The Economic Structure Of Matewan Essay

1371 words - 5 pages

The Economic Structure of Matewan

The film Matewan, written and directed by John Sayles, depicts the small rural townof 1920's Mingo County, West Virginia as a society undergoing complete social unrest, a result of clashing ideals and economic systems. The film is an illustration of how different social systems come to be so intertwined that they cannot be defined independently of one another. Unfortunately for the people of Matewan, the feudalistic economic system imposed on them by the Stone Mountain Coal Company has come to dominate every facet of their existence, including their political system, their cultural identities, and even the environment in which they live. In order to try and take back control of their lives, the citizens of Matewan look to break free of the feudal system that binds them to the company and introduce the freedoms of capitalism into their social vocabulary.

In order to understand the unrest created and represented in Matewan, one must first understand the inherent differences of the two economic systems on dispaly in the film. An economic system is defined and can be understood through a series of questions that attempt to determine the relationships surrounding the production, distribution, and control over resources. These queries include: How do you gain access to materials useful inproduction? How do you get people to perform labor? How is the labor and production controlled and monitored? How do you get the products to the consumer? And finally, who gets the surplus? In feudalistic economic society, a worker has the freedom to choose to work, but he does not have a choice in who he works for. (As a result, he may be forced to work out of the basic human need to survive). A capitalistic economic society offers the worker not only the freedom to choose to work or not work, but also the freedom to choose his employer. The citiznes of the Matewan mining community were told that they were living in a democratic and therefore capitalist economic society, but their experience in the town burdened them with a much different realiy.

While we may not thinkof feudalism as an economic system that survived much past Medieval times, the reality of the social situation in Matewan during the 1920's can lead us to no other conclusion than that feudalism was able to hold its grip on a much more contemporary society. In Matewan, the Stone Mountain Coal Company ruled supreme, creating what is known as a monopoly. They owned everything in the county; the only source of employment, the houses, the land, even the currency, known as company scrip, which citizens used to purchase items in the only store in town- the company store. The citizens of Matewan were drawn to work for the Stone Mountain Coal Company because of the promises that were made to them: housing, decent employment with the possibilityof job advancement, and a decent community in which to live. We see these promises in action as...

Find Another Essay On The Economic Structure of Matewan

Solving the Structure of DNA Essay

945 words - 4 pages The Double Helix by James Watson is his personal reflection on discovering the structure of the DNA molecule. With contributions of other scientists, James Watson and Francis Crick were able to solve the structure of DNA. Through contributions and integral relationships of Watson and Crick to Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, Linus Pauling, and other smaller contributors the DNA structure was finally solved. The first and primary contribution

Why the Stock Market Crashed, the effect this had on the American People and how it affected the economic structure of the United States.

690 words - 3 pages their prices, and so forth. The overproduction also brought less interest from the European market, which further degraded jobs and business profits. A key figure during this time was Secretary of the treasury Andrew W. Mellon who believed in the dropdown economic effect, and wanted to stimulate the economy. Him and president Hoover, both tried to pass certain bills, to help revive the economy but it was too little too late.

The Role of Paradoxical Structure

1579 words - 6 pages declaring power a political entity, void of economic value. The structure of his paradox shows the conflicting arguments because power can be seen as both an economic and political body because its breath reaches beyond each system. Foucault then compares this paradox with the issue of rights as being given, thus placing the power in the hands of those who give, or rights being fundamental and thus natural, giving the power to the individual. He uses

The Importance of Organizational Structure

2446 words - 10 pages : work specialization, departmentalization, chain of command, span of control, centralization and decentralization, and formalization. The right organizational structure would allow their employees to accomplish organizational goals effectively and efficiently.The environment in which an organization operates holds significant bearing on its structure. Keep in mind that organizational structure only provides a fundamental framework. Consequently

The organization structure of NJIT

1040 words - 4 pages Question 1: Using NJIT as an example, explain how its organizational structure influences how work is organized, how people and groups communicate, and how decisions are made? Before explaining how the organizational structure of NJIT influences the organization of work, communication and decisions, it is essential to understand how the NJIT is structured. Organization structure of NJIT The organization structure of NJIT is complex and highly

Biology: The structure of Luciferase

1880 words - 8 pages Proteins play a fundamental role in the existence of living organisms. They are major contributors of cell structure and mobility, hormonal interaction, information exchange, and, most importantly, regulation of essential reactions. Enzymes are proteins that activate or inhibit the conversion of a substrate to a product. Often, enzymes catalyze reactions that are crucial for biological processes, but a few regulate other aspects of life

The Structure of an Airplane

1956 words - 8 pages The Structure of an Airplane The idea of flight has fascinated people for centuries, even to this day, which is why I decided to research on airplanes. When I researched the history on planes, I was surprised at the effort and the time people long ago spent trying to make a machine that flies. I also wondered, like many, how an airplane is able to fly and sustain in the air. Wanting to know the answers to these types of questions I

Italy Post-world war I and the political, social, economic structure.

1600 words - 6 pages D'Annunzio was dislodged only in December 1920, when Fiume became, briefly, an independent republic.The development of the Italian economy after World War II has been one of the country's major success stories. The period of economic reconstruction after the war was followed by unprecedented economic growth between 1950 and 1963. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 5.9 percent per annum during this time, reaching a peak of 8.3

Discovery of the Structure of DNA

2524 words - 10 pages Discovery of the Structure of DNA On the last day of February in 1953, according to James Watson, Francis Crick announced to the patrons of the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, “We have discovered the secret of life” (Watson 115, 1980). As Brian Hayes, the author of “The Invention of the Genetic Code” states, “If life ever had a secret, the double helix of DNA was surely it” (1). However, it was not the work of these two men alone that led to the

The Structure of the Canadian Government

1007 words - 4 pages The Structure of the Canadian GovernmentCanada's "Fathers of Confederation" adopted a federal form of government in 1867. A federal state is one that brings together a number of different political communities under a common government for common purposes and separate regional governments for the particular needs of each region.In Canada, the responsibilities of the federal system include national defense, interprovincial and international trade

The Political Structure of the Hutu Peoples

2132 words - 9 pages The nature of the political structure of the Hutu peoples before the 19th century is only properly understood when a multitude of other factors are examined. Aside from examining the basic political system in which the Hutu lived it must be determined why the Hutu shaped their particular system in this way. This entails the assessment of factors such as their history based off of where they came from, what their identities became over hundreds

Similar Essays

The Explorations Of Structure Essay

1642 words - 7 pages . This mindset is what inspired cinematic innovation within the post-war period— art movements such as the French New Wave and Italian neo-realism emerged. Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard rejected the traditional conventions of cinematography, editing and structure and chose to create their own. Rooted in the Italian Neo-Realism movement in the fifties, Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini rejected the idea of realist films and sought to explore

The Structure Of Memory Essay

1799 words - 7 pages Introduction Prior research into the structure of memory have suggested that memory is comprised up from three separate stores each performing a specific and relatively inflexible function (in Passer, Smith, Holt, Bremner, Sutherland, & Vliek, 2009). That is the multi-store model, developed by Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968 in Passer et al., 2009) who claim a sensory memory store, short-term memory store (STM) and a long-term memory store (LTM

The Structure Of The Universe Essay

2265 words - 9 pages The way in which we currently view the structure of the universe has been developed throughout centuries by various astronomers whose predictions and observations have all aided in the development of this model. Aristotle based his model of the universe on Pythagorean theory which described the Earth as a sphere. His claims of a round Earth were reinforced by three observations. The first of these was that all Earthly matter moved towards the

The Structure Of The Personality Essay

2007 words - 8 pages The structure of the personality in psychoanalytic theory is threefold. Freud divided it into the id, the ego and the superego. Only the ego is visible, or on the surface one may say, while the id and the superego remain 'hidden,' below the surface of what we show of our personalities to others, but each has its own effects on the personality nonetheless. This essay seeks to explore these three layers of personality and how they work with one