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Black Swan Green Speech - Social Hierarchy and Bullying

Essay by   •  May 19, 2011  •  Presentation or Speech  •  318 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,893 Views

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Black Swan Green Speech - Social Hierarchy and Bullying

My first topic of discussion is the social hierarchy, a backbone in the story of Black Swan Green. Hierarchies are evident in many places of modern life - take the army for example or parliament - but the aim of hierarchies in the novel is to put kids into place and maintain a certain level of order. We, and others around us, are constantly judging others and comparing their social status to ours in an attempt to make us feel secure and accepted. This is Jason's aim throughout the book and he feels the only way to get this is to further climb the rungs of the social ladder. Jason clearly explains how kids are classed: "Names aren't just names. Kids who're really popular get called by their first names, so Nick

Yew's always just 'Nick'. Kids who're a bit popular have sort of respectful nicknames. Next down are kids like me who call each other by our surnames. Below us are kids with piss-take nicknames. If I called Gilbert Swinyard, just 'Swinyard' he'd kick my face in. Or if I called Moron 'Dean' in front of everyone, it'd damage my own standing." This ranking system is sort of like the army - it keeps order and teaches discipline, whilst still maintaining respect among each other.

The higher ranking characters in Black Swan Green have set restrictions on what is deemed as socially acceptable. Anything that's too childish or feminine is classified as gay. Jason explains: You can't just say, 'I'm out for a walk,' 'cause walks are gay or Even saying 'Hello' to hardkids is gay so I just said, 'All right?' This places limitations on Jason's life, damaging the relationship with the rest of his family. He tolerates these boundaries all so that he doesn't fall down the hierarchy.

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