Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Falconer" by John Cheever

The story begins with a man by the name of Ezekiel Farragut who has been sent to Falconer, a one hundred year old prison for the murder of his brother. He is (or at least used to be) a college professor but nothing more then a criminal with no name, only a prison number and a small 8x8 foot cell he must share. The book continues with the day to day life in the prison where the prisoners are treated like animals with injustice and violence. The story also tells of Ezekiel's married life before his sentencing, which was stressed, unfaithful and mentally violent which also leads to the main theme i have come to accept for this book, when people are treated like animals, they will eventually become animals. In prison, Ezekiel lied, cheated, and acted very primal as a result of his surroundings while his social life as well has his love life out of prison forced built up anxiety and esteem issues that lead to the act of him killing his brother with a fire poker over just a disagreement. The book ends with Ezekiel successfully escaping from the prison in a body bag that was intended for his recently deceased cell mate.

1- Do you believe that if people are treated like animals, they will eventually let their surroundings be all they know?

2- Can you relate this to any story that you have heard or experienced first hand?

13 comments:

Hayley D 11/12 said...

1. The environment in which someone lives definitely impacts them. So if they live in a violent environment (such as the prison), they are bound to have some of that rub off on them at some point. I don't know if their surroundings will necessarily be all that they know but I don't think that anyone is ever the same person as they were before they went to prison.

Kaitlyn S. 13-14 said...

1. I believe that they would. They have to do what they have to do to survive. If the environment they are in is harsh and is animalistic, then I think they would start to become animalistic themselves. You learn from watching others.

2. I can't help but think of Lord of the Flies for this. I believe there are many examples of this but this is all I can think of at the moment.

Joe K. 11-12 said...

Yes, I do believe they will let their surroundings become all they know. I feel this way about question number one because when people are treated like animals, they need to act that way to survive. This effort to survive effects how people think and approach life choices. The effect of being at such a brutal prison can in my opinion parrallel the sideffects of serving in the armed forces. I feel this is true because as a human your primal instincts kick in, making you a much more brutal person than before, in an effort to stay alive.

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

I agree that if people are treated as animals, their surroundings will become all they know. Human beings must be respected and treated as though they are more than just animals. If one is not treated with respect, then he or she will lose respect for everyone and everything around him or her as a result. The surroundings, meaning nothing to the person, would be all he or she knows.

Vanessa D. 13-14 said...

1.) I think that when humans are treated as animals, they will act more animal like. Humans are technically animals, but humans have the ability to fit in with what we consider a social norm. We have been surrounded by humans who have become, for the most part, civilized, therefore this is what we know and how we act. If a person is treated like an animal, and like in the story basically cut off from society, they will begin to act like an animal because their memory of what it means to be human will become foggy. Almost like the whole when you begin to lie to yourself so much it becomes the truth kind of thing.

2.) Like Kat said, I also think of Lord of The Flies.

David G. 13-14 said...

1. I believe that if humans are treated like animals, it is inevitable that they will become animals for the simple fact that this is the only way they have of surviving. Being civil is an objective of no man when their own life is on the line and they know that being brutally ferocious when needed is the only way to keep themselves alive.

Eric Y 13-14 said...

For question one, I do believe if people are treated wrongly then in turn they will treat others the same. It seems like the kids who are the nicest always come from a good foundation. Nuture > Nature.

For two, it seems like most people like Ezekiel, who are imprisoned, have had some backround history in which they were treated wrongly.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

1. If people are treated like animals, then their environment will soon be all they know. When someone is in a situation or living style for a long time, they become acustom to that life style and soon it will be an every day thing. We are used to living in a city, but other people are used to living on farms or in the mountains. It all depends on the person and what the situation they are in. If humans are treated like animals for a long time, then soon enough, we will be living like animals. This leads to them knowing only their surroundings because they will not be respected by others.
2. I agree with everyone that this relates to Lord of The Flies.

Courtney R 5-6 said...

1) I believe that if people are treated like animals, they will eventually forget most things that they've learned, like how to be humane. Even if they don't forget how they used to act, they may just act as animals because they may feel as if that is all they are. It may depend on the individual and how harsh the enviornment that he lives in is.

KatherineS13-14 said...

1) I believe that for most people, if they are treated like animals, they will eventually act as animals. However, I also believe that there are exceptions to every rule and some people would be able to keep their civility and never completely become animalistic.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

Being treated like an animal can have traumatizing effects on a person.
This usually results in people having less self esteem and feeling like they are worthless, unless they are treated like animals of Paris Hilton, in this case, they would feel like children because Ms. Hilton gives her dogs pedicures.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

1) I believe that surroundings do have a huge impact on a person's behaviors and their mentality. If a person is in an abusive or bad environment they will be different than someone who lives in a healthy or positive environment. Genetics determine a lot about someone but environment plays a huge role in determining how a person turns out.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

Thread closed