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All Souls Essay

2298 words - 10 pages

Michael MacDonald’S All Souls is a heart wrenching insider account of growing up in Old Country housing projects located in the south of Boston, also known as Southie to the locals. The memoir takes the reader deep inside the world of Southie through the eyes of MacDonald. MacDonald was one of 11 children to grow up and deal with the many tribulations of Southie, Boston. Southie is characterized by high levels of crime, racism, and violence; all things that fall under the category of social problem. Social problems can be defined as “societal induced conditions that harms any segment of the population. Social problems are also related to acts and conditions that violate the norms and values found in society” (Long). The social problems that are present in Southie are the very reasons why the living conditions are so bad as well as why Southie is considered one of the poorest towns in Boston. Macdonald’s along with his family have to overcome the presence of crime, racism, and violence in order to survive in the town they consider the best place in the world.
Crime can be defined as “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law; especially: a gross violation of law” (Merriam Webster). In simpler terms, any act of breaking the law is committing a crime. Southie, Boston is full of crime as crime is the most prevalent social problem found in the town. Crime is the biggest contributor to the overall poor conditions of the neighborhood. The majority of the crimes committed in Southie are in the form of drugs. The leader of the drug trade of Southie during this time was a man named James Whitey Bulger. The reader would think that since he is leader of the majority of the crimes that are being committed that he would be hated, however the exact opposite is true. “ No one made us feel better about where we lived than Whitey Bulger… he was the king of Southie… he had definite rules that we all learned to live by, not because we had to, but because we wanted to… Whitey stepped up as our protector” (MacDonald 110). It was said that Whitey protected the neighborhood from thing such as drugs and gangs that occurred in the neighboring black towns, but in reality he was the advocate for drugs and gangs. Whitey Bulger is viewed as a protector of the neighborhood rather than the number one destroyer of the neighborhood.
Drugs had become an extremely large issue for the town of Southie. The drugs of choice in Southie were mainly pills and alcohol. Drugs consumed nearly an entire generation of young people. Many of the young boys wanted to be and eventually would become involved with drugs in the form of a drug dealer. Drug dealing was an easy way to make fast money in a town that was poverty and welfare stricken. “At the age of twelve, Kevin was now a major player in the drug trade of South, Boston” (MacDonald 114). Michael’s...

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