Gratis online lesen
Table of contents
- 1. Introduction
-1.1 General information and the process of analysing different aspects
- 2. Main Part
-2.1 Biography of Gloria D. Miklowitz
-2.2 Summary of the novel
-2.3 Background information of the course of the colour game
-2.4 Characterisation of Amy & Adam and the relation to their families
-2.5 Analysis on the relationship between Amy & Adam
-2.6 Amy's journal entries during the 'Colour Game'
-2.7 Different views on the colour game between Canadian and German students related to the “Intercultural Learning Project”
-2.8 Comparison between the speech, entitled “The Scab” given in 1903 by Jack London and the theme of the novel
- 3. Conclusion
-3.1 Personal opinion of the experiment
- 4. Appendix
- Internet Sources
- Consent to Publication [Einverständniserklärung]
- Insurance of Independent Work [Versicherung der selbständigen Arbeit]
1.1 General information and the process of analysing different aspects
First of all when I chose the novel 'The War Between the Classes' I have not have a precise idea what the theme what all about. After I got familiar with it I was happy about my choice because the novel is based on an authentically, sociological experiment which was held 1979 by Ray Otero. I also remembered that I saw a documentary about that issue some time before. The book deals with racial, ethnical and sexual prejudices which are the basis for the 'Colour Game'. The main purpose of creating this game is that the participants develop a feeling for justice, fairness and tolerance, which might effect a whole class.
I started to read the novel and after I got the topic clear, I focused my research on that topic. I found a bit of information about the game on the internet but not as much as I was hoping to discover.
So carried on researching and found several pages about the 'International Learning Project' which was done in 1997. I chose it because it appealed to me as an interesting project which was precisely matching with my topic and it presented several opportunities for analysing. I also found the speech 'The Scab' on the internet which introduced an idea to me to compare the class situation to the situation at present.
All in all I am very content with my topic and the material I found.
2.1 Biography of Gloria D. Miklowitz
Gloria D. Miklowitz was born in New York on May the 18th 1927. She started reading at an early level and wrote her first story 'My Brother Goo Goo' in the third grade. She attended 'Hunters College' from 1944-1945; 1948, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in English. She married the scientist Julius Miklowitz and moved to Pasadena, California in 1951. There she worked as a secretary and scriptwriter on documentary films about torpedoes and rockets.
She had two sons and a full time mother. After that time she was really looking forward to return to writing. She took a class 'Writing for Publication'. When she heard about 'Follet’, a beginning to read contest, she entered the contest in 1964 with her book 'Barefoot Boy' and the book was immediately bought and published.
In the next few years she concentrated on writing; selling several picture books and middle grade biographies.
In 1978, she spent a year working on a rape-hotline to research that issue and wrote the following novel 'Did You Hear What Happened to Andrea' , in 1979. She had great success with that book and won the 'Western Australia Young Reader Book Award' 1984. It was later televised and aired as an 'After-School Special' and won 5 Emmys. As were her later works; 'The Day the Senior Class Got Married' in 1985 and 'The War Between the classes' in 1986, which won an Emmy for the best children's special. She presently resides in la Canda, California. Whenever she is not researching or writing books, she lectures at schools and conferences for librarians and teachers.
She has often chosen social and emotional topics as subjects for her fiction books. Such as: AIDS, sexual and physical abuse, rape, nuclear holocaust, racism and teenage pregnancy. She always puts a lot of effort into research of her topic. A large part of her collection consists of: newspaper and journal articles, interviews, pamphlets, photographs and newsletters. To date, she has written nearly 50 fiction and non-fiction books for children of all ages. Over half of them involve teens and deal with important issues for them.
2.2 Summary of the novel
The novel "The War between the Classes" which was written by Gloria D. Miklowitz in 1985 is about an authentic sociological experiment, held in 1979 by Ray Otero. The so-called 'Colour Game' concerns racism and sexism in a fictional society and is designed to make the participants aware of these facts.
Amy is a 17 year-old Japanese teenager living in the U.S. She has a white boyfriend from school, Adam. His parents are enormously rich and live in the wealthy part of town. Both Amy’s and Adam’s parents have big prejudices against their developing relationship.
They wish to keep their children in the racial and social class that they belong to and they don't want to see them being mixed up with others.
Adam and Amy have to take part in the 'Colour Game', which is conducted by their sociology class. They, and all the other students have to pick randomly a coloured armband which is to indicate their allotted social class in society. From now on they are separated because Amy is in a superior class woman and Adam is an inferior class male. They are not allowed to socialise during the time when the game is on, even after school.
Adam in particular, believes that this game is far from reality and makes jokes about it. After some time, they both realise that they have quite different advantages and disadvantages respective to their social class. This resulted because they were deliberately put in social groups contrary to real life. The game obviously becomes a problem to their relationship, as they cannot see each other any more.
They feel obstructed from their normal lives. After Amy discovered that she cannot handle the situation of the inferior classes and Adam is not satisfied with his position in society either, they decide to start a rebellion against Otero's system. When Amy puts up many posters with the slogan 'All Colours Unite' on the school ground, and is demoted for this; Adam helps her to organise a meeting with other people of their class in planning a rally, to include the entire school. Even after having trouble with the ‘police force’, the G4's, the rally is still a success and the whole school participates.
When the game is over they return to their normal lives again.
Their relation is improved over the time spent in role-playing and role reversal. Amy discovers some of her parents prejudices are changed, or changing, by being challenged. So Amy's family is united in the end and even Adam is accepted by her parents.
2.3 Background information on the course of the colour game
The colour game as invented by Ray Otero and has the following basic features, essentially there are four colours: (Blue, dark green, Light Green and Orange) in a hierarchical order, blue on top with orange at the bottom. All the participants, randomly, are allocated a colour each. The game lasts four weeks. Following an evaluation by a tutor each participant is allocated a colour. An armband marks the colour of their band of ‘choice’ and each must keep a diary which has to be carried at all times. Each has to note in their diary on a daily basis their experiences, which in turn assists the teacher in evaluating their progress, or the lack of it. The teacher can then decide whether somebody can be promoted or demoted in the social order.
The definitions of the different classes are as follows:
- Members of the inferior colours are not allowed to speak or socialise with superior ones
- The superior class is permitted to address an inferior
- The more privileged ones have more advantages in normal life, e.g. more money
- Lower colours have to show their respect and inferiority by bowing to higher colours
A police force, called the G4, is also invented. It is their duty to check if the rules are kept and to insure that everybody is keeping a journal.
The students who have played this game in previous years are spies, who also control and if necessary, report any students who jeopardise the success of the game.
There is also a sex related difference between men and women in the game (the opposite to real life)
- Women (called teks) are the superior of each class
- Men (called no-teks) are the inferior sex
- Teks get more money than the no-teks of the same colour
- No-teks are required to undertake mundane tasks, e.g. to bring home made cookies and coffee to class
- No-teks have to take part in a beauty contest where they are judged on their individual talents or for their physical attributes
The game was invented to show the present class differences and the effect it has on the respective classes, by the fact that it is played with role reversal. So it demonstrates for every student what it is like to be in a different class in society. The purpose is to prevent the growth of these prejudices because they are now able to feel what it is like to be categorised.
It also takes the aspect of sex discrimination into concern. It is often unconsciously dealt with.
The play shall make the existing class differences clear by forcing the students to get into contact with gender differences.
So the main purpose of creating this game is that the participants develop a feeling for justice, fairness and tolerance.
The success of the role-playing of the participants of the “colour game” will become evident if they start to challenge bias and prejudice in the wider community. (Miklowitz,1986)
2.4 Characterisation of Amy & Adam and the relation to their families
Amy is the protagonist in the novel, which is written in the first person. The fact that the whole story is told 'through her eyes' gives you a very detailed impression what she thinks about several situations and aspects of her life and her surroundings.
Amy is an 17 year -old girl who lives with her parents in a middle class neighbourhood in some American city. Both of her parents emigrated from Japan a long time ago but they still follow their old traditions and try to raise and educate Amy that way. Amy is an Americanised form of her first name: 'Emiko', her parents choice, by her parents but none of her friends uses that name. She grows up in a lower-middle-class part of town racially very mixed.
It is said that she does like her parents and obeys both of them, but she does not like her father's attitude concerned that she should not date Adam because he is white and comes from the upper class. That frustrates and makes her sad sometimes just because she has observed her father’s intolerant attitude towards Hideo (her brother) and his girlfriend over the years. She admires his brother for his strong will to keep up the relation with Sue (his wife) even though her dad has such strong prejudices against it. Her relation with Adam is very similar to theirs, which creates a strong bond between them.
There is a major change in her character, or especially in her outward appearance throughout the novel.
The first impression which she gives is, that she is a responsible young woman who really cares about other people's feelings and opinions. So she never speaks up even if there is disagreement about other people's opinions. She lacks of self-confidence in a way because she never knows what the others think of her and she always fears of being discriminated against. That makes her keep a sharp eye on them because she feels unprotected, by being Japanese. She thinks that she is only accepted in Adam's group because she is a girl and his girlfriend. For that reason she has created a special behaviour, which makes it more likely to be accepted by others, so she by times is exotic, shy, submissive and pretends to like people as she finds them and would not venture to stand up against someone else's opinion.
During the colour game she is changing her principles quite a bit. As a superior class, as she is at the beginning, she notices what power the upper class has accumulated against the lower colours and how unfair they are treated by the system. The revealing fact that she decides to help the lower colours by planning a rebellion, which is a clear indication that she feels sorry for them and that she does not wish to support the system any longer. Surprisingly, even after she is demoted she does not give up her idea to unite all colours.
From now on she appears as a strong-willed person, who is prepared to fight for the improvement of the system. She acts in a leading role of the rally, which gives her confidence. The fact that she expresses her view to her parents and Adam are good examples of the change her mind has undergone.
Generally, Amy has achieved more maturity during the course of the game.
Adam is the boyfriend of Amy and, as he has so much to do with her, he can be considered as the second character in the novel. He is from a white and wealthy American family who lives in the upper-class part of town. They own a big house, which looks like a castle on the 'Valley Vista'. Adam is driving his own car, a BMW, which is an indication of how rich his family is. He is the same age Amy , he is described as a strong and attractive boy and is voted second at the male beauty contest in class.
There is little said about his family and next to nothing of his own opinion about them. He has a younger sister, Bettina, who is tutored maths by Amy. His mother is described as being rational thinking without many obvious emotions or feelings. Except that she has many prejudices about non-whites and people from other races, and people from a lower social standard. She would like to see Adam going out with Eileen who is from the same social class and also a friend of the family.
Adam wants to separate himself from that kind of prejudice and is sure that he has chosen the right girlfriend. At first he appears to be the dominant partner of their relationship. He is very self-confident and experienced in exert his will but towards the end of the novel they become, more or less, equal partners.
He likes Amy for the reason that she is 'exotic' and very different to all the other girls. He tries to protect Amy from the people's prejudices as well as from other boys. He has had a strong desire, through the whole novel, to keep the relation up between them and to work at it.
2.5 Analysis on the relationship between Amy & Adam
As the relation between Amy and Adam develops throughout the novel it is hard to get a precise idea about what the relation is like at the beginning of the novel. So I have to draw attention to several major parts of interest to get an insight about the changes which have gone on during the game.
The story starts with a monologue, dealing with the relation from Amy's point of view. It is clearly said that Amy is in a passionate mood of overwhelming feelings for Adam, combined with a bit of uncertainty as to why he has just chosen her ( Miklowitz,1985:7,ll.1 -4;20-21). There exists strong prejudices about their intercultural relationship from their parent's point of view and who even try to separate them. That is going to challenge them in the course of time in the novel.
The first challenge they have to face together, is the week when she is placed under house arrest and they cannot see each other for that period. Adam wants to go to a beach party and does so without her. She starts to get suspicious when she hears his mum shouting that there is "some girl" on the phone but he is diplomatic enough to convince her of his innocence. As the story develops and the colour game is introduced to their class, their relationship will have to face the most serious challenge. In the beginning they are separated by the different colours they have chosen (Amy-Blue & Adam-Orange). According to the rules of the game they are not allowed to meet each other, even after school. The only short moments when they can meet are after she teaching Adam's younger sister.
This situation lasts for about three weeks.
When Bettina (Adam's sister) plays a trick on both of them, Amy finally gets suspicious and they are having a major crisis. It is for that reason that Amy decides to put up posters all around the school ground at night-time - with Justin instead of Adam. Adam is evidently hurt and sad that
she has not even asked him if he wants to take part in the rally, even though he is proud of her courage to stand up, though he believes that she may fear the consequences.
As a result of her rebellion Amy is demoted to the orange class, which helps them to find their way back together again. They start to organise the rally and really stick together. It is also around that time that Amy is confident enough to stand up by telling Adam that he has some sort of sexist behaviour against her at times. This she has noticed during the game but he is willing to change for her sake.
She does not wish to have to continue to adapting him from how he was.
At the end they developed as partners, with equal rights, and the decide that they do not wish to jeopardise their relation ever again.
2.6 Amy's journal entries during the Colour Game
I decided to choose the journal entries of Amy which she might have done in the time when the 'Colour Game' was on. The student's journals have often been the reason for de- or promotion to a different class in the fictional society.
They were also the basis for ray Otero where he could see whether the participants are making progress or not.
The students were told to write in their journals on a daily bases all the experiences and emotions they had during the carrying out of the game. That makes it very important because they are similar to a personal diary over that period.
Knowing that the diary was written on a daily bases, I can only present extracts of it because of limited space.
- This is my first entry in this new journal, I'm still not sure what the use of it is and why we have to carry it with us all the time- even after school- but maybe I'll know in a few days.
- How awful, Adam and me are divided by our armbands colour which we picked. So this game will definitely challenge our relation even more than it was in the last few days. I really hope than both of us can cope with it, we weren't even aloud to sit besides, Adam had to move to the back of the class where all the other 'Oranges' sit. It is no good feeling but I have to wait and see what is next introduced to us by Otero.
- I have to think about Adam's plan of getting demoted for a special reason over and over again. I don't think that it is my way of living, maybe I should just tell him.
- Otero is still giving out rules of how to behave, for me it sounds like as an easy life. But shortly later when I cued for the cafeteria I see my friends who are divided at the tables into groups of the same colour, I can't accept the fact that all my friends and especially Adam have to bow before me because I'm the inferior colour, that is not the way it should be.
- I'm no longer allowed to see Adam, the G4's appear everywhere and suddenly, I don't want to risk my social standard so I have to find other ways of meeting Adam.
- Adam's family is really a hard case, they seem to really don't like me and his mum mixed me up with Eileen, especially with her! I notice that I got very suspicious over the time, I think a lot more about other peoples behaviour than usual.
- This afternoon I'll meet with Carol in the mall, I won't take my journal as there is no use and I can't see the point in doing.
- Brian checked our journals yesterday in the mall, I hadn't got it and some reason I told him the truth, that I didn't bring it on purpose. But after I did it I felt good even I guessed of being demoted for it. It was just thing to do in that moment.
- I'll call Juan to put up the posters with me at night time. He agrees and we start our mission towards freedom for all of us. I think it is the right decision, at least it is a good attempt, if it fails nobody could take notice who is responsible for that.
- I was quite impressed when the other Oranges came up with the idea of sewing four-colour- armbands. If we succeed, would be great!
- We were busy producing heaps of these armbands of left over material at Juan's house. It was funny how much effort everyone put in their work just for the will of the rally. When we left some G4's tried to confiscate all our made armbands, someone must have cheated on us by telling them.
- On Wednesday the rally didn't go the way it was supposed to but it was still a great success for all of us! I'm proud of what we have done in the last week, we found a way to scab the system for the fortune for all of us. Amy.
2.7 Different views on the 'Colour Game' between Canadian and German students relating to the 'Intercultural Learning Project'
The idea of an 'International Learning Project' was invented by the German teacher Andreas Müller-Hartmann. He supported the 'Intercultural Exchange' between three schools by helping to set up a structure to create a basis for discussion. There were two German and one Canadian schools participating. The project lasted for 6 weeks and was carried out in 1997 and 1998.
The different schools communicated to each other by email.
The aim was to gain insight into different cultures and their different ways of understanding and dealing with problems. The basis for that discussion was the novel 'The War Between the Classes', where the participants were given some subjects to write about.
They were asked to write impressions from reading the diaries which should form the basis for discussion. They should include their emotions and feelings as well as the impressions of the characters. They could also ask questions for the other party to respond to, or include their own statement related to experience of their own culture.
Individual cultural hypothesises and careful scrutinising of the important aspects were significant factors for the 'Intercultural Understanding', which was the desired ambition.
The students wrote their emails in class and then they were sent to the other schools. After the project was finished they set up an internet page where all emails are shown in a chronological order .(AndreasMüller-Hartmann:265-281),
( < http://www.tzm.uni-giessen.de/unigi/layout/einzel95.cfm?FB=10&Institut=1200&lfd_Nr=09p > )
I studied these emails and drew attention to the different views on 'The Colour Game' between the Canadian and German students and to their sociological background.
The outcomes of the project are very interesting to analyse as there is a change visible to the way the students have read the novel, in their way of analysing their own society.
At they very early beginning both parties (Germans & Canadians) stated that that there are no great differences in their own society in dealing with problems concerning ethnical/ racial and sexual discrimination, which causes much concern in their observance .(Intercultural Learning Project:Page 2, site 1-German-),(Page4, site2-Canadian) There were only a few people which were able to draw parallels to some prejudices in their own society, at that stage. The majority though could not address any relationship to the book. Many of the Canadian students stated the point that they live in a rural district and are not exposed to such problems especially because their school is not multi-racial .(page5, site 1 -Canadian)
As the story developed and the students got more familiar with the topic, they slowly started questioning their own system. As they did so, they found some similarities; mainly the more obvious ones; which might relate to the experiences described in the novel. Cultural differences (on the Canadian side) were for example: -The French community in Canada which is a minority
- The language barrier as a result
- The unequal school system for native French and English speakers
The only problem, which could be recognised at their school was a formation of two groups: the skaters and the farmers which were practically at war. (Page 6, site 2)
The German students came up with thoughts of discrimination of foreigners or non-Germans as the main problem in the German society relating to the novel.
After both cultures had identified the presence of these disadvantages in their respective societies, they started to interact and to interview one another about the influence of these issues. Towards the end they got more detailed and precise in their analysis of the problems in society and had discussions of how the people might be affected by it. A good example of this development is the case of the Turkish-origin student, Thukan, who is German, and who was recounting from his own experiences. They were really interested in his experiences and he was willing to give useful information to provoke discussion.
There are also some evident differences in discussing the novel and writing about the readers emotions, between the two countries.
The length of the comments was one aspect, the Canadians wrote about twice as much about the different activities than the Germans did. They also stated a more precise and emotional interpretation in general, the Germans just kept to the analysis of the story, mostly without a marked opinion on their observations The Canadians really admired Amy´s courage and were often quite critical of Adam, the Germans, considered whether Amy could do her rebellion in real life. It can be said that the comments of the Germans were more conservative in general, the Canadians tried to think of more radical ways of how to get out of such a calamity. Their suggestions were more open minded in general.
2.8 Comparison between the speech given in 1903 by Jack London and the theme of the novel
The speech 'The Scab', which was given in 1903 by Jack London before the 'Oakland Socialist Party Local' has impressive similarities to the novel 'The War Between the Classes'. It concerns the social classes in society and the problems which are created by it, which could be easily compared to the problems we might face at the moment. It is a description of the working class individuals whose jobs are endangered by 'the scab', or scabs in general.
They society is divided into the labour and the capitalist group which also include a number of scabs each. The scab is a person who cheats on his 'work fellows' by just working harder and longer hours for the same or less money than his colleagues. By doing this he is infiltrating the system and the union which protects the common worker. The employees have to fight for keeping their social standard though.
It is to say that the speech was written in times when a certain income was needed as an essential for surviving, which is the only major difference to present times.
London is proving his statements with examples and income calculations.
The reason hat the speech is held before the 'Oakland Socialist Party' is another indication that they want to demolish the unfair class system in favour to form a big union where the people are equipped with equal rights and duties.
The fact that the normal worker looks upon him as an enemy and tries to kill the man who is trying to kill him (The Scab: Passage 3) can be related to the novel, where the oranges try to find out who cheated on them by planning the revolt.
The example that a striker kills a scab and has no sense of wrong doing is a clear indication that he wants to stay in his position and can not accept someone endangering that will (Passage 4.1). Furthermore it is said that it is not the nature of things to give most for least, rather to give least for most (Passage 10). In the novel it is also the fact that the upper class wants to stay in their position because it is the most comfortable one to be in. The quote: "...,battle royal is waged by the ambitious individuals" can be referred to the fear of the upper class that too many people want to achieve their standard. To fight against these trends, they invented a special police force, the G4's, which have the duty to calm the lower class people down by just oppression them wherever possible. They even change the laws to gain an advantage. Jack London describes exactly the same situation in the following quotations: (passage16), (passage 18).
But the labours are not helpless in every way, they still have the two great weapons against the capitalists: the strike and the boycott (passage13), (passage 17). That is also the final and successive way the 'Oranges' use for fighting against the 'Blues' in the novel. They form an union which is powerful enough to gain enough respect to convince the majority of students.
But even the upper class might be forced to most for least at some stage to keep their standard which is described in passage 22. The 'Blues', in the novel, always have to care about their actions so that they do not get into danger of being demoted themselves.
Even the scabs have to be prepared to go scabbing again in case they would lose their position (passage24), which can also be compared to the story because even the promoted students are not on the safe side yet.
The sexual discrimination is also briefly announced in the speech (passage34), as it is in the 'Colour Game'.
The speech shows that these characteristics of a society have been important ever since, in the way it is set up.
3.1 Personal opinion on the experiment
I think it was a good choice to base the novel on an authentic experiment- ‘The Colour Game’, because the feelings and emotions the students had during the game were quite well shown in the novel. The whole atmosphere was successfully transmitted through the research of Gloria Miklowitz into this fictional novel. As she said that she sat in class, interviewed students and examined their workbooks (Miklowitz,1985:p.6), she had the chance to get a realistic impression about the personal feelings of the students who were involved in the game. With this data and results in general she had the opportunity to write a fictional book, which interprets the characters, very authentically.
The colour game itself is a helpful experience for the teenagers, which can be held at school. It is an exercise with the purpose of making the students more aware of prejudices, sexist, or racist issues which can be described as intolerance in general.
Because they are all participants of the experiment, they are all affected by it. According to the purposeful selection of colour for each participant, it is more or less guaranteed that they all will have to face a new challenge.
With normal social position being reversed; for the former lower class it is a gain of power. For the former upper class it is a substantial loss of power and influence. That shock will ( intentionally) create students who are more aware about their present situation and they will start to observe the whole system in a more balanced and fairer way.
I think, it can be said that the student's awareness of the present system is brought to them by the progress of the game and in many cases they will be more aware than they have ever been before in their life of the faults and unfairness of society.
Also the fact that it covers different aspects of the present model of modern society is very good and makes it very authentic. Ray Otero tries to build a society as close to reality as possible, which definitely cannot be done in four weeks, so he employs compression, and exaggerates in some points to get the best result. He also supervises them during the time and reacts to waywardness to keep the project on the intended course.
Andreas Müller- Hartmann in: Das Transatlantische Klassenzimmer, Edition Körber Stiftung, Hrsg: Reinhardt Donath & Ingrid Volkmer
< http://www.uni-giessen.de/~ga52/deptfac/teaching/mullerH/mullerH.htm >
- Arbeit zitieren
- Carsten Busch (Autor), 2001, Miklowitz, Gloria D. - The war between the classes, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/103285