Sociological Themes in "All God's Children" Essay

818 Words 4 Pages
There is not one single theory or motive that causes one to commit a life of deviance. One who lives out a deviant life has interdependent motives such as the environment, access to means, and their upbringing. Fox Butterfield's work All God's Children outlines this notion through the depiction of the Bosket family and the focus on Willie. Four theories that are both interdependent on one another as well as motives for the deviant outcome of Willies life are the social disorganization theory, labeling theory, social process theory, and social control theory.

It is known that our family is the most important influence on our socialization. As Butterfield explains throughout the first half of his book, the Boskets always dealt with
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Along with Laura's rejection, the constant putdowns that Willie heard lead to the onset of Willie internalization of both the label and the eventual stigma that resulted from his actions. The stigma was not only passed down by his mother but by other relatives and neighbor's who, similar to Laura they told Willie that, in part, he is a bad kid because Butch's personality has been passed down to him.

From the notion that Butch's personality was passed down to Willie, it must be made known that Butch committed the same acts that Willie did. For example on page 80, Butterfield states that "Butch was learning early to be a hustler." Also Willie's characteristics resemble that of his father's through their experience in the education system. Both Boskets did not favor the structure of school and the institution itself could not maintain their interest.

The institution's failure to stimulate the Bosket's pushed them into a life of crime, they needed something more engaging. Rational choice can be argued here, stating that the Bosket's chose not to follow the rules. However, as Butterfield acknowledges the institution itself was not up to standards and, in regards to Butch, "They didn't encourage blacks to go to school" (81); thus similar to Willie's experience the school was understaffed and under funded which only pushes students to opt out of education.

The area in which Willie was raised also socialized him to live a

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