Essay title: Under the Attic Essay
The most important value of the family was to not have children out of sin and to not marry within the family, which was why Mrs. Dollanger was initially disinherited. The grandmother had the highest status of the family because she ordered and punished the four grandchildren and Mrs. Dollanger. The grandmother at that point was now of authority status to the grandfather because he was sick in his dying bed. This goes against the definition of sexism, stating that men are believed to be superior to women.
The oldest sister Cathy begins to encounter a role conflict within herself. She takes on the role of a sister and she also depicts a mother, because she is the one that cares for her young sister and brother. Strangely, she takes on the role as the sexual partner of her brother, Chris, because they do not yet understand that this is wrong because of their entrapment from society.
Mrs. Dollanger then receives a sanction when her father dies, which is to inherit her father’s estate. This was her reward for her father thinking that she hadn’t had children. Her sanction at the beginning of the novel was the punishment of marrying her half uncle by her father disinheriting her. The sanction of Cathy was the punishment of her grandmother cutting off her long hair for bathing naked in front of her brother, Chris, and allowing him to watch. Now becoming curious about their infatuation with each other, Cathy and Chris go against the norm of incest taboo, and begin having sex.
As time passed with original agreement not being known, their mother stopped visiting them completely and their cruel grandmother began to abuse them by doing mean things to them, such as locking them in trunks, cutting off their hair, and starving them. The grandmother was also secretly poisoning them by putting arsenic on the doughnuts that she fed them, which eventually kills Corey.The children were now experiencing absolute deprivation.
They had absolutely no food which resulted in drinking each others blood and eating mice found in the attic so that they will avoid death by starvation. Cathy then becomes depressed and wants to commit suicide because she is so isolated. There were many symbols in this novel that prove relation to sociology. For the children’s grandmother, the doughnuts represented death since she was the only one that knew the doughnuts were poisonous. The children undergo psychological problems that caused them to create a garden in the attic, made out of construction paper.To the children, the paper garden symbolized freedom because it made them think that they were outside in a real garden. Also to the children, the grandfather’s death symbolized freedom because they were told that when he died that they would be let out of the attic.
Out of primary, developmental, anticipatory, and resocialization, the children’s source of socialization is primary because everything that they had knowledge of was learned on their own as a child. This is why Cathy never learned about menstruation until she experienced it. This also supports the reason why Cathy and Chris never learned that it is a sin to copulate with your siblings; they didn’t have anyone to tell them it wasn’t normal. All of the children complete a self-fulfilling prophecy by predicting and saying that their mother had changed and that she was not coming back to get them. The Bases of Stratification used in the novel were power, property & wealth, and prestige. Power was used because the grandmother controlled and intimidated the children into doing things that they didn’t want to do. Property & wealth was used by the mother because she was the only one that would benefit from the grandfather’s estate, not her children, and that is all that mattered to her.
Prestige played a part with the children’s.