2/23/2012

Organisational Behaviour

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Table of Contents


1. Summary of Key Facts……………………………………………


. Statement of the Problem…………………………………………


. Causes of the Problem…………………………………………….4


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4. Solutions, Implementations and Justifications…………………..6


a. Needs Theories……………………………………………..6


b. Individual Difference………………………………………7


c. Cognitive……………………………………………………8


d. Situational…………………………………………………..8


5. Conclusion…………………………………………………………..


6. References………………………………………………………….11


1. Summary of Key Facts


Company XYZ (XYZ) is a venture capital group established to invest in high risk - high reward ventures. These start-up companies develop technologies and products such as therapeutics, that are subsequently commercialised through partnerships within the US and European pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.


A “Greenfield” operation, XYZ was set up as a wholly owned subsidiary of a government corporation XXX. Funds of 100 million were made available from the State Government. As such, political pressure from the state government placed enormous expectation on the performance of those who initially joined XYZ.


As the CEO, I was the first person to start at XYZ and was responsible for recruiting a suitable team of six to manage the fund. A pre-conceived incentive plan had been proposed by XXX that outlined profit (carried interest) sharing arrangements between the State Government (80%), XXX (15%) and members of the XYZ team (5%). As members joined the group they were initially motivated by the new opportunity at hand, but the motivation flagged, along with performance, as they began to realise the details of the incentive scheme. They considered the split between XYZ and XXX inequitable and proposed it be changed in favour of the XYZ team who actively managed the fund.


. Statement of the Problem


The team identified a number of specific problems surrounding the incentive scheme


• The scheme was developed without input from the XYZ team


• XYZ’s annual performance bonus pool was to be drawn from capital from the long-term incentive scheme which may not be realised before seven years.


• The incentive scheme was not considered equitable with other incentive schemes within the venture capital sectors, where most of the carried interest goes to the staff managing the fund.


I also identified three major problems within the XYZ team that may, or may not, have been caused by the incentive scheme problems


• Firstly, there was a general lack of motivation, satisfaction and performance amongst group members. One individual threatened to leave the company if the incentive inequities between XXX and XYZ and indeed the rest of the industry sector were not addressed.


• Secondly, there were difficulties associated with leading the XYZ team. One employee retaliated against the CEO, as well as retaliating against the organisation by breaching confidentiality and complaining publicly about XYZ and XXX.


• Thirdly, there were diminished organisational citizenship behaviours, in that some of the employees refused to engage in any activities that helped others within the team.


. Causes of the problem


According to Hughes et al. 00 there is a close relationship between motivation, performance, satisfaction and leadership.


Kanfer (10) defines motivation as anything that provides direction, intensity, and persistence to behaviour. In these respects the incentive scheme is deficient. There are no specific KPA’s, that directs the employees towards achievement of the high-performance required to achieve significant carried interest. The relative amounts of carried interest apportioned to XXX versus XYZ may impact on the intensity of motivation. Finally, persistence of positive behaviours is unlikely given that the incentive is so far out into the future (7 years), that the maintenance of even short- to mid- term motivation is unlikely.


Performance is concerned with those behaviours directed towards the organisations mission and goals. An adequate level of motivation may be a necessary but insufficient condition of effective performance (Hughes et al. 00). Higher motivation will usually only effect performance if other factors are present. Intelligence, skill, and the availability of key resources can affect an employee’s behaviour in accomplishing organisational goals, yet they are independent of the person’s level of motivation.


The problem with performance was not only related to lack of motivation due to the inappropriateness of the individual performance bonus and team incentive programs, but may have also related back to the fact that the vision, values and mission had not yet been established. The vision, values and mission and associated key performance areas were to be developed once the XYZ team, in its entirety, had been recruited. Without this clear direction and availability of the relevant allocated resources the employee’s effectiveness in accomplishing organisational goals was likely to be diminished, regardless of motivational level.


A related problem may have involved the skill and experience base of individual team members. Individuals from the more mature mining industry had been recruited for their commercial acumen and legal qualifications to balance out the PhD/MBA members of the team from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. This meant that the mining individuals, although extremely valuable in the commercial arena, would need careful coaching in order to develop the appropriate skills associated with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical arenas. Without these skills it was likely that diminished motivation may have had some impact on the poor level of performance.


Job satisfaction involves the attitudes or feelings about the job itself, pay, promotion, or educational opportunities, supervision, co-workers and workload (Saal & Knight, 188). The implicit link between satisfaction and motivation is that satisfaction increases when employees are able to accomplish a task, especially when the task is challenging. Again without the appropriate skill base some of the employees could not be delegated the more challenging activities which would have normally led to a high degree of satisfaction.


Although performance and job satisfaction are related, it is not logically true that performance must be higher among more satisfied workers (Podsakoff & Williams, 186). There is considerable debate as to whether satisfaction causes performance, performance causes satisfaction and/or rewards cause both performance and satisfaction (Greene, 185; Iaffaldano & Muchinsky 185; Lorenzi, 178). The most compelling argument is that the correct allocation of rewards do positively influence both performance and satisfaction. Performance contingent reward or incentive is most likely to influence performance in a positive way. Satisfaction and performance should be considered as two separate but interrelated work results that are affected by the allocation of rewards (Wood et al., 001).


Research has shown that people that are more satisfied with their jobs will also willingly engage in organisational citizenship behaviours. These are behaviours not directly related to one’s job that are helpful to others at work and therefore supportive of the workplace (Bettercourt, Gwinner & Meuter, 001). The growing level of dissatisfaction meant that team members began to work more autonomously, taking total control of specific areas, not interested in other team members input and failed to leverage their own skills and experiences across the projects within the team.


Various leadership behaviours can often result in more satisfied employees. Leaders must be in a position where they can effectively solve problems and implement the necessary motivational techniques. The ability to motivate is vitally important to morale and performance. Additionally team members need to be appropriately selected, power and influence tactics need to be used correctly, the leader must be seen as being ethical and credible, provide the necessary resources, develop employee skills and remove barriers to allow the group to accomplish it’s goals. If employees do not have the appropriate skills or resources to accomplish a group task then trying to continually increase their motivation may diminish their performance and frustrate them (Campbell, 188).


4. Solutions, Implementations and Justifications


This section uncovers possible solutions and implementations through a discussion of the key aspects of 10 different approaches to motivation in the context of performance, satisfaction and leadership. The approaches are organised into four categories comprising need theories, individual-difference approaches, cognitive theories, and situational approaches.


a. Need Theories


In order to get the XYZ employees to engage and persist with the behaviours needed to accomplish group goals, an appeal to their needs may be made. The three major needs theories include Maslow’s (154) hierarchy of needs, Alderfer’s (16) existence-relatedness-growth (ERG) theory, and Herzberg’s (164, 166) two-factor theory. All three theories are similar in that they assume that people are motivated to satisfy a universal set of needs, but differ primarily in the types of needs that supposedly underlie or drive people’s behaviour.


From Maslow’s perspective the best solution may involve taking account of the employees position on the needs hierarchy and ensure all lower-order needs are satisfied before appealing to employees self-esteem or self-actualisation needs. Physiological and security needs are very well catered for at XYZ, but one way the teams belongingness needs may be improved could be to allow them to present their specific projects to the board each month as part of the regular board meetings.


Alderfer’s perspective that multiple needs can be satisfied simultaneously, may indicate that if we are simultaneously able to supply tools for development of skill gaps within the group (for example the biotechnology skills) we may also be able to help satisfy growth needs that motivate individuals to achieve greater personal and organisational challenges.


Hertzberg suggests absence of hygiene factors such as supervision, working conditions, co-workers, pay, policies/procedures and job security result in dissatisfaction, while motivators related to achievement, recognition, the work itself responsibility, advancement and growth result in satisfaction. Focusing on Hertzberg’s motivators it may be possible to establish second and third funds that allow current employees to achieve and be recognised within the primary fund, and take on the responsibility of a second or third fund in the future.





b. Individual Difference


Unlike the needs theories that assume people share some fundamental needs the individual difference approach assumes individual differences and emphasises a person’s intrinsic motivation to perform and achieve a particular task. To improve group performance it will be important to select only those employees who possess both the right skills and have a higher level of achievement orientation or find work to be intrinsically motivating (Atkinson, 157; McClelland 185). One solution may be to set up the group as a functional-project matrix allowing individuals to leverage their specialist skills across all of the projects while the most achievement oriented individuals act as leaders to drive projects across the various functional specialties.


c. Cognitive


The next set of theories, goals setting, ProMES and expectancy theory, examine motivation from a cognitive perspective. These theories assume that individuals make rational conscious choices about the direction, intensity and persistence of their behaviours and generally engage in behaviours that maximize payoffs and minimize costs.


For example in alignment with goal setting theory firstly the employees need to be shown that the goals are both specific and difficult, to result in consistently high effort and performance (Locke and Latham, 10). Secondly, in order to get critical goal commitment the goals need to be set through participation with employees. Thirdly, goals would be accompanied by feedback. This could be accomplished by holding an off-site meeting where XYZ team members could co-develop the vision, values, mission and associated goals.


Complementary to goal setting, the expectancy theory would involve motivation of employees by clarifying links between behaviours, performance and rewards (Vroom, 164). Further to this ProMES theory involves motivating others by clarifying links between behaviours, performance, evaluations, rewards, and personal needs. The mission and associated goals could be used as a guide to develop key performance areas, where each individual is clear about the short-term and long-term, individual and team rewards associated with achieving specific responsibilities, while feedback is measured via known measurement criteria.


d. Situational


The job characteristic and operant approach, examine motivation from a situational perspective. Leaders will likely be more effective if they learn to recognise situations where various approaches, or the insights particular to them, may be differentially useful. For example particular members of the team may find great motivation in taking positions on the board of directors of the companies for post-deal governance activities, contingent on successfully completing investment decision making recommendations, following through due diligence and adopting appropriate behaviours with the investee companies during deal negotiation and closing.


In summary the following activities are to be implemented as a result of the chosen solutions described above


• 60 degree interview to ensure other leadership or team issues are identified


• Team advance (off-site meeting) to co-establish vision, values, mission, goals, key performance areas, specific responsibilities and measurement criteria that would constitute our annual performance review process.


• Implement the functional-project matrix and delegate specific responsibilities and accountabilities.


• Rectification of the extrinsic reward system (performance bonus scheme and team profit-share incentive) to provide both short-term and long-term incentives on both an individual and team basis.


• GAPS analysis of skills and resources and appropriate coaching and development plans for identified team members.


• Opportunities to present to the XYZ board and participate as directors on the boards of investee companies.


5. Conclusion


Management continuity and commitment is critical for optimal fund performance. The need to encourage retention and alignment by providing the team with both short-term and long-term incentives, with consideration of both individual and team performance and comprising both financial and personal development incentives has been shown to be essential.


The optimal solutions chosen addressed the underlying causes of these issues including motivation, performance, satisfaction and leadership. Motivation was shown to impact directly or indirectly on performance, satisfaction and leadership and the solutions subsequently chosen and implemented addressed these rather than simply correcting the monetary rewards associated with the performance bonus and incentive scheme.


6. References (as they appear in the text)


Roach, C.F., and Behling, O. (184) Functionalism Basis for an Alternate Approach to the Study of Leadership. In Leader and managers International Perspectives on Managerial Behaviour and Leadership. Ed. J.G., Hunt, D.M., Hosking, C.A, Schriesheim, and R., Stewar. Elmsford, NY Pergamon, 184.


Hughes, Ginnet & Curry (1) Leadership (rd edition) Irwin McGraw Hill


Kanfer, R. “Motivation Theory in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.” In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Vol. 1. Ed. M.D. Dunnette and L.M. Hough. Palo Alto, CA Consulting Psychologists Press, 10, pp. 75-170.


Saal, F.E., and P.A. Knight. Industrial Organisational Psychology Science and Practice. Belmont, CA Brooks/Cole, 188.


Bettencourt, L. A., K. P. Gwinner and M. L. Meuter “A Comparison of Attitude, Personality, and Knowledge Predictors of Service-Oriented Organisational Citizenship Behaviours.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, no. 1 (001), pp. -41.


Campbell, J.P. “Training Design for Performance Improvement.” In Productivity in Organisations New Perspectives from Industrial and Organisational Psychology. Ed. Campbell, J. P., Campbell R. J. and associates. San Francisco Jossey-Bass, 188, pp. 177-16.


Podsakoff, P.M. and Williams L.J. “The Relationship Between Job Performance and Job Satisfaction.” In Generalising from Laboratory to Field Setting. Ed. E.A. Locke. Lexington, MA Lexington, 186.


Greene, C.N. ‘The Satisfaction-Performance Controversy’, Business Horizons, Vol. 15 (17), p.1.


Iaffaldano, M.T. and Muchinsky, P.M. ‘Job Satisfaction and Job Performance A Meta-Analysis’, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 7 (185), pp. 51-7.


Lorenzi, P. ‘A comment on Organ’s Reappraisal of the Satisfaction-Causes-Performance Hypothesis’, Academy of Management Review, Vol. (178), pp. 80-.


Wood, J., Wallace, J., Zeffane, R.M., Schermerhorn, J.R., Hunt, J.G., & Osborn, R.N. (001) Organisational Behaviour Global Perspective, nd edn., Brisbane John Wiley & Sons.


Atkinson, J.W. “Motivational Determinants of Risk Taking Behaviour.” Psychological Review 64 (157), pp. 5-7.


McClelland, D.C. Human motivation. Glenview, IL Scott Foresman, 185.


Maslow, A.H. Motivation and Personality. New York Harper &Row, 154.


Alderfer, C.P. “An empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Needs.” Organisational Behaviour and Human Performance 4 (16), pp. 14-75.


Hertzberg, F. The Motivation-Hygiene Concept and Problems of Manpower.” Personnel Administrator 7 (164), pp.-7.


Hertzberg, F. Work and the Nature of Man. Cleveland, OH World publishing 166.


Locke, E.A., and Latham, G.P. “Work Motivation and Satisfaction Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Psychological Science 1(10), pp.40-46.


Vroom, V.H. Work and Motivation. New York John Wiley, 164.


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2/20/2012

"why i live at the P.O.

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In the short story “Why I Live at the P.O.”, author Eudora Welty creates a “grim comedy” in which what happens to the characters immediately seem to be funny but in the end cause them to have a destructive ending. Welty borrows from her own life experiences from being raised in the South to develop a story in which a comic character lives their own sad destructive life in the South. Welty “presents the distortions of life in the context of the ordinary… feminine nonsense-family life, relatives, conversations, eccentric old people- and a sharp, penetrating eye for the seams of this world, through which a murderous light shines.”(Oates 54-7)


Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi on April 1, 10. Her parents were from the North; her father from Wisconsin and her mother from Virginia. As a child she was fond of reading and love writing. She had many pieces published in children’s magazines as a preteen. She went to Mississippi State College for women for two years but then transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she got her B.A. in English. She then briefly attended Columbia in New York. She then returned to Mississippi in 11. After returning to Mississippi, she took up a job writing to society news for a popular newspaper, Later she took on a job traveling Mississippi as a “junior publicity agent” promoting in remote and rural areas of the state. Welty’s writing is not easily categorized. Due to her wide range of talent and interests, she writes in both subject and narrative terms and has produced a varied body of work. A majority of Welty’s work takes place in the South during the Great Depression. Place is important in a story because the authors felling tend to be associated with it. Since Welty was raised during this time she can give the reader a sense of what really happened. In her stories Welty exposes human pettiness and looks at both side of family and community life, as dark as it may turn out to be at times. “Above all else her stories portray a wide variety of attitudes and peoples living in a recognizable human world of beauty and corruption, tenderness and hate, wonder and boredom. The stories are concerned largely with single moments of personal crisis and move towards and explore the nature of conflict as characters struggle to clarify their choices, to come to terms with themselves and the world around them. Although a strong sense of an ordered community binds the settings of the stories together, it is the dark, inner lives of the characters that interest her more than their public faces. She is more concerned with individual self-deception rather than with social hypocrisy.”(Jones 175-) The stories concern is always with the human dilemma. They see deprivation as a human question, not about income and status but about love and loneliness.


The way Southern life in the story is expressed gives the reader a personal look into what happened and how life was then. The story is set in a rural town in Mississippi called China Grove. The family all lived together in the story, Mama, Papa-Daddy, Uncle-Rondo, Sister, and Stella-Rondo plus her new daughter whom sister thinks is adopted. From the story you get the image of a two-story home in a way a little run down. There is no air conditioning; after all it is set during the Great Depression before there was air conditioning. The family has a fun but for the large part you would open the windows to cool down the house. Stella-Rondo has it set in her mind it is cooler with the windows shut and locked. The reader can tell the story is set during the great depression because the string of fire crackers was only five cents. There is a hammock in the front yard and everyone has gathered for a Fourth of July celebration. Everyone wants to get in the hammock before the day is over due to it being “so suffocating-hot in the house with all the windows shut and locked”. The family cooks a lot as you can see by when Mama is cooking two chickens for only six people and Sister made some green-tomato pickle. The entire family gets together and plays cards together, which now days everyone would be watching television. Welty uses the “language” of the South to pull the reader in and to make it seem as if they were watching this while you were there. If she had been grammatically correct with all of the language then it would take away from the story making it feel as if it were elsewhere. In the story you got the feeling as if it was a dimly light house or a little dirty and like it was in the deep-south but if the southern dialect had not been used this would not be the feeling.


The characters in “Why I live at the P.O.” all have there own personal traits that set them out from one another. Sister has a sense of childishness and is very petty. She is fighting with her family which subsequently leads her to leave the family home and move in at the post office. Throughout the story she bickers and fights with everyone over seemingly meaningless things. Such as the name calling and making a point to take the radio that was given to her, that was previously Stella-Rondo’s, in front of the entire family. Sister feels that since her sister has returned home after separating from her husband that her sister has turned the entire family against her. Stella-Rondo has returned home and since that has happened she has lied to everyone about who said what during conversations between herself and sister. She said something to Papa-Daddy who is Mama’s father about him cutting off his bread and said sister wanted him to so now he dislikes sister. Stella-Rondo also said something to Uncle-Rondo about the Kimono he wore and Stella-Rondo also told him Sister said she disliked it which then he tore it of and was made at her also. After Sister moved into the P.O. with everything she could lay claim to the family never came to visit. They would not even come to mail a letter. In all the entire family was petty. They argued and did things that they knew would upset the others.


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This story is a sort of “grim comedy”. Welty introduces you to the characters making it seem as if everything is fine and dandy but she causes them to think within themselves to figure out what to do with what the problems they encounter. The characters are tragic figures. The characters have a sense of “dullness, bitterness, rancor and self-pity”. Welty’s stories offer a wide “range of mood, pace and tone”(Porter xi-xxiii). In many of her stories she limits herself to one town or one state which she is acquainted with. Her characters have a funny surface and community image but a destructive personal life which in the end leads to their destruction. Welty has borrowed from her own experience to create these unique characters.








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2/19/2012

Writing is Another Form of Language

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Writing is Another Form of Language


The article “Facts and Fantasies About Language,” states that, “People feel that a language which has never been written is not really a language at all”. This statement seems to be a fantasy which is far from fact. What is language? Why do people feel that a language which has not been written is not really a language? This fantasy concerns language with the relation of speech and writing.


Webster defines language in two ways, “1.) Words with their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community. .) A systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings”. According to the two definitions, language has very little to do with the written form, however, writing can be a form of language, but language is based on understanding forms of communication. In recent studies there are over 6,800 different languages. Over half of theses languages have no written form. It would be severe to say that theses non-written forms of speech are not languages.


Then why do people feel a language which has never been written is not really a language? What “people” feel this? The people with speech and a system of writing for their speech may feel this. The written part of a language is just its structure with grammatical rules. The structure and grammatical rules allow people to learn and understand a language. But the writing does not make the language. It is the understood form of communication between people.


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Language is used everyday. The term can be used in many different senses. Some people use language to refer to speech forms that share similar vocabulary, and dialect to refer to speech forms. Or they may consider varieties to constitute the same language which have similar structure and grammatical systems. Which ever way people decide to communicate, it is all considered a form of language





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2/18/2012

The prospect of Direct Investment in South Africa and Japan

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Introduction


With the rapid development of Australian tourism industry, as Australia¡¯s only remaining grand hotel with 140 years history, our business increased 0 percent over the last 5 years and has been a leading hotel for decades. At the same time, Australian local market has trended to be saturation. If we want to keep and surmount this growing tendency, expanding overseas markets is the best choice for the company. South Africa and Japan were selected as the destinations for our future investment and setting up our branches. The purpose of this study is to prospect the direct investment conditions and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of these two destinations.


Some business essentials will be used for evaluation. According to Porter¡¯s theory of competitive advantage, a success in international business depends on four basic elements and two additional variables. This essay will analyze the FDI environment in South Africa and Japan from these basic aspects.


The related information and data were obtained from the two governments¡¯ official websites and documents, from some professional journals and periodicals.


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This study is based on Porter¡¯s competitive advantage theory and just focuses on the basic elements of FDI. It could not contain all aspects of running subsidiaries. It could not predict the occurring of unexpected changes in policies or other aspects too. And our study field just focuses on the same grade as ours (the world best hotel five-star hotel). While they are limiting factors, this study is just used for making primary investment decision.


Analysis


South Africa


Positive


As a large emerging and opened market, South Africa supplied many outstanding reservations. The following factors will be discussed (1) ideal demand conditions () less-rivals market () the government¡¯s privilege policies (4) similar cultural background in management and language. The third one can bring more benefits to us.


South Africa is one of the strangest and most dramatic landscapes in the world. Depending on the kaleidoscope fascinating cultures and the unique wealth of natural resources, South Africa attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. According to South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism¡¯s statistics, from Jan to Mar 00, overseas tourists was 461,17. Although we have not got the latest statistic figure, it is reasonable to believe that this figure should keep increasing because of the booming of worldwide tourism. Of course, South Africa¡¯s tourism industry can not compare with Australia¡¯s (In Jan 00, 416,700 visitors arrived Australia.). But the market of supplying accommodation and related services to the tourists is large enough and could not be ignored.


At the same time, the competition in South Africa is not as serious as that in Australia. In South Africa, there are 17 five-star hotels totally, respectively, 8 in western cape, 4 in Garden Route, in Gauteng, in Mpumalanga, 1 in Sancity (South African Golfing & Safari Tours, 00). Correspondingly, we have 55 adversaries in Melbourne, 15 of them are the same as us, five-star hotel. So, if we set up branch in South Africa, we have a large space in high-grade accommodation service to develop and need not face a severity rigorous competitive situation.


As for government activity, in order to own a competitive fast-growing economy and society, South Africa government worked out a serious of policies to encourage FDI. As a principal industry, tourism has been paid more attention to.


In May 16, Government of South Africa & Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism made an official document, ¡°The Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa¡±. In that document, the government of South Africa emphasized the importance of attracting foreign investment in tourism industry, consented to go on practice the previous preferential policies and constitute new ones in a higher height in order to ¡°achieve growth and development objectives of the tourism growth¡±.


The document pointed out that ¡°the hotel sector has been the main target of incentives. Tax concessions were made available to hotels which included the write-off building cost over 0 years.¡± And the government planned to make a movement away from tax related incentive schemes, towards ¡°on budget¡± subsidies and grants.


In addition, South Africa government has begun to operate tourism financing schemes since 1, namely, the Ecotourism Scheme and the General Tourism Scheme. They approve loans, which can help us to deal with the problems in fund.


Furthermore, because of western long-term colonial rein in South Africa¡¯s history, the mainstream culture of South Africa¡¯s society is inclined to western. We have the similar management principles, have the similar frames of reference and use the same official language-English. All of these will bring a lot of conveniences to our business.


Last but not least, investment in South Africa can bring more opportunities to us for our business¡¯s future development in other African countries. Because of well-known historical and cultural reasons, western culture plays the same important part in South Africa society as traditional African culture. South Africa is the gateway of other African countries and African culture. If we can be successful and gain useful experience in South Africa, it will become easier to enter other African countries¡¯ markets.


Negative


There are some obstacles for our investment too, which display in labour, management, government officers¡¯ corruption and underdeveloped infrastructures.


It is necessary to get qualified local middle managers and skilled workers for our future hotel. Unfortunately, it is difficult in South Africa. There are two main reasons for this problem.


Firstly, the average education level is very low in South Africa. Armestrony (15, p) stated that there are only 1.1 million people have university or college training in total 41 million population and believed that this situation should contribute to apartheid education system. Black children hardly have opportunity to study 0 years ago. Now they grow up without education. It is difficult to select trained employees for our middle manager positions from them.


Secondly, AIDS grabs labors with us. South Africa now has the world¡¯s highest infection rate of AIDS that could climb to 5 percent by 010. The impact on business is becoming increasing apparent. Simon Bernard (1, p05) pointed out that ¡°the spread of disease is taking its toll in falling productivity, rising rate of absenteeism, and loss of skilled workers.¡±


There are still troubles in management. According to Ahmed, Heller & Hughes¡¯s survey (1, p74 (1)), the hospitality industry in South Africa is highly disordered. And as another legacy of apartheid, ¡°large segments of the population do not have a clear notion of what tourism entails or what customer service is all about.¡± Of course, everything of our branch in South Africa must cater for international standards, so we have to spend more time on management and training employees.


Government officers also could bring problems to us. As a common social problem, corruption maybe is more serious in South Africa than that in Australia. In South Africa, corruption occurred in ¡°courts, customs, business licensing and so on¡±. (No obvious author, 00), ¡°Just how bad is it, really? Corruption in South Africa¡±, (The Economist US, August , Vol. 68, No. 85, p45.) In the whole process of investment, from building our hotel, applying for licensing and loans to solving taxation problems, running, we need South Africa government offers¡¯ help in every step. So corruption problems can not be avoided and should be dealt with carefully in specific work.





The infrastructures in South Africa are underdeveloped and can not compare with that in Japan and Australia. The transportation system and water, electricity and gas supply system should be developed as soon as possible in order to avoid baffling the evolution of South Africa¡¯s economy. South Africa¡¯s area is about four times as large as Japan¡¯s, but it¡¯s railroads length is less than Japan¡¯s and its highways length is less than Japan¡¯s one-fifth. Although its airport number is the largest but the quality is not satisfied. Its water, electricity and gas supply system have not built up a sound network. If the location of our hotel is near city center, the negative terrible effect of infrastructures can be avoided partly. On contrary, maybe we need to build special pipelines for ourselves. (Please see Appendix Table for the details.)


Japan


Positive


Japanese investment environment and hotel industry are total different from South Africa and Australia. As one of the most developed countries, Japan has many obvious strong points. Such as the amount of demand is larger than South Africa and astonished; related supporting industries are consummate; labour quality is better than South Africa.


The demand for hotel industry in Japan comes from two main recourses. One is tourism. Another is business travel.


For most people, Japan is a mysterious country because of its flexuose history, supernatural sagas. Japan offers a very wide range of attractions, from historical and cultural treasures to modern and futuristic sights and beautiful forests, mountains and seacoasts. Except these, Japanese cuisine is one of another Japans greatest attractions. A great variety of Japanese cuisine and food from around the world can be enjoyed in Japan. This year, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi set a goal of doubling the number of foreign travelers to 10 million by 010. And a campaign named ¡°Visit Japan¡± will be promotion abroad by Japanese government in order to attract more foreign tourists.


Japan¡¯s Tourism has become the superpower of the Pacific area. According to Japan Tourism Advisory Council¡¯s statistics (Prime Minister of Japan, 00), the number of foreign tourists who visit Japan remained at around 5 million people per year in recent years. Compared with the number we discussed above, it is about the same as Australia and three times that of South Africa. Adding the number of Japanese tourists who travel in Japan, it is a stupendous resource of guests for accommodation industry.


In addition, it could not be denied that Japan is one of the strongest countries in economy in the world. Although there is a continuous decline in Japanese economy, Japanese GDP reached around Y50 trillion ($4. trillion) in 00 and looks like producing the same kind of performance in 00 (Moffett, 00, Pp4) (Australia is $48.5 billion in 001). With that, Japan has a busy business system. Millions of people travel for business every year. Some of them are senior managers and are our potential guests.


Japan owns perfect related supporting industries. Its tourism is booming as we discussed above. Its transportation system has built up an ideal network that extends in all directions and works very efficiently. Most of Japans major cities offer impactful public transportation networks, and are connected with each other by the shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train. Developed airport and airlines, railway, subway and highway can ensure that tourists and business travelers could reach their destinations rapidly. Japan¡¯s water, electricity and gas supply system is even better than Australia. (Please see Appendix Table for the details.)


As for work force resource, Japan owns the highest level of high school graduates and average education level in the world that even are better than the United States (Wilqoren, 001, pA6). And Japanese religious work attitude is well known by the world. So we need not worry about common employee¡¯s qualification.


In addition, more and more Japanese universities began to offer hospitality management programs from 188 And JAM (Japan Management Association), a specialist organization for management education, offers courses throughout Japan. Besides those, there are many corporate educational organizations that are human resources development subsidiaries created by large corporations (Taylor & Berger, 000, Pp84-4). These resources will supply plenteous middle managers.


Negative


Of course, there are also many difficulties, which must be considered carefully before we invest in Japan. We have to face adverse government policies, different types of antagonists, inclement competition, expensive cost and cultural differences.


The largest obstacle comes from Japanese government. In order to protect domestic hotel industry, Japanese industrial policy does not encourage foreign investment in its hotel industry (William, 1, Pp6-). In other words, it is more difficult to get loans, government franchise, contracts, licensing and some thing else in Japan than that in South Africa.


Furthermore, William¡¯s study (1, Pp6-) displays that the Japanese government does not ban individual Japanese hotel firms to develop a very close interrelationship, which might be viewed as an unfair business practice in USA. She explained that,


¡°In Japan, there is considerable intertwining of stockholding among various hotel firms. There is also a broad exchange of operating data among them, and such information is shared all the way down to the operating levels. This practice of information exchange at many levels of the business is not seen as anti-competitive in Japan.¡±


If some Japanese make up a large beneficial organization, we have no chance to compete with them.


In Japan, there are two total different rivals. One is western-style hotel; another is ryokan (Japanese inn-style accommodation).


According to William¡¯s survey (1, Pp6-), in the last 40 years, western-style hotels have grown dramatically. ¡°And the recent major growth appear to be from development by a variety of large and well-financed firms.¡±


Based on the list in Asia-hotel net site (Paragon Travel Ltd, 00), there are at least 6 five star hotels in Japan. Considered Japan¡¯s scanty area (Japan 77,87 sq km; South Africa 1,1,1 sq km; Australia 7,617,0 sq km), it is a high density and implies an inclement competition. And most of these hotels belong to large MNCs, such as Park Hyatt, Le Meridien, Holiday Inn etc. The stable customers resource and abundant financial power are their obvious competitive advantages.


Another formidable rival is ryokan. Most of them are small and family-operated. There are filled with tatami, futons and other types of sleeping pads. Although their service quality and grade can not compare with ours, but their feature of Japanese culture and personal hospitality attract many foreign and Japanese customers. In fact, ¡°Japanese inns far outnumber Western-style hotels and serve far more customers each night than do modern hotels¡±(William, 1, Pp6-).


Some of our local Japanese rivals have another predominance that we could not own. It is that they belong to Japan¡¯s private railway and subway firms. These firms own the area around rail and subway stations, ¡°which provide a ready ¨Cmade situation for a successful hotel.¡± And ¡°some firms have built successful chains through station locations, especially in Tokyo.¡± (William 1, Pp6-)


Owning (buy or rent) a land is the beginning of setting up our branch. Unfortunately, Japan¡¯s land price is astonished because of Japanese shortage of land. It will cost the majority of our investment. The result of William¡¯s survey shows that Japanese land price increases to the point ¡°where 70 percent of the cost of a hotel- building project.¡± On the one hand, golden area is too expensive to afford for us. On the other hand, cheaper area will lead to a decrease in customer resource. We are in a dilemma. But may be the situation is not as terrible as what William described or is becoming better. Ibison (00, Pp10) recorded that ¡°Japanese land prices dropped 5. percent in 001, compared with 4. percent in 000, 6 percent lower than levels seen in the late 180s.¡± If this tendency could be kept, it is good news for us.


If we give up the idea of running a new business from zero, the transaction of hotel is a crosscut. Because with the recent prolonged economic downturn, some Japanese companies are forced to give up their hotel assets in order to avoid bankruptcy. But there are still two main barriers. ¡°First, proper value analysis of hotel business is often difficult due to the lack of transparency and information provided by the owners. Second, there is still a huge gap between the prices at which the sellers and the buyers want to trade.¡± (Emiko, 000, Pp18)


In the end, it is well know that there is not any non-Western design in Japanese culture. Naturally, the generation of a different managerial world view is not astonished. For example, ¡°Japanese managers were more concerned with team effort, respect for authority, self-development, group appraisal, nepotism and long-term employment than were western managers.¡± (Alarid & Wang 17, Pp600) We should set up our Japanese managers group in Japanese way and our senior managers should work in Japanese way too. It will be a difficult process.


Japanese is a very difficult language for most of our senior managers. They will have to rely on an interpreter to translate the message, which can affect the quality and effectiveness of communication. Therefore, the language barrier is the first and most difficult problem for our managers to communicate with local staff and guests.


Conclusion


The main advantages and disadvantages of South Africa and Japan¡¯s investment environment can be concluded as the following table simply.


South Africa Japan


Demand Conditions Large market Larger market


Rival & Competition Less rivals Limited competition More rivalsSerious competition


Government¡¯s Privilege Policies Hortative, loose, favorable Repellent, strict, unfair


Related Industries Developing tourismUndeveloped infrastructures Thriftily tourismConsummate infrastructures


Labour & Manager Shortage of skilled workersAbsent middle managers High quality laboursAbundant middle managers


Culture & Language Similar cultureSame official language Absolute different culture and language


Others CorruptionBehindhand hospitality management Expensive land price


The government policies should be the first essential when we decide the destination of our international investment, because they are the key of the opportunity of our investment. It is clear that South Africa FDI policies could bring more benefits to us. And considered that we are in short of the experience of running overseas branches and abundant fund. South Africa is the more advisable choice for our company too.


Although we have to spent more time and fund on training projects and management, we still could save more money compared with the expensive cost in Japan. And the venture of our investment in South Africa is less than that in Japan, because the rivals in South Africa are not too strong and too much. With South Africa¡¯s political situation is becoming more stable, the country will spent more on infrastructure, therefore, the tourism and accommodation industry will develop more rapidly.


Of course as a mature market, Japan has more capacious customer resource, perfect infrastructure and more satisfied labour qualification. It is a pity for us to give up it. If we could find out a local cooperation partner and use the ways of portfolio investment and management contracts in Japan, the risk and fund requirement will be decreased to the lowest level. After we are familiar with Japanese market, accumulate enough experience and fund, set up our local management groups, we can expand and build up our hotels chain in Japan. For Japan, we need wariness and patience.


Bibliography


Ahmed, Z. U., Heller, V. & Hughes, K. A. (1), ¡°South Africa¡¯s Hotel Industry


Opportunities and Challenges for International Companies¡±, Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Feb, Vol. 40, No. 1, p. 74(1).


Alarid, L. F. & Wang H. M., (17), ¡°Japanese Management and Policing in the


Context of Japanese Culture¡±, Policing, Vol. 0, No. 4, p. 600.


Armstrony, S. (15), ¡°Skilled Shortage Blights South Africa¡¯s Future¡±, New Scientist, Jul 8, Vol. 147, p. .


Bernard, S. (1), ¡°Employers Slow to Grasp the Reality¡±, Financial Times, Sep 0,


p. 05


Government of South Africa & Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism,


The Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa,


(http//www.gov.za/whitepaper/17/tourism.htm#5.4) 05/16


[Accessed 0/08/0]


Ibison, D. (00), ¡°Japanese Land Prices Fall Again NEWS DIGEST¡±, Financial Times, Mar 6, p. 10.


Emiko, T. (000), ¡°When Its Hard to Find Accommodation Japanese Hotels Are


Extremely Difficult to Buy¡±, Financial Times, Jul 1, p. 18.


Moffett, S. (00), ¡°Japan Steady Decline¡±, Far Eastern Economic Review, Feb


1, Vol. 166, No. 6, p. 4.


No obvious author, (00), ¡°Just How Bad Is It, Really? Corruption in South Africa¡±,


The Economist (US), August , Vol. 68, No. 85, p45.


Paragon Travel Ltd, Hotels in Japan,


(http//www.asia-hotels.com/hl/Japan.asp) 6/08/0


[Accessed 0/08/0]


Prime Minister of Japan, Japan Tourism Advisory Council,


(http//www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/policy/kankou/konkyo_e.html) 14/01/0


[Accessed 0/08/0]


South African Golfing & Safari Tours, 5 Star Hotels & Resorts,


(http//www.golfing-safaris.com/overnight/5star.htm) 00,


[Accessed 0/08/0]


Taylor, M. S. & Berger, F. (000), ¡°Hotel Manager¡¯s Executive Education in Japan


Challenges and Opportunities¡±, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Aug, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 84-4.


The USA CIA, 14 Years of World Facts, 00,


(http//www.theodora.com/wfb/index.html) (0/01/0)


[Accessed 0/08/0]


William, H. K. (1), ¡°Japan¡¯s Hotel Industry An Overview¡±, Cornell Hotel and


Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Apr, Vol. , No. , pp. 6-.


Wilqoren, J. (001), ¡°Education Study Finds U.S. Falling Short¡±, New York Times, Jan


1, p. A6


Appendix Table


South Africa Japan Australia


Area (sq km) 1,1,1 77,85 7,617,0


Railroads (km) 0,68 ,654 40,478


Highways (km) 188,0 1,15,07 87,87


Main Ports 7 1 1


Airports 85 17 480


Inland waterways (km) NA 1,770 8,68


Natural Gas Pipelines (km) 1,800 5,600


Crude Oil Pipelines (km) 1 84 ,500


70 of them are with unpaved runways or paved runways under 14m.


(The USA CIA, 00)


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2/17/2012

A Comparison of Two Short Stories by Kate Chopin, ‘The Blind Man’ and ‘The Story of an Hour’.

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Kate Chopin, born in 1850 is the author of ‘The Story of an Hour’ and ‘The Blind Man’. She had a Catholic and affluent upbringing, and at the age of 0 she married Oscar Chopin. They produced 6 children and she devoted herself to motherhood. This marriage ended when Oscar Chopin died from swamp fever in 188. Kate Chopin’s doctor encouraged her to become a career writer, and she published many works, where the theme was often controversial. Kate Chopin was interested in female emancipation, racial quality and the repressive aspects of marriage, which is shown in ‘The Story of an Hour’.


‘The Story of an Hour’ describes a woman’s mixed reactions to the news of her husband’s sudden death. Her feelings are very complicated, and Kate Chopin explores her thoughts and actions using symbolism, personification and metaphors. The story follows a leisurely pace, until the end, when the events become unexpected and condensed. The story is based around Mrs Mallard’s repression, and how being repressed by her husband and the society affects her life.


The title, ‘The Story of an Hour’ immediately raises expectations. It indicates that the story will show dramatic changes in a person’s life within an hour. The first sentence in ‘The Story of an Hour’ shows Mrs Mallard’s vulnerability


“Knowing that Mrs Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble.”


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This sentence describes Mrs Mallard with a heart problem, which gives the idea that she may be old, as heart trouble is normally associated with old people. This image that the reader has formed is later broken, as in the eighth paragraph we find out that “she was young”. Kate Chopin describes Mrs Mallard physically, which is used to reinforce our interest, as we had the image in our heads that Mrs Mallard was an old lady, but then we find out that she is not. Kate Chopin does this because it gives the reader a chance to form a picture of Mrs Mallard, and take control in what she looks like.


Mrs Mallard is told the news of her husband’s death in “broken sentences” and “veiled hints”. These phrases remind us that Mrs Mallard has heart trouble and once again show us her vulnerability. She is told about the death in this way because she can’t take in too much at once, as she might die.


The Second paragraph is straight into the action, as the reader is told how Brently Mallard died


“railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of ‘killed’. He had only taken time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram.”


Technology is to blame for the death of Brently Mallard, and as in ‘The Blind Man’ Kate Chopin shows her feelings of dislike towards the growth of technology in the nineteenth Century. These two lines also convince the reader that Brently Mallard is dead as it shows how Richards found out about the accident, and then checked to make sure it was true. The reader will have no reason to doubt this piece of information, which is why the ending is so surprising.


Kate Chopin uses a strong metaphor to describe Mrs Mallard’s changing feelings


“When the storm of grief had spent itself”


This metaphor is describing Mrs Mallard’s reaction when she receives the information about her dead husband. “The storm” has been used to describe the grief that overcomes Mrs Mallard because it does not last very long, which is just like her feelings. This metaphor is very strong and emphasises to the reader how much Mrs Mallard loved her husband. Although later in the story her feelings are very different Kate Chopin wants the reader to realise that Mrs Mallard did care for her husband very much and was not joyful because he had died but because she was now free to live her life the way she wanted.


The line “she did not hear the story as many women have heard the same” gives the reader a clue that Mrs Mallard did not feel the same way as many women do about their husbands. This idea is than reinforced in paragraph four and five because she is noticing all the positive images, not the negative. Everything outside should be in sympathy to what Mrs Mallard is feeling, but instead she notices new life and happiness. The “open window” could symbolise freedom, which the reader knows Mrs Mallard feels later in the story.


During the fifth paragraph, Kate Chopin uses symbolism to show the changes in Mrs Mallard’s life. Outside, Mrs Mallard is noticing what is effectively happening to her life, as she notices “the new spring life” and “the delicious breath of rain”. This connects with Mrs Mallard’s life because it has just taken a new direction, and she is starting a new life without her husband. A strong example of symbolism that Kate Chopin uses is “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds”. This describes the feelings that Mrs Mallard is having over her husband’s death. Initially she is sad, and grieving, but she can see that there is a chance of happiness and freedom.


As in the first paragraph Mrs Mallard is shown as being vulnerable, and this feeling of vulnerability is suggested in this phrase


“as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.”


This line shows how frail Mrs Mallard seems, and it initiates the question of how old she is, as the reader has not yet found out that “she was young”. It also refers to the subject of Mrs Mallard being vulnerable, and showing that she is scared which has been afflicted by her husband’s attitude towards her. Mrs Mallard’s feelings are very complicated, and the reader cannot be sure whether Mrs Mallard is glad her husband is dead, or whether she is unhappy, as this line shows. Mrs Mallard’s happiness, or unhappiness is confusing for the reader, as they are not really sure what she is feeling, but as the story unravels the reader will realise that Mrs Mallard was happy at the new-found freedom, but she did love her husband sometimes.


In the eighth paragraph the line “bespoke repression” suggests that, although Mrs Mallard is young, she has suffered and been dominated. These lines become the key to the whole story as the plot unfolds. They make the reader stop and think, how has she been dominated? Why has Kate Chopin included this description of Mrs Mallard? As we progress further in the story the reasons become clear, and Kate Chopin very clearly describes how Mrs Mallards husband had repressed her, which led to the early lines on her face.


Mrs Mallard’s eyes reflect the way her thoughts and feelings are coming together


“But there was now a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky.”


Her eyes are dull and lifeless and reflect the way that she was repressed. They show the way that she was unhappy during her marriage. The way her eyes are fixed on the patch of blue sky show how she knows that something good is going to come out of the death of her husband, and how it is going to make her happy.


This sense of freedom comes slowly to Mrs Mallard, as she does not yet realise what it is


“There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully.”


Mrs Mallard knows that because of her husband’s death something is going to happen to her and she realises that it will change her life dramatically. Mrs Mallard is scared, and maybe this is because she is all alone, and she does not know how she will handle life without her husband. Mrs Mallard is afraid of no longer being repressed, as her husband repressed her for many years. During the ninth paragraph Kate Chopin has used personification and referred to the senses to describe how Mrs Mallard feels the freedom coming. Using these techniques makes the ‘freedom’ sound alive, like it is a living thing, and emphasises how important it is. Another technique Kate Chopin uses is a rhetorical question, which along with the personification builds up the suspense of what is going to happen to Mrs Mallard, and reveals how Mrs Mallard is trying to make sense of the situation.


“She was beginning to recognise this thing that was approaching to posses her”


This powerful personification makes the reader realise how powerless Mrs Mallard is compared to the ‘thing’. Kate Chopin also includes a simile to describe the way in which Mrs Mallard tries to “beat back” this feeling of freedom, “as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been”. This makes the reader realise that there is no way that Mrs Mallard can prevent the ‘thing’ possessing, and overtaking her.


When Mrs Mallard lets her feelings go she realises what it is that is going to possess her, and this comes as a shock to the reader, although we already had an idea that it was coming. Kate Chopin has used direct speech for the first time


“She said it over and over under her breath ‘free, free, free!’ ”


This reveals to the reader that Mrs Mallard is not quite sure whether or not she is free, and will no longer be repressed as she repeats the words over and over. It implies that Mrs Mallard is not quite secure with her feelings, and still feels a bit scared. The fact that Mrs Mallard whispers the words might be because she feels ashamed or guilty because her husband was a good man and she should not be feeling like this. Kate Chopin has used direct speech because it makes the reader feel more involved with the story, because Mrs Mallard is confiding in them, and not her sister, Josephine or Richards.


When Mrs Mallard knows that she will be free a sudden change in her physical appearance occurs


“The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright.”


Kate Chopin has referred to Mrs Mallard’s eyes to connect with her feelings, as she did in paragraph eight. These sentences show that Mrs Mallard is now happy with the fact that she is free. It’s as if new life has been given to her. Her eyes are a symbol of her changing emotions. Her excitement is also shown through her pulse beating fast and the “coursing blood” that warmed her body. The mention of blood will also give the reader an image of rebirth. This phrase is also used to remind the reader of Mrs Mallard’s heart condition, and to reinforce the fact that she may die. This builds up tension, because we get the idea that something may happen as her heart problem is mentioned regularly. This comes true, because the cause of her death has to do with her heart.


Kate Chopin uses an oxymoron, “monstrous joy” to describe Mrs Mallard’s thoughts. She uses this to express the idea that it is bad for Mrs Mallard to be happy, instead she should be grieving and be sad. The oxymoron also represents the ambivalence of Mrs Mallard’s feelings, whether she should be happy or sad that her husband is dead.


In paragraph thirteen it shows the reader that Brently Mallard was a good man, and in no physical way did he abuse Mrs Mallard, “the kind tender hands”. The reader will not quite understand why Mrs Mallard felt repressed in her marriage, as today marriage no longer represses women. We are unused to the feeling of being dominated and want to know why she felt happy and free when her husband was killed. We also get an idea of Mrs Mallards personality from the fact that “she saw beyond that bitter moment”. This indicates that she is optimistic and looks towards the future, not dwelling on the past.


Kate Chopin reveals the reasons for Mrs Mallard’s repression in paragraph fourteen, which brings the whole story together. Mrs Mallard felt like her husband was dominating her life. Brently Mallard was living her life for her; “she would live for herself.” He was not letting her have any freedom, and everyone needs freedom in their life. This is why she is so glad that he is dead. She can start a new life without him, controlling it herself. Mrs Mallard has gone from being vulnerable to self-asserted and independent.


Paragraph sixteen is one of the shortest in the story, which is aimed to build up tension and make the ending even more suprsising


“ ‘Free! Body and Soul, free!’ she kept whispering.”


Direct speech has been used again, to show that Mrs Mallard has finally realised that she is free from her husband and that she will no longer be repressed. Mrs Mallard keeps whispering the words over and over because she is letting her old life go, and this will be the last time that she ever thinks of it. She realises that she is a free woman.


Kate Chopin shows Mrs Mallard’s independence through Josephine’s speech. For the first time in the story Mrs Mallard is referred to as Louise, and this shows that she is her own person. She is no longer being referred to as ‘Mrs Mallard’ because her husband is dead, and there is no need to be reminded of him, as she is free from him forever.


When Mrs Mallard realises that she is free her mind starts running ahead of her


“She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.”


The same phrase has been used twice, but in a totally different context. The first time it is written Mrs Mallard is free and happy, but the second time it is written it refers to the time when she had a husband and was being repressed. This is effective because it makes the reader realise just how happy Mrs Mallard is, and how her life can be more forward now that her husband is finally gone.


In paragraph twenty the simile, “she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory”, emphasises her joy and her posture shows how much her husband’s death has improved her outlook on life. This new ‘Mrs Mallard’ is a big contrast to the weak and feeble woman at the beginning. Kate Chopin uses reasonably simple language to describe Mrs Mallards actions, which is very effective because it echoes her simple thought of being “free”.


The last three paragraphs are condensed and short, which builds up the tension before the surprise of Brently Mallard coming home arrives. The first sentence in the twenty-first paragraph is an element of suprise, as thoughts will be running through the reader’s head, “Who can it be?” This question is answered in the next line, as Kate Chopin has described a “travel-stained” Brently Mallard entering the house. It comes as a complete shock, as at the beginning of the story we were told that Brently Mallard was dead, and it had even been checked to make sure that it was true.


“He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one.”


Brently Mallard is amazed, he had no idea that there had been an accident let alone that his wife had thought that he was dead. Kate Chopin cleverly describes both Josephines and Richards reactions but not Mrs Mallards. This is left to the readers imagination, which makes us feel superior because we understand how she would have felt.


Chopin uses a very short sentence to create a dramatic impact when Brently Mallard enters, “But Richards was too late”. This puts a thought of doom into the reader’s mind, as they know that something bad is going to happen, which it does. Mrs Mallard dies. The doctors say that she dies of “joy that kills” because she thought her husband was dead, but he ends up being alive. This is wrong. Mrs Mallard dies from despair that her husband is still alive. She is full of hatred because she realises that everything she just gained, all the freedom is lost in a couple of minutes. She can’t imagine going back to her normal life, being repressed after she has thought of what life would be like to be a free woman. The reader will now realise the importance of all the information that was given about Mrs Mallard’s heart problem, as it is the cause of her death. The reader will be just as suprised as Mrs Mallard to find out that Brently Mallard is still alive. This is because the reader has been involved with the story, and has got to know just what Mrs Mallard has gone through, and how her life has been, and what it was going to be like. The reader will feel what she feels, and is just as shocked and angry as Mrs Mallard was.


Throughout the story Kate Chopin used many effective techniques to describe Mrs Mallard’s thoughts and exactly how she was feeling. This was mainly done through symbolism, with paragraph five containing a lot of useful information, so the reader could see exactly into Mrs Mallard’s mind and what she was thinking. The “open window” was used twice in the story, which is symbolising her freedom. The first time it was used was before she realised she was free, but the second was used after she knew that she would be free forever. The short sentences and the semi-colons used in the last few paragraphs build up the tension so the last line comes as a complete surprise. The reader will never have expected any of it, as we thought that Brently Mallard was dead. The reader has got to remember that although Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband and she was happy when she thought he was dead, she did love him very much, although it is not shown very clearly.


‘The Blind Man’ as in ‘The Story of an Hour’ shows how repression has affected a person’s life. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband, whereas the Blind Man has been repressed by the middle and upper class. The story does not reveal to the reader much about the blind man’s emotional feelings and thoughts, although his physical appearance is easy to picture.


The first paragraph of ‘The Blind Man’ is similar to that of ‘The Story of an Hour’ as the main character is seen as being vulnerable. “His old straw hat and faded garments” show that the man is poor, and the way he walks “slowly” down the street gives the impression that he is unhappy. Already the reader will have gathered a lot of information so they can form a picture in their head, although we are not given a name. At the end of the paragraph the reader finds out that the man is “blind, and moreover stupid.” This shows that he is uneducated, which leads the reader to believe that he is lower class, along with the fact that he is poor. The word “stupid” is not the opinion of Kate Chopin, but that the opinion of the upper class. The fact that “in the red box were lead pencils, that he was endeavouring to sell” also show the reader that the man is poor and uneducated, because the middle and upper class have more educated jobs, that do not involve wondering round streets trying to sell something.


Kate Chopin has emphasised throughout the story about the Blind Man being lower class, and also how unfair the class system is. This gives the reader the impression that Kate Chopin did not like the feelings the upper class had towards the lower class. The “iron railings” act as a barrier between the upper and the lower class, separating them from eachother although they all belong in one community. The upper class do not want to be associated with the lower class.


The growth of technology is mentioned in ‘The Blind Man’ just as it is in ‘The Story of an Hour’. The “electric button” represents the wealth of the upper class, as they can afford the latest technology. This technology is important at the end of the story, as once again it is the cause of the death. Kate Chopin shows her dislike towards technology, as she describes the cars as “monstrous”. The sentences describing the death as in ‘The Story of an Hour’, show irony that man cannot control his own inventions


During the third paragraph when the Blind Man tries to sell his pencils he is turned down


“but the man or maid who answered the bell needed no pencil, nor could they be induced to disturb the mistress of the house”


This is another example of dislike towards the lower class, from the upper class. They see the blind man as unimportant, and act as if they receive unwanted visitors every day. They show no sympathy at all for the lower class, and do not even care that the man is poor, let alone blind. Getting turned down by the maid or man does not bother the blind man; he just keeps on going, from door to door. This shows the reader that the blind man is lonely. For the blind man it is his livelihood, but to the upper class it is “so small a thing.” His actions also show that he has nothing better do because he walks “aimlessly” and “drifts” down streets.


Kate Chopin uses personification to describe the blind man’s hunger


“Hunger, with sharp fangs, was gnawing”


Hunger has been described like it is hurting the blind man. It emphasises the fact that he is poor, and can not afford much food. The blind man is also thirsty, which is another example of how poor he is, as drinks are not very expensive and he can not even afford that. Kate Chopin uses a hyperbole, “the sun was broiling” to describe just how hot it is. She uses this exaggeration to trigger sympathy for the blind man, as he must be boiling.


The message of the story is reinforced in the last line of paragraph four. “A kind hearted woman felt sorry for him, and wished that he would cross over into the shade”. Without actually stopping to tell the reader what she is trying to put across, like she does in ‘The Story of an Hour, Chopin suggests how she feels about the subject of poorer people. That is people can feel pity for other people, like the “kind hearted woman” but dont actually do anything to help them. This is irony. We ask ourselves, is she really a kind-hearted woman?


Chopin very cleverly makes the reader feel what this is like, by describing the man in such detail. We can almost see him ourselves, and feel the disgust at how he has to live, and feel pity, sorrow and compassion for the man. Nevertheless we can not do anything to help him.


In the fifth paragraph the blind man’s box is very important, and the phrase “the man drifted” has been used. Kate Chopin does this to remind the reader that the blind man has no purpose in anything he does, because he is lower class. He is very protective over his box, as it is his only means of living


“With the instinct to protect his own and his only means of sustenance, he resisted, shouted at the children and called them names.”


If the blind man lost his red box, then he would lose his life. The fact that he shouts at the children, and does not use violence against them is because he is blind. He has no idea where they are compared to him, he can only guess from where their voices are coming from. His only meaning of defence is his voice, as he can not physically harm anyone, because he can not see. The policeman who “jerked him violently”, “him” referring to the blind man represents the unfairness of the lower class. If he were not blind then he would have been hit, and although this is bad it just goes to show how differently he is treated just because he is blind, and lower class.


If you inspect the paragraph closer there is a lot of irony. If the man had been rich the policeman would have told the children to go away. This is the theme that Chopin explores all the way through the story, but tries to put it across to the readers in different ways, like she does in ‘The Story of an Hour’.


The end of paragraph five is a turning point in the story because, from now onwards the pace is rapid and things happen swiftly, whereas the first four paragraphs are unhurried and leisurely. There is a lot of description packed into the earlier paragraphs, with metaphors, similes and short sentences used to create impact. This is a lot like the pace of ‘The Story of an Hour’.


The next paragraph emphasises the vulnerability of the blind man, just like Mrs Mallards freedom was emphasised in ‘The Story of an Hour’. The paragraph is full of descriptive words to help us picture in our minds what happens in the rest of the story. The “monster electric cars”, “clanging bells” and “terrific impetus” suggest that the cars will have something to do with the fate of the blind man because they are described in such detail. The extremely short sentence, “He started to cross the street” is used by Chopin to instil a sense of doom in our mind. From this sentence we know that something dramatic is going to happen, because of the way that it is to the point and a very assertive statement. This is very alike to the sentence “But Richards was too late” in ‘The Story of an Hour’.


In the seventh paragraph Kate Chopin has suprised the reader, but without revealing what has happened


“something horrible happened that made the woman faint and the strongest men who saw it grow sick and dizzy.”


This shocks the reader, as they will have had no idea this was coming. Something dreadful has happened but what it is has not been revealed yet. This makes the reader feel excited, and therefore want to read on. The scene has been described as a “sickening sight” with “doctors dashing”. Alliteration has been used to make the words stand out, and catch your eye and make it more exciting. The punctuation, in particular semi colons and short sentences have been used to quicken the pace. The reader will feel the nervousness of the people mentioned in the story, and will feel involved in what is happening. They will be caught up in the moment.


This story, like ‘The Story of an Hour’ is a very surprising twist in the tale. The reader will think that it was the blind man who died, but instead it was “one of the most wealthiest, most useful and most influential men of the town”. The use of superlatives exaggerates the position of the man. Kate Chopin used this effective twist in the tale to shock and surprise the reader. This line also shows how the society approves and will like anyone who has money, and will look up to them just because they are rich.


The last line shows the reader that the blind man had no idea what just happened, as he carries on “stumbling on in the sun”. This idea of the blind man having no purpose in his life, just going anywhere has been mentioned throughout the story. He “walked slowly” at the beginning of the story, “walked on in the sun” after the incident with the policeman and his “aimless rambling” shows how he can do anything; he has nowhere to go, nowhere to be. This technique of Kate Chopin’s has been to try and gather up sympathy for the blind man, who lives an unhappy, disturbed life, which has been brought on by the attitude of the society, and his repression. It also links the end of the story to the beginning, which is a cyclical structure. He will just carry on as normal, with no change.


At the end of the story the reader will realise just how different the classes were perceived, then they are now. The class system was shown throughout the story, with the blind man representing the lower class, the maid representing the middle class and the businessman representing the upper class.


The main similarity between the two stories, ‘The Story of an Hour’ and ‘The Blind Man’ is repression. Kate Chopin wrote both of her stories based on repression. She writes as the omniscient author in the stories in order to give us an overall view of the plot and events in the story. Both of the main characters were repressed in the nineteenth century. Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband and the blind man was repressed by society, which neither occurs in modern life. I think that this repression plays a big impact on how the characters feel about life, and what their actions are. If they had not been repressed they may have lived a very different life. Mrs Mallard would not have died, and the blind man may have had a more full filling, well-worth living life.


The difference between this repression is that Mrs Mallard slowly realised she was being repressed, and now that her husband was dead she would be free. She knew that she would live a happy life where she would be the one in control, instead of her husband. The reader doesn’t really find that much out about the blind man. They know that he was repressed by society, but not really how he felt about it.


The theme of repression and the idea of vulnerability are quite confusing in both stories. The reader can not be sure if Kate Chopin wants us to feel sympathetic towards the character as the reaction Kate Chopin wants the reader to have is not always straightforward. Kate Chopin wants the reader’s feelings towards the main characters to be ambiguous. At the end of both stories the reader will feel sympathy but other emotions will also be felt.


The reader is not given an insight to the blind man’s feelings, whereas in ‘The Story of an Hour’ we are. Kate Chopin does not reveal much about the blind man, as the reader does not even find out his name. Kate Chopin does not write about any of the blind man’s feelings or emotions, which makes it harder for the reader to interact with the story. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ Mrs Mallards feelings and thoughts are shown clearly throughout the story, and the reader feels like they know exactly how she feels, and therefore the ending is more dramatic as they will feel the blow of finding about her husband still being alive.


In both stories the reader feels like the main character is older than they actually are. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ when the reader is told about Mrs Mallards heart trouble we sense vulnerability, and link it with being old. The blind man is also described as if he is old, although we know that both of these characters are actually “young”. Kate Chopin does this to catch our interest, as we will be surprised when we find out that they are young, and with Mrs Mallard we are not told that she is young until the eighth paragraph.


A big difference between the two main characters is wealth. While Mrs Mallard is rich, and probably middle class, the blind man is poor and lower class. Mrs Mallard would probably live in the place where the blind man is selling his lead pencils. This may make the reader think about how Mrs Mallard would react to a lower class man knocking on her door selling pencils. Would she be sympathetic towards him or would she just act as if he is not a proper person?


Both stories have ‘two deaths’. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ we think Brently Mallard dies, but at the end of the story we find out he is still alive, but Mrs Mallard then dies. In ‘The Blind Man’ we think that the blind man gets run over, but then we find out that it is actually the “rich man” that dies. The reader is mislead in both stories, as they first they think Brently Mallard is dead, then find out he’s not, and in ‘The Blind Man’ think the blind man dies, but in fact he doesn’t either.


During the first four paragraphs in both stories Kate Chopin uses short sentences to emphasise a particular part of the story that would otherwise go unnoticed. In ‘The Story of an Hour’, she wrote “But Richards was too late”. “The sun was broiling” is an example of this technique in ‘The Blind Man’. This short sentence stresses how hot and uncomfortable the weather was, which is important to make us feel that we know all about the blind man, so that we feel immense pity for him.


By the end of paragraph four we are convinced we know everything about the main characters. However in both stories we do not, and it is as if we are pulled into a false sense of security about the main characters and what will happen to them. Chopin makes us feel that we know the main character in ‘The Blind Man’ by using personification, as she did to Mrs Mallards feeling of freedom. However in this story she personifies the blind mans hunger to try and make us understand how he felt, “Hunger, with sharp fangs”. Another way in which she tries to help us understand his desperation and suffering is by using powerful words to describe him, “a consuming thirst parched his mouth and tortured him”. This expression is extremely powerful, like the expression, “whose lines bespoke repression” in ‘The Story of an Hour’.


The end of paragraph five is like a turning point in both the stories because, from now onwards the pace is rapid and things happen swiftly, whereas the first four paragraphs are unhurried and leisurely. There is a lot of description packed into the earlier paragraphs, with metaphors, similes and short sentences used to create impact.


When Chopin describes the body as “mangled figure”, she does not leave anything about the accident to our imaginations, unlike in ‘The Story of an Hour’ when she leaves Mrs Mallards death for the readers to assume. We are then shocked at the end of the sentence when she says, “the people recognised one of the most influential men in the town”. This comes as a great shock to us, because we thought it was the blind man. It makes us feel that if it had been the blind man there wouldnt have been such uproar. “How could such a terrible fate have overtaken him?” This sentence makes the point very accurately that wealthy people are ‘blind’ to the poor. They only care for people like themselves and only try to help others in a similar class to them. They were quite willing to help the rich man when he was killed, but when the blind man tried to sell them pencils they refused to help him.


Both of the stories by Kate Chopin are based on a very modern theme, that although was relevant 50 years ago, is still appropriate today. ‘The Story of an Hour’ explains the message very clearly and makes it easy for the reader to understand. However ‘The blind man’ needs to be examined more closely in order for the reader to grasp what Chopin is saying about society.


I prefer ‘The Story of an Hour’ because we get to know Mrs Mallard as the story progresses and feel that we know her better than anyone else. In my opinion this is very important because we become emotionally involved with her part in the story and feel that we are taking part in the incidents in the story, along with her. When the twist occurs, we are as shocked as Mrs Mallard and feel that only we understand why she really died. This feeling of superiority makes me feel satisfied with the end of the story. I also think that the message is a lot clearer and easier to understand in ‘The Story of an Hour’ which made me feel contented because I easily understood what Kate Chopin was trying to tell me.





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2/12/2012

The Death of the Literate World in “The Pedestrian”

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The Death of the Literate World in “The Pedestrian”


Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Pedestrian,” shows the not-too-distant future in a very unfavorable light. The thinking world has been eaten away by the convenience that is high technology. This decay is represented by the fate that befalls Leonard Mead. Though only an isolated incident, it foreshadows the end of thinking, literate society.


The world in the year 05 is populated by people who are more dead than alive. Their technology has made them very lazy. Walking has become obsolete, as the title of the story indicates. Leonard Mead is not a pedestrian; he is, in a city of three million people (105), the pedestrian. Walking had become so uncommon, that the sidewalk was “vanishing under flowers and grass” (104-105). Bradbury further illustrates the lack of foot traffic by stating that Mead had walked for ten years without meeting another person on the street (105). If the process of evolution holds true, the inhabitants of Bradbury’s future world will soon be without legs. Bradbury describes vividly the way these people hold their automobiles in a god-like reverence, describing their cars as “scarab-beetles” (105). The scarab-beetle was revered in ancient Egypt as a sacred symbol of the soul.


Complementing the people’s lazy bodies are their lazy minds. State of the art viewing screens have reduced the population to couch potatoes. The ease in which they live their lives has turned them from vibrant, thinking people into dull, lifeless zombies. Bradbury describes them in front of their televisions as “[sitting] like the dead, the gray or multi-colored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them” (105). Bradbury’s description of the “faintest glimmers of firefly light [appearing] in flickers behind their windows” (104) is a negative allusion to their brain activity. With everyone staring blank-faced at his television set all night, conversation has become a lost art. Leonard Mead hears nothing but “whisperings and murmurs” (104) coming from the open windows he passes. The human voice has become so scarce, Mead hesitates each time he hears one (104). Clearly Mead yearns to have any sort of conversation with a real person. Reading has also become a casualty within the technologically advanced world of the twenty-first century. Mead was a writer, but “he hadn’t written in years” (105). Dependence on television had created a world in which “magazines and books didn’t sell anymore” (105). Movie versions of books were as close as these people came to reading.


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The atmosphere is gloomy, with several references to a dying civilization. First, the story is set in November. It is the beginning of the end. Secondly, Bradbury describes walking through Mead’s neighborhood as “not unequal to walking through a graveyard” (104). Another reference to the doomed society is Bradbury’s description of the houses as being “tomblike buildings” (104).


But among this garbage heap of humanity stands Leonard Mead, a kind of Anti-Christ. Mead represents the last of the thinking human beings. Bradbury’s description of Mead as being “alone in this world of 05, A.D., or as good as alone” (104) is a reference to this situation. It is significant that Mead begins his walk “in a westerly direction” (104). Like the sun passing from view, so is the walking, talking, thinking man. Mead is a social dinosaur, doomed to extinction by a world supposedly more advanced. Mead’s encounter with the police car, and its “metallic voice” (105), represents in microcosm the stamping out of literate society. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the description of the police spotlight, which “held [Mead] fixed, like a museum specimen, needle thrust through the chest” (105). The accomplishments of Leonard Mead and his kind will shortly be nothing more than exhibits in televised museums. A more subtle allusion to the fate of Leonard Mead is the street where he lives, South Saint James (105). Saint James was one of the twelve apostles, one who became a martyr for his beliefs.


Bradbury’s story is a bizarre twist to the Peter Principle. Man’s technological advances have eliminated the need for man. Bradbury brings his point home when the police car, carrying Leonard Mead, passes his brightly lit home. The bright lights represent the illumination of knowledge. Though the house is Mead’s, the police car passes it by, bringing an end to the last hope of a victory of humans over machines.





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