. She makes sense of his actions through an ignorant belief that it is because of his culture he acts so different. When the man writes his name on a piece of paper and asks her to do the same, Christine thinks, “In his culture…this exchange of names on pieces of paper was probably a formal politeness, like saying thank you.” Atwood shows Christine’s inability to identify with the man in the title, “The Man from Mars.” The man is from a country as remote from Christine as another planet.
The ignorant attitude is prevalent in Christine’s household, especially in her mother. When the man is invited to Christine’s house for tea, the mother states, “I think it’s a very nice gesture for us to make.” The attitude of helping another who is not as privileged reinforces the unequal status between both parties and further inhibits sincere understanding of the different culture. She believes should not continue her involvement because she has, “done my bit for internationalism.”
Christine exemplifies her dispassionate concern for the man when she expresses her wish to not get involved. During the investigation one policeman said when referring to people like the man pursuing Christine, “That kind don’t hurt you, they just kill you. You’re lucky you aren’t dead.” Her mother, perhaps thinking “that kind” referred to “people of another culture,” went further to say that the thing about people from another culture was that you could never tell whether they were insane or not because their ways were so different. Her mother’s appalling attitude towards “people of another culture” shapes Christine’s own beliefs and attitudes also.
Christine’s socioeconomic background allows her family to have servants. The fact that the girl is a servant allows Christine to believe that she holds a higher status than the girl. Throughout the story, the servant girl is referred to as “the girl.” The dehumanizing act of not referring to the girl by her name demonstrates Christine’s belief of unequal status between herself and the girl. Christine feels that it is sinful to have a girl. She is irritated that their expressions usually suggested they were being taken advantage of and that the only girls available now are either foreign or pregnant.
Christine’s feelings suggest that she feels the girls should be content in their place and being foreign or pregnant are negative attributes. Christine’s feeling also suggests that she has a fixated perception of the servant girl and she does not recognize the servant girl’s standpoint. Though the girl is pregnant the mother refuses to dismiss her. The mother is said to pride herself in her tolerance. The mother’s pride casts a haze over the her ability to identify with “people of another culture.” The servant girl, in Christine’s perspective, is progressively less easy to get along with. The servant girl’s manner indicates discontentedness with her life, in which the family’s ignorance only causes more frustration.
The short story revealed prejudice attitudes prevalent in society’s elite class. Atwood acknowledges the attitude but does not allow the characters themselves to acknowledge it. In today’s society, being prejudice or ignorant is disapproved. Many times when the issue of prejudice and ignorance is brought up, people automatically dismiss it because they believe themselves to lack these behaviors. This belief only hinders a person from recognizing his or her own ignorance and a common understanding among “people of another culture.”