‘Racist or not?’: Heart of Darkness a study of Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness

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‘Racist or not?’: Heart of Darkness a study of Joseph Conrad.

Joseph Conrad occupies an important position in English literature. He is credited as being “one of the greatest novelists in the English language” which is no small feat for any writer but a particularly striking one for someone who learned English in his adult years. Conrad was born Jozef Teador Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski in Russian-occupied Ukraine to Polish parents in the year 1857. He led an active life with roughly twenty years of naval adventures. In 1878, he arrived in England and began to learn the native language. He was twenty-one.

Conrad’s literary career was as adventurous as his life. He produced fourteen novels and eight volumes of stories. His impact on literature-in-English was nothing short of revolutionary and his influence is particularly apparent in American fiction. In the immediate post-World War I landscape, critical giants (including FR Leavis and Thomas C. Moore) took an active interest in analysing Conrad’s works. In the 1930s renewed American curiosity about the author led to many well-written biographical records being published.

Conrad’s fiction revolves around his own experiences. Fascinated by Africa as a young boy, he would grow up to work for an imperial company. This would take him on many journeys to “the dark continent” and leave him with a disillusionment of colonisation.

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After prompting celebratory reverence for more than half a century, Conrad’s fiction is now facing sharp criticism. A lot of this revolves around race. The world looks different in the twenty-first (and twentieth) century than it did in the nineteenth. Writers from once-colonised nations have integrated themselves into the academic and artistic world of English literature, and have found Conrad’s depictions of Africans (and others) to be intellectually lazy, filled with Orientalist stereotyping and employing a rhetoric that justifies colonisation.

Forefront amongst these are: African author and critic Chinua Achebe and Palestinian-born intellectual Edward Said. The former has famously called Joseph Conrad “a thoroughgoing racist”.

So, was Joseph Conrad – story-teller extraordinaire and firm part of the English canon – nothing more than a racist, included in the company of great English writers simply because he was lucky enough to be born a white man at an age where you could recycle stereotypical descriptions of Africans to no-end and still be given credit? Or is he simply a victim of literary-theory, that oppressive force that many celebrated critics feel has taken over English classrooms and turned them into battlegrounds of political correctness?

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To decide, many point – as this essay will – to Conrad’s famous novella Heart of Darkness.

Published in 1899, the premise of the short story is simple: On the deck of a ship docked on River Thames, a man named Marlow recounts his previous adventure as the captain of a river-boat that travelled up the River Congo. Marlow was the employee of an imperial company specialising in ivory trade in Africa. His mission was to rescue Kurtz, the evasive station captain stranded somewhere in the depths of Congo.

Conrad was different from his contemporaries in that he offers an apparently scathing critique of imperial domination right from the start of the novella. Unlike many, he does not posit colonial rule as of benefit to the natives and highlights white cruelty at (almost) every turn.

Marlow points out that his predecessor Fresleven once beat the chief of an African tribe with a stick over a dispute involving some hens. When a fire breaks out at the company’s central station a black man is punished; he is beaten bloody at the mere suspicion of playing a part in the destruction and afforded no trial.

A line of slaves joined with chains hanging from their necks is paraded around the station, and Marlow’s companion is eager to “kill somebody” as punishment for the black men (who are forced to carry him everywhere) deserting them. Even Kurtz – who is a part of the company’s newly recruited “gang of virtue” – scribbles “Exterminate all the brutes!” in a moment of carelessness as a jarring postscript on his (ironically titled) pamphlet for the ‘Suppression of Savage Customs’.

If the white people are cruel – the black people are oppressed, and Conrad makes sure to show this repeatedly. The hungry slaves deserted after they had fulfilled their usefulness are “black shadows of disease and starvation.” Black heads on stakes decorate Kurtz’s house, a reminder that even the best view natives as easily disposable.

On the river-boat, Marlow’s white crew members throw a slab of smelly hippo meat overboard, their olfactory sensibilities overriding a major concern: what will the black-crew eat? This is of little consequence to the Europeans and (strikingly) Marlow recounts this instance with a good deal of sarcasm, commenting that the useless brass wire paid in place of the meat “was paid with a regularity worth of a large and honourable trading company.”

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This is to Conrad’s credit. He does not seem to fully subscribe to the mission civilisatrice (‘civilising mission’) that maintained that the white man had a duty to go forth and westernise all non-Europeans for their own benefit. This was a powerful rhetorical position in the nineteenth century, and this novella offers contemptuous commentary in this regard: Marlow encounters a man paid by the company for the upkeep of roads and points out that neither roads nor upkeep was to be seen unless the body of a black man lying in the middle of the path with a bullet hole through his head “could be considered a permanent improvement.”

When he first arrives in Congo, Marlow encounters the senseless digging of a hole which seems to have no purpose other than a “philanthropic desire” to give the natives work. When Marlow’s aunt elaborates on the goodness of colonisers spreading culture and Christianity to savages, he replies: “The Company is run for profit.”

These – and other – instances show that Conrad was ahead of his time, at least to a certain extent.

Shouldn’t this be enough to exonerate him?

Achebe doesn’t think so.

In 1975, he delivered a lecture titled ‘An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’. In it, he outlines why he indicts Joseph Conrad.

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For one thing, Conrad sees Africa as little more than a foil to Europe. If Europe is cultured, civilized and advanced, then Africa is (all words used to describe Congo in Heart of Darkness:)savage, barbaric and primitive. A place “where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality,” Achebe writes. This is problematic because it sees Africa only in terms of not-being-Europe, and not as a real place with its own spatiotemporal context.

This means that the author is so blinded by his prejudices that he deliberately misses out on achievements by Africans. As Achebe points out, the tribe of Fang people lived near were the novella is set. European travellers inspired by their bronze-art would introduce cubism to 20th century Britain around the time of Conrad’s writing. But you wouldn’t guess from that from reading this novella. Conrad spares no adjective in describing how hopelessly childlike, incapable of progress and primitive Africans are.

That they could create something worthwhile is unimaginable. Essentially what Achebe points out is that Conrad’s works are ‘Orientalist’ – a tricky word that basically means that European domination in Africa, Indochina and the Near East was accompanied by representations that insisted that black and brown people were incapable of progress and so justified colonial rule as being in their own best interests.

Secondly, African characters in the novel are rarely allowed to speak lucidly. Their language is brushed aside as “grunting phrase[s]”, a “clamour” and “an incomprehensible frenzy”. The narrator has a disturbing habit of comparing them to animals. There is a black river-boat boilerman who struggles to understand the work his white masters require of him, and Marlow comments that watching him was “as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hind legs” while a black helmsman is compared to a horse. These depictions further dehumanise Africans in the eyes of readers.

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Edward Said was a post-colonial literary critic who coined the term ‘Orientalism’. In his 1993 book Culture and Imperialism, he talks about Conrad. He is much more charitable than his African colleague and credits the author with the creation of a convincing narrative and a powerful voice that pays attention to the “waste and horror” of Europe’s mission in the dark world.

However, Said admits that Conrad recycles the narrative of European domination, and does not show Africans as real people. He writes: “…neither Conrad nor Marlow gives us a full view of what is outside the world-conquering attitudes embodied by Kurtz, Marlow, the circle of listeners of the deck of The Nellie and Conrad.” The full humanity of Africans is compromised in favour of stereotypes.

So, was Joseph Conrad racist? The jury is still out. But as academia expands to include perspectives from those living in the Global South it seems likely that Achebe will have the last work. In a 2003 article in The Guardian, Chinua Achebe is in conversation with a white author Caryl Philips who admires both him and Conrad. There, Achebe offers some insightful remarks with regards to Heart of Darkness:

“You see, those who say that Conrad is on my side because he is against colonial rule do not understand that I know who is on my side. And where is the proof that he is on my side? A few statements about it not being a very nice thing to exploit people who have flat noses? This is his defence against imperial control? If so it is not enough. It is simply not enough. If you are going to be on my side what is required is a better argument. Ultimately you have to admit that Africans are people. You cannot diminish a people’s humanity and defend them.”

This article ends with this insightful exchange, in which Philips examines his own skepticism with regards to Joseph Conrad’s racism (the dialogue in quotation marks is Achebe’s):

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“Yes, you will notice that the European traders have ‘tainted’ souls, Marlow has a ‘pure’ soul, but I am to accept that mine is ‘rudimentary’?” He shakes his head. “Towards the end of the 19th century, there was a very short-lived period of ambivalence about the certainty of this colonising mission, and Heart of Darkness falls into this period. But you cannot compromise my humanity in order that you explore your own ambiguity. I cannot accept that. My humanity is not to be debated, nor is it to be used simply to illustrate European problems.”

The realisation hits me with force. I am not an African. Were I an African I suspect I would feel the same way as my host. But I was raised in Europe, and although I have learned to reject the stereotypically reductive images of Africa and Africans, I am undeniably interested in the break-up of a European mind and the health of European civilisation. I feel momentarily ashamed that I might have become caught up with this theme and subsequently overlooked how offensive this novel might be to a man such as Chinua Achebe and to millions of other Africans.

Achebe is right; to the African reader the price of Conrad’s eloquent denunciation of colonisation is the recycling of racist notions of the “dark” continent and her people. Those of us who are not from Africa may be prepared to pay this price, but this price is far too high for Achebe. However lofty Conrad’s mission, he has, in keeping with times past and present, compromised African humanity in order to examine the European psyche. Achebe’s response is understandably personal.

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An Enemy of the people: Book Report

An Enemy of the people
An Enemy of the people

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An Enemy of the people: Book Report

Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s play is highly interesting, even the preface itself is fascinating. Arthur Miller dedicates the whole preface to describing what he tried to do with Henrik Ibsen’s celebrated play, An Enemy of the People. The motivations for Arthur Miller for choosing this play was essentially to illustrate that Henrik Ibsen is not out-of-date.

One of the main intentions of Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s play is certainly to convey the original message. In this report, the play An Enemy of the People is discussed in an exhaustive manner. The setting of the play, the plot, the main characters and the main theme are discussed. The author of this play is also described.

An Enemy of the People is certainly one of the most well-known and popular plays amongst producers and audiences and was initially written by Henrik Ibsen in the nineteenth century. Even so, it is also believed to be one of Arthur Miller’s famous staged works. The play was written in the year 1882 by Ibsen and a small coastal town in Norway serves as the setting.

The plot of this play was rooted in the real-life censure that Henrik Ibsen went through due to his 1881 controversial play, Ghosts. Henrik Ibsen’s plays were renowned for their pragmatist style (Miller, 2010). In the year 1950, Arthur Miller requested for the right to write an adaptation of An Enemy of the People. In translating the text from Norwegian into English, Miller retained most of the original text.

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The play An Enemy of the People by Arthur Miller, which was adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s drama, is focused on a conflict between 2 brothers, Peter Stockmann and Dr. Stockmann. It also focuses on a conflict between the freedom and the suppression of speech. Peter Stockmann and Dr. Stockmann reside in an unidentified town which has of late finished building a medicinal bath on the town’s outer edge referred to as Kirsten Springs.

The Mayor of this town is Peter Stockmann who brags about the possible benefits which Kirsten Springs would present to the town. He envisages Kirsten Springs bringing tourists and visitors to the town – something that would increase the revenues of the town, provide enough employment opportunities for people of the town, and make businesses thrive (Ibsen, 2010). He also has the expectation that the town would in due course become a top resort in the region.

Dr. Stockmann, who is a scientist and a medical doctor, has suggested that the town should not construct Kirsten Springs in the site which has been chosen. Even so, members of the Council along with his brother Peter Stockmann disregard Dr. Stockmann’s recommendation. Dr. Stockmann believes that the water which pours into the Springs may be contaminated but he does not divulge his fears to anybody given that he does not want to alarm anybody needlessly in case he is incorrect (Miller, 2011).

In an attempt to verify what he believes to be true, Dr. Stockmann sent samples of water away to a certain university for them to be analyzed. The analysis report from the university divulges that the water which pours into the Springs is contaminated with an organic matter infection. The editor of Hovstad, a local newspaper, becomes aware of the report from the university and wants to publish this report in his newspaper.

Dr. Stockmann asks the editor, Hovstad, to hold-up printing the report until he notifies the Mayor of the town, Peter Stockmann, as regards the contents of the report. The doctor is sure that Peter would want the report published so that the people of the town could be cautioned and informed regarding the health risk.

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After reading the report, Peter Stockmann meets with his brother Dr. Stockmann to talk about the report. The Mayor is disappointed that Dr. Stockmann decided to examine and look into the water quality without informing him first. Peter believes that the report is overstated and that his brother wants to challenge and undermine his position since he loathes authority. In the town, Dr. Stockmann is a respected and outstanding doctor who has outdone his older brother Peter constantly (Miller, 2011).

In this situation, Peter Stockmann is confronted with an ugly truth which has the potential of destroying his dreams of the town becoming a popular and rich tourist resort. Peter also has to tackle his own personal demons in dealing with Dr. Stockmann who happens to be his accomplished younger sibling.

Peter Stockmann then spreads the word throughout the town that Dr. Stockmann wants to ruin it. The people of the town, who do not want to face the horrible prospects which the water report is representing, choose to believe that the words of their Mayor and snub Dr. Stockmann, who is not permitted to speak publicly regarding the dangers existing in the water supply of the town or publish the water report in the newspaper.

In spite of what Dr. Stockmann is confronted with, be it loss of income, threats of arrest or violence, isolation, or being called an enemy of the people, he would not forsake the truth and he in fact ends up fighting the whole town to do what is right for the town and townspeople (Ibsen, 2010). Even though when play concludes, Dr. Stockmann and his family have been banished from the town and are in fact outcasts, Dr. Stockmann is sure and positive that the path which he has chosen is the right one.

Even though he is the only individual in the town who is fighting for the truth, he recognizes eventually that he is doing what is right and that it would make him a stronger person (Miller, 2011). 

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On the whole, the main theme in An Enemy of the People is truth and morality; this is the theme which is clear and evident. Dr. Stockmann is determined to reveal the whole truth even if the information puts himself as well as his family in danger. That crucial information could affect the safety of his friends and his neighbours also. In this play, the audience and readers follow Dr. Stockmann, a man who discovered that the town’s water supply is contaminated. As a result of his efforts to disclose this information to the people of the town, his safety, his family, and his repute are put in jeopardy.

The key characters in this play include Peter Stockmann and Dr. Stockmann. Peter, who is the town’s mayor and the brother of Dr. Stockmann, is motivated by power and money. Peter Stockmann appears to be representing the government and the lengths which the government would go just to keep its citizens uninformed of wrongdoings. In the play, Peter acts as the antagonist. Dr. Stockmann is the play’s key character and is motivated by the truth.

In spite of the cost, Dr. Stockmann wants to provide the truth to the people of the town. He is the play’s protagonist. This character may represent science, or any profession which has as issue with places or products which the government considers safe for the citizens. Other noteworthy characters are Billing and Hovstad who are actually contributors to The People’s Daily Messenger, the local newspaper (Miller, 2011).

These two characters appear to be motivated by controversy. When Billing and Hovstad concur about publishing the findings of Dr. Stockmann, Hovstad states that this is just the start, which implies that the two want to publish a number of editorials that may bring the government down. Moreover, in the play, Aslaksen is the individual who publishes The People’s Daily Messenger. Aslaksen is motivated by money and he conducts himself in a manner that may sell the most newspapers and keep the peace with the people of the town. 

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In conclusion, An Enemy of the People play is without doubt one of the most renowned plays amongst producers and audiences and was initially written by Henrik Ibsen in the nineteenth century. In spite of that, it is also one of Arthur Miller’s eminent staged works. Truth and morality is the overriding theme in this play. Dr. Stockmann is strong-minded and wants to expose the whole truth although the information puts himself as well as his family in danger. The key characters include Dr. Stockman, Peter Stockman, Billing and Hovstad.


Ibsen, H. (2010). An enemy of the people. London, England: Penguin Plays Miller, A. (2011). An enemy of the people. Adapted by Arthur Miller. New York City, NY: Longman Literature

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Ovid Amores Quiz Coursework

Ovid Amores
Ovid Amores

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Ovid Amores Quiz

1. The Ovid’s metamorphoses are used in two forms within a play that include the Titian Perseus and Andromeda. The authors consequently make use of the traditions, magic and myths to make a clear depiction to the viewers on how human conditions have the capacity to transform things (Goh, 2015). The aspect of imagination and love remain the essential elements in the theme of transformation. The use of different figures of imagery are essential in the Ovid’s in order to ensure the understanding of the viewers and the meaning of the play as it relates to the current context.

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2. The three references to warfare as presented in Ovid include the aspect of sexual desires, deep emotional declarations and external devotions to the flippant arguments on the element of promiscuity (Goh, 2015). In Amore, Ovid views himself as a beautiful and elusive mistress. Intimacy is also reviewed in this poetry that vanishes in the Art of Love that clearly shows the guides to sexual conquest.

3. Some of the inversions presented in these poems and the manner in which they point to the cultural contradictions in the Roman World include the social and cultural ramifications of the events that transpire in the poem and that relate to the Roman World (Perkins, 2015).

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4. Some of the Roman concepts of masculinity and femininity in the poem can be seen when the poet uses a poetic figure of women that is constructed in reaction to the rhetoric need of the abject that seeks to establish the moral and the writing authorities (Perkins, 2015). The poet empowers herself through the contention with an absent beautiful figure which may be determined as either male or female.

5. The author makes use of the warrior character to depict Cupids power that was developed to chase some of the female characters (Perkins, 2015). In as much as the female characters looked non-committal, they choose to evade these capturing and followed their individual desires. This depicts the power of women as illustrated in the poetry.


Goh, I. (2015). The End of the Beginning: Virgil’s Aeneid In Ovid, Amores 1.2. Greece & Rome, 62(2), 167-176. doi:10.1017/S0017383515000042

Perkins, C. A. (2015). The Poeta as Rusticus in Ovid, Amores 1.7. Helios, 42(2), 267-285.

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The Interpretation of Dreams

The Interpretation of Dreams
The Interpretation of Dreams

The Interpretation of Dreams

Sigmund Freud is the one of the most influential and controversial theorists of the 21st century. This paper discusses Sigmund Freud, from his life to his theory on dreams as discussed in his book The Interpretation of Dreams.

Sigmund Freud is recognized as the father of psychoanalysis. The work of Sigmund Freud aims at revolutionizing the study of dreams. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud analyzed dreams for the purpose of understanding personality aspects in relation to pathology. He believed that when people explain their own behavior, they rarely provide a true account of their motivation. Nevertheless, it is not that a person is deliberately lying.

Freud was born on May 6, 1856 to Galician Jewish parents in Austria. In 1881, he qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Vienna. Upon completion of his habilitation, Freud got an appointment as a docent in neuropathology. In 1902, he was promoted to an affiliated professor. Sigmund Freud resided in Vienna. He established his clinical practice in Vienna in 1886. In 1938, he moved away from Austria in the bid to escape the Nazi regime. Freud died in 1939 in exile in the UK.

Freud is considered the most famous figure as well as one of the most controversial and influential thinkers of the 20th century. His work and theories helped in shaping perspectives on therapy, sexuality, memory, personality and childhood. Out of Freud’s legacy grew several major thinkers who contributed to his work, while others have developed new theories to oppose Freud’s work.

Freud is famous for founding psychoanalysis, and for creating a wordlist that has been embedded within the vocabulary of western society. Through his theories, he introduced such vocabularies as neurotic, Freudian slip, cathartic, repression, denial, and libido.

Sigmund Freud introduced his theory on dreams in his book The Interpretation of Dreams. In the book, Freud explores the theory of the unconscious in line with dream interpretation and establishes ideas that would later be known as the theory of the Oedipus Complex. According to Freud, dreams refer to all forms for fulfillment of wishes; they involve attempts by the unconscious part of the brain to resolve any conflict arising from the past (Freud 3).

The fact that the information stored in the unconscious is disruptive and keeps disturbing a person implies that it cannot pass to the unconscious without alteration by a censor in the preconscious. When a person dreams, the preconscious tends to be more inactive in its duty of censoring information than in times when the person is awake. Therefore, information has to be distorted in the unconscious mind as the meaning of it proceeds to be censored.

In most cases, images in dreams are not a true representation of what they appear to be, and thus require a deeper interpretation for purposes of informing the structures of the unconscious. Accordingly, people struggle to remember their dreams when the superego is at work. The Superego plays the role of protecting the Ego from disruptive images and wishes conjured by the Id.

Freud proposed the condensation phenomenon, though which he suggested that a simple image or symbol presented in a dream is capable of many meanings. In line with this thinking, Freud focused on details during psychoanalysis and even requested his patients to tell him everything including what they might have termed as trivial. For instance, applying the phenomenon of free association, he could ask patients to interact freely and tell him whether they had seen any sign on the wall and what the sign actually was.

While Freud focused on individual biological drives, his colleagues such as Adler, Jung and Breuer did not subscribe to these ideas. According to Freud, when a person sees a hollow image in his/her dreams, such as a cave or a box, this may symbolize a womb. A long image may symbolize a penis. Critics attacked these statements and labeled Freud as a misanthrope or sexist on the ground that he overemphasized the role of instinct, implying that he perceived human beings as wild beasts.

It is interesting to note that Freud’s ideas had a very strong impact on psychology that a school of thought was established from his work. Although psychoanalysis was eventually replaced by behaviorism, the school of thought had a long-lasting impact on both psychotherapy and psychology. A limitation of Freud’s work is that most of his ideas were drawn from cases studies and clinical cases, which made it difficult to generalize his findings to a larger population (Mitchell and Black 102).

Psychoanalysis theory is an illustration of a global therapy that aims to help patients in bringing about major changes of their perspective about life. According to Wittels and Freud (47), psychoanalysis is based on the belief that the prevailing maladaptive perspectives are closely related to deep-seated personality traits. Most global therapists are guided by the contrary approaches that focus majorly on reduction symptoms such as behavioral and cognitive approaches.

Works Cited

Freud, Sigmund. The interpretation of dreams. Read Books Ltd, 2013.

Mitchell, Stephen A., and Margaret Black. Freud and beyond: A history of modern psychoanalytic thought. Basic Books, 2016.

Wittels, Fritz. Sigmund Freud (RLE: Freud): His Personality, His Teaching and His School. Routledge, 2013.

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Diabetes Self care: PICOT and Literature Review

Diabetes Self care
Diabetes Self care

Diabetes Self care: PICOT and Literature Review

  Diabetes self care us an integral part of diabetes therapy and entails active involvement of family members.  Effective self management is associated with positive clinical outcomes in diabetic patients. However, effective self management can be challenging because of the naturally evolving and age appropriate attitudes as well as biological factors in young adults. Several studies have shown low self discipline and management which results into higher hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) (Jackson, Adibe, Okonta, & Ukwe, 2014).

In addition, standard self care of diabetes management involves prescribing constant drug dosages, which are often titrated based to patients condition during their clinic visits. The clinical visits for most patients are usually 2-3 times every month. Consequently, the patient drug dosage is determined by only these visits, which is not the true representation of daily patient health needs. This is associated with significantly elevated levels of blood glucose and frequent recurrent admission episodes attributed to treatment failure (Hinshaw & Basu, 2015).

 In this context, the study aims at investigating whether the use of social network (SocialDiabetes.com) can reduce the incidences of hypoglycaemia in adolescents patients diagnosed with diabetes type 1. The PICOT statement is as follows:  In adolescent patients diagnosed with diabetes type 1 (P), is integration of social network (SocialDiabetes.com App) (I),  in comparison with standard care  (C),  reduce  hypoglycaemia  incidences (O), in  a period of eight months?

 Literature review

De Jongh, T., Gurol-Urganci, I., Vodopivec- Jamsek, V., Car, J., Atun, R. (2012). Mobile phone messaging for facilitating self management of long term illnesses. Cochrane Database System Rev 12 (12) : CD007459. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007459.pub2.

 This paper assesses the impact of mobile phone messaging applications in self management of chronic illnesses. The study evaluates the health outcomes and patients capacity to manage their health complication.  This systematic review examined randomized controlled trials, quasi controlled studies, interrupted time series (ITS) and controlled before- after (CBA) studies to ass the effects of mobile phone messaging.

The paper found some limited information regarding the implication of integrating technology in improving self management for chronic diseases. However, the study found some significant knowledge gaps regarding long term effects, costs, acceptability and risks associated with these interventions.

Dobson, R., Whittaker, R., Jiang, Y., Shepherd, M., Maddison, R., Carter, K., Cutfield, R., McNamara, C., Khanolkar, M., and Murphy, R. (2016). Text message-based diabetes self management support  (SMS4BG): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 17: 179. doi: 10.1186/s13063-016-1305-5.

 According to this article, utilization of technology to deliver self management is an effective support strategy that allows people to have patient centered care. The Self- Management Support for Blood Glucose (SMS4BG) is a novel technology that is text message based, and is used to support people diagnosed with diabetes to support self management strategy and to achieve better glycaemic control as well as patient education that is tailored to individual patient needs and preferences.

This randomized controlled study was conducted in New Zealand Health districts, where one thousand participants were randomized into 1:1 ratio to receive SMS4BG and usual standard care. The study findings indicated that this technology is associated with better glycaemic control (HbA1c), enhanced self efficacy, diabetes distress, and perceived social support and improved health related quality of life.

Hinshaw, L., & Basu, A. (2015). Technology Use for Problem Solving in Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 17(7), 443–444. http://doi.org/10.1089/dia.2015.0175

 According to this article, technology and use of social media in adolescent care has been associated with improved glucose control among the adolescents because it provides them with practical platform to solve their therapeutic issues, thereby improving their quality of life.  The qualitative study evaluated the relationship between use of modern technology and glycemic control. 

The study findings indicated that the modern technologies have significant impact in enhancing self care management because it provides an opportunity for individualized care for a given patient, making it need based and focuses. However, the paper warns that one size fits all approach in this approach may not effective due to unique health demands and preferences.

  Jackson, I. L., Adibe, M. O., Okonta, M. J., & Ukwe, C. V. (2014). Knowledge of self-care among type 2 diabetes patients in two states of Nigeria. Pharmacy Practice, 12(3), 404.

 This study aims at exploring knowledge of self care practices and factors responsible patients knowledge deficiency in patients diagnosed with diabetes type 2. The cross sectional survey was conducted on patients attending the University of Uyo teaching Hospital, where Diabetes Self Care Knowledge  (DSCK-30) was used to assess the self care knowledge.

The study found that nearly 70% of the population had basic knowledge about self care, but it was associated with the level of education, household income and the length the patient has suffered from the disease. The study recommended for further investigations that will help enhance self care and individualize care based on patient’s health needs or demands.

Ng, S. M. (2015). Improving patient outcomes with technology and social media in paediatric diabetes. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 4(1), u209396.w3846. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjquality.u209396.w3846

According to this article, there has been significant increase in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes Type 1 in Europe, but only small percentage of people attain better diabetes control. Recent studies have established novel digital strategies with the aim of improving overall patient health care.

The quantitative study evaluated 3 digital initiatives with the aim of implementing electronic diabetes information system that would help to undertake routine blood glucose values and calculate drug dosages with the aim of improving clinical outcomes.  The study concluded that use of digital initiatives is effective in empowering patients, improving efficiencies, satisfaction, communication, reduction on emergency admissions, and to reduce diabetes related complications.

Marques, M.B.,   da Silva, M.,  Coutinho,  J.V., & Lopes, M.V. (2013). Assessment of self-care competence of elderly people with diabetes. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 47(2), 415-420. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-62342013000200020

The prevalence rated of diabetes is highest among the USA population.  Diabetes self care management is complex as it contains important recommendation for physical activity, nutrition, glucose levels and medications. Young adults and the elderly have issues that uniquely impact self care.

This is because as people age, their health status, mental abilities, nutritionl requirements and physical abilities change. Depression is also common among the diabetic patient is associated with the deterioration of self care behaviors. This descriptive cross-sectional and correlation study assess self care competencies among the population through Scale to Identify Diabetes Mellitus Patient’s Competence for Self Care as well as other factors associated with it. 

The study findings indicated that only 6% of the participants had self competence, highlighting the need to integrate other health promotion activities that target this population, assess their skills and to encourage effective self care practices that enhance planning of health interventions.


De Jongh, T., Gurol-Urganci, I., Vodopivec- Jamsek, V., Car, J., Atun, R. (2012). Mobile phone messaging for facilitating self management of long term illnesses. Cochrane Database System Rev 12 (12) : CD007459. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007459.pub2.

Dobson, R., Whittaker, R., Jiang, Y., Shepherd, M., Maddison, R., Carter, K., Cutfield, R., McNamara, C., Khanolkar, M., and Murphy, R. (2016). Text message-based diabetes self management support  (SMS4BG): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 17: 179. doi: 10.1186/s13063-016-1305-5.

Hinshaw, L., & Basu, A. (2015). Technology Use for Problem Solving in Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 17(7), 443–444. http://doi.org/10.1089/dia.2015.0175

  Jackson, I. L., Adibe, M. O., Okonta, M. J., & Ukwe, C. V. (2014). Knowledge of self-care among type 2 diabetes patients in two states of Nigeria. Pharmacy Practice, 12(3), 404.

Ng, S. M. (2015). Improving patient outcomes with technology and social media in paediatric diabetes. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 4(1), u209396.w3846. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjquality.u209396.w3846

Weinger, K., Beverly, E. A., & Smaldone, A. (2014). Diabetes Self-Care and the Older Adult. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 36(9), 1272–1298. http://doi.org/10.1177/0193945914521696

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The Holy Spirit: Book Critique

The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Book Critique

Bibliography Entry

MacArthur, John F. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.


            The book by MacArthur is very resourceful to Christians and leaders seeking to be effective in their ministries and in their personal growth in Christ. The book has three chapters, each delving in different topics, addressing the need for Christians to understand the immense power of the Holy Spirit. In the first chapter, the author states how Christians in several parts of the world have been faking their understanding of the working of the Holy Spirit.

Others use their position to swindle and steal from unsuspecting listeners using the language of generosity and faith.[1] He says prosperity is not a gospel but a heresy.[2] The author says that the Holy Spirit is already churning the Church through mighty revivals and it requires Christians to discern the times and workings of the Holy Spirit in their midst.

            In the second chapter, the author states the importance of speaking in tongues as a sign to the Israelites and as a transition to the new covenant from the old.[3] The use of tongues should be orderly and only for edification purposes and not for spiritual ecstasy. The author strongly reinstates the need to have faith in praying for the sick, whose healing should depend on the faith of their intercessors, not theirs.

The author in the third chapter brings several themes into light. First, the author highlights the dangers of counterfeiting the working of the Holy Spirit, stating that it is vital to have a true understanding of the Holy Spirit in worship. The Holy Spirit is God, whose presence in a person should result in a greater spiritual experience.

The Holy Spirit has the ability to secure a person’s salvation, but some charismatic Christians ignore this wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit. The author states that it is important for believers to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit in order to offer effective worship to God and to be fiery in their ministries.[4]


            The works of MacArthur highlights several problems encountered in the Christian faith worldwide. The author is concerned with the low level of spirituality in the church; and how some ministers have reduced the message of salvation to personal gain. The author’s arguments on the working of the Holy Spirit resonates the need for the church to awaken and rediscover the power of revival, prayer, worship and evangelism.

I agree with the author’s analyses of several theatrics present in the church such as false tongues, false miracles, prosperity gospel, and use of the pulpit for personal gain. It is imperative for the minister to understand their call and adhere to their master’s command, the Holy Spirit, in their daily activities.

            The author has also stated how important it is to speak in tongues; genuine tongue that leads to edification of the person. This is the most abused practice in the church according to the author, and amounts to mockery of the highest order to the Spirit.

The fact that many Christians do not understand the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives in terms of His plans for their salvation also highlights the need for Christians to seek for a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.  To sustain the great revival and to keep the Spirit fire burning, Christians will have to safeguard themselves from false doctrines and practices and lean to the pure word of God.


            MacArthur reinstates the perpetual need for revival in the body of Christ in his book. Since the beginning of the 19th century, the church has experienced mighty revivals by the Holy Spirit seeking to change the static nature of the church to a vibrant one. The notion of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in new tongues is a part of Christian experience that the mainstream churches have ignored for a long time.[5]

The Holy Spirit has immense ability to work in the current church in an even mightier state than the ancient church; something that has been plagued by the inability of the church to recognize His power and the need to yield under His authority. The Holy Spirit is a prerequisite for the successful operation of the church, which Jesus promised to send, without which we cannot be effective in ministry.[6]

            George Smeaton in his book The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit reiterates how this third personality of God has been working with humanity since the time of Enoch. The Holy Spirit is the finisher and effecter of the purposes and plans of God. However, the reason why the church has remained dormant for a long time is due to lack of understanding of the Holy Spirit and yielding to the spirit of confusion.

The church is at the edges of societal centrality due to entertainment of ungodly doctrines by ministers and congregation as well. Christians must learn to test the spirits to know which is from God in order to avoid deception.[7] God gave several people in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit in order to do specific tasks, requiring wisdom, courage, extreme strength, and skills.[8] Therefore, the infilling with the Holy Spirit is a requisite for effective spiritual experience in Christianity and realization of greater purpose. The author’s analogy of the works of the Spirit reflects the works of other authors as an imperative entity.

Works Cited

MacArthur, John F. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.

Smeaton, George. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

Synan, Vinson. The century of the Holy Spirit: 100 years of Pentecostal and charismatic renewal, 1901-2001. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2012.

Thiselton, Anthony C. The Holy Spirit–in biblical teaching, through the centuries, and today. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013.

[1] MacArthur. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013. Pp. 10.

[2] Ibid, pp. 16.

[3] Ibid, pp. 143.

[4] Ibid. pp. 204

[5] Synan. The century of the Holy Spirit. 1901-2001. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2012.pp. 1

[6] Smeaton, George. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.pp. 60

[7] MacArthur. Strange fire. Pp. 38.

[8] Thiselton, Anthony C. The Holy Spirit–in biblical teaching, through the centuries, and today.Pp. 04

Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”: Rhetorical Analysis

the ugly canadian
Rhetorical Analysis of Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”

A Rhetorical Analysis of Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”


The article, “The Ugly Canadian” aims at convincing Canadians that the government is the tainting the image of the state and correspondingly that there is a gross violation of elementary standards and values both at the national and international level. Likewise, Attaran asserts that Canada is liquidating its internationalism based on the national laws that are showing a dark side of the state. Attaran presents a resounding argument that the government has embraced the concept of “exceptionalism” which has discolored Canada’s progression towards achieving the international honor.

Throughout the article, he dispatches this argument by asserting that the government has taken pride in working in different directions contrary to what the norms profess. For instance, he notes that the abduction of Robert Fowler and Louis Guay; who were Canadian diplomats raised a few eyebrows in spite of them being government envoys. He questions such silence in a distressing manner. He goes further to drive his argument by denoting that the former Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, would never approve the direction the government had taken about its international and national conduct.

Attaran tells of a vast growing evidence of exceptionalism especially within the national context by looking at the legislations and codes of conduct that exist. He gives an indication of foreign trade laws, for instance, the Governor-in-Council gets to decide on which developing countries gets the preference of exporting to Canada at a discounted tariff. Why Attaran asks, does Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea and Singapore get the preference when certainly none of them is poor? (Attaran, 2009).

In further discussion, Attaran points out other wanting areas of concern; public health, corruption and human rights domains. The evidence he gives paints an image of a government that embraces rather than critiquing the loopholes that exist within various systems. Take, for instance, “the state-orchestrated secret kidnapping” which is against the doctrine of enforced disappearance of persons.

Despite Canada having nurtured a global reputation for being a fierce human rights defender, the country is yet to sign UN’s International Convention for the Protection of all persons from enforced disappearance. Attaran pegs this refusal to the fact that Canada is in the actual sense committing the same crimes it should be preventing. 

Significantly, by basing his excavation on various domains where the Canadian government has exercised exceptionalism in an arbitrary and unjustifiable way, Attaran delivers substantial evidence as such successfully achieving the intended goal of critiquing the government’ conduct both at the national and international level which has led to tainting the overall image of the country.

By the same token, Attaran further faults the civil society, mainly his fellow academics and NGOs for taking a back seat and failing to question the defects of the government which has led to drift from internationalism. In this respect, Attaran not only attributes the failure to uphold Canada as a respectable nation to the government officials but the society in large. In this way, Attaran successfully conveys his message that the rot affecting the country is deep rooted in the society and if a change is to occur, it should start from the top level going deep down.


Arguably, the purpose of the article is not to taint the image of the government but rather to act as a critique towards its international and national conduct which has circumvented the standard codes of practice for a sovereign state. By providing a significant amount of information on various areas where the government has failed, the article provides a weighing scale on which the country can assess itself.

Accordingly, the article also puts the government in the limelight for its various activities. This is an important aspect as it empowers the people to understand various violations conducted by the government.  Such an understanding could evoke public disapproval of the activities of the government as such promoting proper change or initiating platforms for facilitating discussions so as to find better ways forward.

Target audience

Notably, Attaran targets the political class at large. These are the people that not only represent the country at the international level, but they also formulate local laws which control the interactions between the citizens themselves, their interactions with various governmental agencies and the state. Arguably, the demeanor of these officials of embracing exceptionalism, which is contrary to conventional norms, trickles down to the society hence causing further adverse effects. 

By targeting the political elite, Attaran delivers on his argument that reforms must commence from top most individuals down to the societal members.

Writing strategies


Notably, Attaran structures the paper in such a way that it allures the reader into developing an interest in the intended goal. He starts off by giving an insight of how two Canadian diplomats were abducted by a shadowy group (Al Qaeda). He further asserts that even though their story has a happy ending, it leaves many questions to be answered.

From this short introductory piece, Attaran can develop his idea of exceptionalism that had been embraced by the government, which had allowed it to deviate from acceptable codes of conduct. He further moves from the international level and gives wide examples of the same concept being applied within the national context. Notably, this structure enables Attaran to develop his story in a smooth manner as he can move swiftly from one issue to another. 


Substantially, Attaran sticks to using a formal language throughout the article so as to enable him to deliver his message better. Considering his target audiences are the political elite, it is important that he addresses the issues at hand in a clear manner. Also, by using direct quotations from past scenarios, Attaran can allow the readers to have a flash back to things that they can relate to. This is an upshot to his intended goal as it keeps the reader involved and gives a feel of realness. Also, Attaran uses ridicule and comparison so as to express how Canada has fallen below the expected standards.

The language that Attaran adopts strengthens his argument as he can reach out to his target audience and at the same time connects with the readers

Rhetoric appeals

Expressively, the lack of solid sources to back up Attaran’s claims towards the government’s failures may impact negatively on the intended goal of the article. His focus on technical areas such as security or trade laws without concrete proof on the reasons for the measures taken by the government may not persuade a reader into following his line of thought. Arguably, this forms a weakness for the article; his logos may be questioned especially based on the accuracy of data provided. Also, the historical analogies given may have happened under different circumstances as such making it unfair to put Canada under the same scenario.


Amir Attaran’, (2009). “The Ugly Canadian” in the Literary Review of Canada.


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Pastoral Ministry; Book Critique

Pastoral ministry: Book Review
Pastoral ministry: Book Review

Pastoral Ministry; Book Critique

Bibliography Entry

MacArthur, John and The Master’s Seminary Faculty, Pastoral Ministry. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005.


            The book is centered on a running theme of character that is above reproach as a pastor in the call to lead the church. Two broad views are expounded on and broken down into four perspectives from which he gives a more detailed discourse. Integrity and leadership are two themes which are interlinked and which of necessity cannot be divorced from each other. Integrity must be above reproach (1 Timothy 3: 2, ESV), implying deadness to self and not moral perfection .He says “anything else is an abomination to God and spells doom for the life of the church”.[1]

Leadership is elevated to giving moral direction and also providing spiritual protection as a shepherd. The pastor has the responsibility to invigorate the church by inspiration and motivation with himself as the role model. Alex D Montoya writes: “It is not enough to be at the front of the pack; the leader must do also inspire the pack and do it with a willing and enthusiastic attitude.”[2]

             The above themes are the foundational themes on which the perspectives are expounded. Biblical, Preparatory, Personal and Pastoral perspectives are discussed and the way they affect leadership in the church. In the preparatory perspective, sexual morality is emphasized as being a cornerstone in benchmarking the character of a pastor.

The ability of a pastor to effectively govern  his household is given prominence in Personal perspectives, as failure to do so would affect the ministry negatively The importance of living by example off the pulpit is highlighted in Pastoral perspectives. Practical Christianity by the pastor brings a good image to the church.[3]


             I agree with the author’s position of leadership and humility which is a trait frowned upon in the American society today. He emphasizes the need to lead by serving with humility as Christ taught the church. This is lacking in todays so called “mega churches” where pastors are taken as small “gods”.

            Sexual sin which is damaging to the image of the church is another point in which I concur with him. This sin has made many churches to diminish in congregational membership as well as retiring once promising clergy who fell into sin. Impurity of the sexual nature is not only limited to sex, but also watching pornography and “sexting” which all sins are. Public integrity is equally important to private integrity, as one is interlinked with the other. Pastors need to embrace and practice both of them.

            Two points of divergence are on the radical position taken on sexual purity before ministry and children who may reject the truth. The author states that there must be no sexual immorality even before one got saved. Then where is mercy and grace applicable, since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? (Romans 3:23, ESV).The essence of Christianity is based on a fallen humanity which needed a savior.

The call into ministry is followed by a process of justification and perfection. (Romans 8:29, ESV) Impure sexual thoughts would disqualify all pastors if an honest survey was to be undertaken to gauge purity before ministry.

            Another point I differ with the author is if children of a pastor reject the truth, then he is disqualified from serving as a pastor. Many good men would fall short of this bar, yet the same children can reform and embrace Christ down the line. The family is the smallest unit of the wider church and differences in opinion between a pastor and his children will be expected.  Rejection of the truth could be as result of rebellion against authority as a teenager, but later accepts Christ with maturity and introspection.


            MacArthur and his team have contributed to academic discourse which is both practical and pastoral. This book has value in reading by both the church congregants and pastors, but can also be used in Bible Colleges and Seminary in their course work. His book adds value in the preparatory perspective of leadership training with concise and academically and reasoning.

The book is not a long and boring academic presentation of facts and figures, but it challenges the reader to take action. Its approach enriches the academic literature on leadership with a strong emphasis on integrity. His work carries the hallmark of excellence academically, since the author is both a pastor and a tutor in a Seminary and his work-life balance can be practically interrogated.

Many scholars base their work on theory, majoring on the academic treatise only, having value only inside the classroom and nothing else.5This author has balanced academic quality with practical significance.


DISSERTATION NOTICES. The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership, 8(2), (2014).110-115. Retrieved from https://search.prquest.com/docview/1754574556?accountid=45049 MacArthur, John and The Master’s Seminary Faculty, Pastoral Ministry. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005.  

[1] MacArthur, John and The Master’s Seminary Faculty, Pastoral Ministry. How to Shepherd Biblically. Thomas

Nelson, Inc, 2005. Pp. 68

[2] Ibid, pp. 30.

[3] Ibid. pp. 230-231

Yank in The Hairy Ape

Yank in The Hairy Ape
Yank in The Hairy Ape

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Yank in The Hairy Ape

Based on what you know about bullying by today’s standards- in school, work, or social environment-is Yank in The Hairy Ape By Eugene O’Neill the bully or bullied? Explain your theory and include dicussion on the final outcome of the whole story.

Topic: The Tale of “Yank in The Hairy Ape” and the Bully in the Office.

Workplace bullying is a reality today as the statistics from Civility Partners LLC indicates that about 70 percent of adults working have been bullied at some point in their working life. The majority of the bullies are found in management positions represented by figures of over 71 percent.

This reflects the tale of “Yank” in “The Hairy Ape” who was a brutish, unthinking stoker that worked in a transatlantic liner who bullied and despised everyone around him as he thought himself superior to his mates. He felt secure and he was highly confident of his physical power over the ship’s engine as he stokes the engines of an ocean liner (O’Neill).

            According to Carbo and Amy, the consequences of workplace bullying are dire to a company and its employees as many employees would opt to leave rather than challenge the bully and stir up trouble. But because of the “bad job market”, they have no option but to stay which results in a demotivated worker and consequentially affects the company’s bottom line.

Bullying has been made illegal since the passing of the Health Workplace Bill which was in response to the illegal workplace acts that were occurring such as discrimination and harassment due to a variety of reasons. In the play, Yank challenged everybody’s opinion and even threatened physical violence as seen when he threatens “Long” when he talks about the Bible and tells him that he does not want to hear the religious nonsense.

He goes on further challenging the other ship workers as he says that his work is the most important and cannot be done by just anyone as they would faint (O’Neill). This reflects the thinking of today’s bullies in the workplace as they brag that they can easily do the work of other people in the shortest time possible while theirs cannot be managed by just anyone.  

This is common especially to those in power or the “rainmaker” that bring huge amounts of business to the company per year. It also could be the people in the management that suffered and strained in order to reach the position they are today are more predisposed to being bullies (Lavan and Wm Marty).

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A bully usually struggles with the search for belonging in the world of the rich and this is what Yank goes through as he works in the liner. Bullies will look for ways to inflict pain to those that reject them or refuse to love them, especially those in the higher ranks or social class (Lavan and Wm Marty). Retaliation from bullies can be devastating, especially in the workplace as they can deliberately plan to sabotage the company as payback.

In the play when Yank faces rejection from the daughter of a rich industrialist, who owned various steel businesses, when she calls him a “filthy beast”. The rejection by the lady drives him into a depression and he later plans on how to destroy the factory owned by the lady’s father as payback. Companies should therefore implement anti-bullying policies and conduct anti-bullying training not only to protect themselves from the bullies but also protect its workforce. A company can shield itself from lawsuits of workplace bullying if they can prove that the supervisor or manager who harassed an employee received anti-bullying training (Carbo and Amy).

Although tough laws concerning workplace bullying do exist, the nature of the vice is difficult to diagnose. This is because most of the cases occur under the radar. We can ask ourselves if a demanding boss or a perfectionist is a bully or what it means to rise above the level of being a “mean boss” to being a bully. We must therefore seek first to understand the bully before they become destructive or even lead to their own demise (Lavan and Wm Marty).

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Works cited

Carbo, Jerry, and Amy Hughes. “Workplace Bullying: Developing a Human Rights Definition from the Perspective and Experiences of Targets.” Working USA 13.3 (2010): 387-403. ABI/INFORM Complete. PROQUESTMS. 18 Sep. 2012 .

Lavan, Helen, and Wm Marty Martin. “Bullying in the U.S. Workplace: Normative and Process-Oriented Ethical Approaches.”Journal of Business Ethics 83.2 (2008): 147-65. ABI/INFORM Complete. PROQUESTMS. 18 Sep. 2012 .

O’Neill, Eugene. “The Hairy Ape: A Comedy of Ancient and Modern Life in Eight Scenes .web.  18th September 2012.

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