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Final Paper Instructions Due Date: May 7, 2023 Late papers will be penalized with a 5-point deduction for each day late. No paper submission will be accepted after 5/8/2023 The paper will be based on a song that you choose. The song must be one that has been recorded and released in English. The goal is to apply six of the major topics we have covered in class to the song that you have chosen. The course was divided into three separate sections (think, influence and relate) based on the definition of social psychology. A part of your paper will reflect each of those three sections. You will choose two major topics from each of the three sections of the course and relate them to the song you have chosen. Your paper will be divided into four major sections: Think, Influence, Relate and Conclusion. In addition, it is recommended that you include one paragraph of introduction. Your paper should be five pages in length, double-spaced (use APA format; check provided guidelines). You will include the lyrics of your songs at the end of your paper. The lyrics are not to be counted as part of the 5 pages that you will submit. In past semesters, I have required longer submissions. However, your paper will be 5 pages. If it is 6 pages or longer, you will be deducted points. For your convenience, I have uploaded a submission from an earlier semester. The point is not to replicate the sample that has been provided, but simply for you to see the work that another student submitted and perhaps be inspired. Think (Values & Big Ideas, The Self in a Social World, Social Beliefs and Judgments, Behavior and Attitudes). – Choose 2 terms or concepts from chapters 1-4, first part of the course – Underline and define the terms or concepts – Identify the part(s) of the song that exemplify the term or concept. You will be sure to elaborate and link the terms if possible. Influence (Genes, Culture and Gender, Conformity and Obedience, Persuasion, Group Influence) – Choose 2 terms or concepts from chapters 5-8, second part of the course – Define the terms or concepts – Identify the part(s) of the song that exemplify the term or concept. You will be sure to elaborate and link the terms if possible. Relate (Prejudice: Disliking Others, Aggression: Hurting Others, Attraction and Intimacy: Liking and Loving Others, Ethnophaulisms for Ethnic Immigrants) – Choose 2 terms or concepts from chapters 9-11 and Ethnophaulisms for Ethnic Immigrants, third part of the course – Define the terms or concepts – Identify the part(s) of the song that exemplify the term or concept. You will be sure to elaborate and link the terms if possible. Conclusion In this section you will integrate the points you made earlier in the other sections and provide criticism of the material you reviewed. How are the issues that came up in think, or influence might have led to what you highlighted in Relate? You are not writing four short papers, but one paper assignment with four specific sections. If you find it difficult choosing a song, you may consider one of the following: Crooked Smile – J. Cole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKW5XRRDH00 If I Were Boy – Beyonce https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHxtBrkbWlY Man in Black – Johnny Cash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY8_vZXo8oY Cat’s In The Cradle – Harry Chapin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OqwKfgLaeA Imagine – John Lennon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNnFFKv_NyI
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Running Header: AGGRESSIVE SUE 1 Aggressive Sue: The Complex Interactions of Environment, Self, and Genes Youn Elev 06/27/2017 City College of New York AGGRESSIVE SUE 2 Aggressive Sue: The Complex Interactions of Environment, Self, and Genes Introduction “A Boy Named Sue” is a song written by Shel Silverstein and made famous by Johnny Cash. It is the story of a boy who grows up with the name Sue. His drunkard father left him and his mother and gave him the name Sue as a parting gift. Sue vows to have revenge and kill his father, but once finding his father is persuaded to believe that his father was good -hearted in naming him Sue and that it was Sue’s name that allowed Sue to become the strong adult he became. Sue chooses not to kill his father and instead embraces him, but Sue s wears not to name his own son Sue. This story is one of how the environment, Sue’s self -view, and possible genetic influences causes a young man to live an extremely isolated and aggressive life. Thinking Social influences shaped Sue’s behavior. The one parent home, the people who made fun of him, and his own personal thoughts about his name shaped him. The spotlight effect would have played a large part in the way that Sue developed his sense of place in the world. Accordi ng to Meyer (2013) the spotlight effect occurs when a person thinks that others are paying more attention to them than others actually are. Sue might have been overly conscious about his name and thought that more people were laughing at him or making fun of him than there actually were. Social comparison also shaped Sue’s self -schema . Social comparison occurs when a person compares themselves to others to assess their own abilities; self -schema is the mental image we have of ourselves (Meyers, 2013). Sue’s self -schema would have integrated his own name, how different it was to other people’s names, and the reactions of other people to him. His AGGRESSIVE SUE 3 self -esteem would have taken a blow as he slowly found himself as “less than” or different in a negative way from t he people around him. Sue also used situational attribution when he blamed his aggression on people’s giggles and his name. Situation attribution is part of the attribution theory which states that people will attribute other people’s behavior and their o wn positive actions to dispositions and their own negative behavior to the situation (Meyers, 2013). Sue didn’t seem to see anything wrong with his aggression towards other people and his father. He saw his aggression as a result of his father and the oth er people around him: in other words his situation. From this section, it is also important to note the self -serving bias that Sue’s father uses at the end of the poem to justify naming his son Sue. According to Meyers (2013) self -serving bias is the predi sposition of people to look at themselves in a good light. Sue’s dad wanted to see himself in a good light. When Sue’s father saw the suffering that he had put his son through, he saw the evidence clash with his desire to be a good person or father and exp erienced cognitive dissonance . Cognitive -dissonance occurs when a person doesn’t have enough external justification for their behavior that they have to create internal justification (Meyer, 2103). This self -justification comes into play and Sue’s father comes up with reasons why he has been a good father to Sue because of naming him Sue and ignores the fact that he left his wife and young son to drink and play cards in a saloon. Influencing Social norms , gender , and gender roles played a huge part in setting up the conflict for this song. Respectively, they are the customs in a particular group, the defined characteristics of a male or female, and the roles that each gender is “allowed” to play (Meyers, 2013). Sue is a AGGRESSIVE SUE 4 name tha t violates the social norms for naming male children. This is such a powerful violation of the norm that Sue experiences extreme internal pain in his social environment. Also, the way that Sue expresses himself is influenced by his gender. What if the tit le of the poem had been “A Girl Named John”? This poem might have been a very different story. The girl might have internalized her frustration. Instead of outward aggression which is not a norm for girls, she might have been very depressed and have taken out her feelings of aggression on herself. The way that Sue expresses his anger has a lot to do with the fact that it is also a social norm for boys to punch people as an expression of anger. Moreover, it is important to note the use of the central route to persuasion that Sue’s father employs at the end of the poem. The central route to persuasion occurs when the persuader makes arguments that are directed towards the cortex and cause one to explicitly think about one’s decisions (Meyers, 2013). Sue’s fat her rationally explains why Sue should be grateful to him. Sue is bought over by the persuasion which seems to say more about Sue than about his father. Relating This section probably relates the most clearly to the song. Aggression in all of its forms can be found in this song. Aggression is any behavior meant to inflict hurt on another person (Meyer, 2103). Frustration -aggression theory probably explains a large part of Sue’s aggression towards his peers and father. It states that when frustrated from g aining a desire, people are more likely to exhibit aggression (Meyer, 2013). Sue, like any human being, probably desired friendship at a young age and courtship in his teens. With a name that made him ostracized, these desires were constantly thwarted. Hav ing his desires frustrated, Sue was predisposed to AGGRESSIVE SUE 5 aggression. His aggression probably created a snowball effect which made his peers and possible mates to shun him more than they might have. Also, biological factors might have played a role in Sue’s aggr ession. His father was tough and a mean man, also his father was a wandering man. Sue ended up wandering and turned to physical aggression to solve his social problems. Sue’s genetics is another variable that predisposes Sue to aggression. Relative depriva tion is another influence in Sue’s psyche. According to Meyers (2013), relative deprivation is the gap one feels when they are constantly comparing themselves to the people around them. Sue probably compared himself to other boys his age from a very early age. Sue feeling the gap grow between himself and his peers in social status could have fueled his aggression. On a different note, anger towards his father might have been displaced when he found closer targets to take his anger out on. Displacement is w hen one expresses their aggression to readily available targets instead of the one that caused the frustration (Meyers, 2013). Hostile aggression and instrumental aggression are illustrated in Sue’s behavior. These are aggressions defined by wanting to inflict pain for the sake of the pain or for the sake of another purpose, respectively (Meyers, 2013). The heat of the moment attacks on his peers are hostile and the long -await ed attack on his father is an instrument of revenge for Sue’s name. Also, it is important to note that Sue’s need to belong contributed to his aggression towards his peers. It is the desire to positively bond and be a part of a community or group (Meyers, 2013). The need to belong is a very powerful force that when denied creates an environment for bad things to happen. Sue did not find a place to belong. AGGRESSIVE SUE 6 Conclusion Sue’s story is not a simple one. In an imaginary world where humans were not humans, Su e could have just walked away from the laughs and fights, but his environment, genes, and psyche predisposition him to become aggressive. To simply attribute Sue’s aggression to only one of these variables would not facilitate understanding the whole pictu re. Let’s back away from Sue’s story and look briefly at the life of the author, Shel Silverstein. In Shel Silverstein’s interview (1975) with Publisher’s Weekly he described how he had become an artist. The words themselves pointed to a person who saw himself inf luenced by his environment. He did not say that he was naturally inclined to be an artist or that he personally had loved art and pursued it. Instead, Shel talked about how he wasn’t good at sports and how girls didn’t like him, so he holed himself up in t he house and started to draw. Shel saw himself as a product of his environment. It seems that this world view seeps into the story of Sue. Shel seemed to innately understand the power of the environment, the choices people make, and the gifts (or not gifts in Sue’s case) that parents give. According to Thefamouspeople.com (2017), Shel grew up in such a way where he did not seem to fit in. As a child, he stayed at home, immersed himself in drawing, had a difficult relationship with his own father due to his love for drawing, and found himself not fitting in at the two colleges he eventually went to. He was a second -generation immigrant in America who grew up during the Great Depression (Thefamouspeople.com, 2017). In some ways, one could posit that Shel blame d his parents for immigrating, for him being ostracized, and for his “out -of-place -ness.” Maybe in some ways, Shel expressed this anger in the character “Sue.” Shel’s early environment that his parents directly contributed to, however, was also the source of Shel’s future passion and fame. I think it is interesting that at the very end of the song, Sue agrees with his father’s persuasions and comes AGGRESSIVE SUE 7 away with a different viewpoint. Shel might have felt that while he did not appreciate parts of his childhood, he was grateful for the way his parents had raised him. As a fun point, according to Meyers (2013), people like and associate themselves with people that share the same first letter of their name as them. The fact that “Sue” and “Shel” are both one syllab le and start with the letter “S” further points to the idea that Shel may have identified with Sue. In any case, Shel wrote a work that any Social psychologist could drool over. “A Boy Named Sue” is an excellent illustration of the principles of Social p sychology at work. Social psychology teaches us that we must look to the biological tendencies, the environment, and the psyche to get a full picture of what shapes people in social situations. Sue is a great illustration of how each of these can affect u s. Sue grew up in a one parent home with no father figure. He was also given a name that went against culture norms. He grew up as a male; social scripts and social norms dictated he was allowed to express his aggression in physical terms. One can imagine the humiliation that Sue experienced on the playground in elementary school or with the neighborhood children. He might have been genetically or biochemically predisposed to aggression. The presence of only one of these variables may not have been suffici ent to create an aggressive person; however, all of these variables interact and make it very likely that Sue would grow up as an aggressive person. It is important to note that it was not just the name itself that caused Sue suffering. Sue is quite a nor mal name compared to a name like “Woblygookie.” He might have been made fun of if his name was Woblygookie, but due to the conformity required by social norms the gender inappropriate name probably caused more damage. It illustrates how much importance hum ans put in names and the strict rules humans have for naming. According to Meyer (2013), in an experiment done, a man who chose not to conform to the group and stuck to the right answer AGGRESSIVE SUE 8 experienced severe physical discomfort including vomiting. This is jus t in an experiment that lasted a fraction of the time that Sue lived his life. Constantly being faced with an inability to conform to the social norms, would have given him pain, made him isolate himself and be actively isolated by his peers. This isolatio n would have affected his self -schema and self – esteem. One’s name is one’s very own personal label, and if people label one strangely then one is liable to face misfortune. Constant comparison with other people in his community probably brought about sever e self -consciousness in Sue which might have led to a strong spotlight effect. He might have felt that “everybody” was looking at him strangely or laughing at him. The psychological pain of being humiliated and the frustration of his attempts at real relat ionships and conversation contributed to him lashing out. The absence of a father figure and a possible biological predisposition towards aggression might have led Sue to lash out at the people who would giggle and laugh at him. Sue claims that he did not hate his father for leaving him and his mom, but one could argue that Sue displaced his anger for his father on the people that gave him a “good reason” to. He experienced hostile aggression frequently. In Sue’s mind, all of his pain is due to his father giving him his name. In possible self – serving bias, Sue seems not to take any responsibility for the people that he beat up. He blames it all on his father and his name. He also seems justified in beating people up. He probably needed to think that his agg ression was not his fault in an attempt to keep feeling good about himself. In the middle part of the song, Sue’s aggression shifts from hostile to instrumental aggression. Sue starts planning to kill his father as revenge for his name. When he finally d oes find him, it is interesting how the author sets the fight between father and son in mid -July. It would have been very hot. If they had met in the dead of winter would the father and son been AGGRESSIVE SUE 9 just as likely to fight? Somehow a passionate fight in the de ad of winter does not seem as appealing as in the middle of a hot sizzling summer. Social psychology research points us to the idea the heat encourages aggression (Meyers, 2103). The father -son relationship that unravels in the second half of the song is rather amazing. Sue fights his father and names him one of the toughest men he has fought. On top of that when it comes time for Sue shoot his father, Sue’s father starts persuadin g Sue to be grateful to him for his name. In a rather intelligent and silver -tongued argument, Sue’s father states that it was because of the name that Sue got tough and that the father gave him that name on purpose in order to make him the strong man that he had become. Persuaded by a definite central route of persuasion, Sue hugs his father and comes away not hating his father. However, Sue refuses to call his own child by that name. It seems that while Sue’s father might have been well – intentioned, Sue d id not want to cause as much pain to his own child. Why did Sue hug his father at the end of the song? Didn’t his father cause enough pain in Sue’s life? There are a couple of possible factors that play into this moment. One could be the need to belong. S ue has never had a place to call his own, or a person who accepts him name, aggression, and all. Sue’s father was the first person to give him all of that. On a different note, Sue also might have unconsciously saw how he was like his father. He had grown into a man like his father, and since one wants to love oneself, it might have helped the reconciliation. Also, accepting his father’s arguments of how the name Sue was a good thing would have helped Sue reshape his painful childhood as one that had a purp ose. Sue would have been able to reshape his memories in such a way where he could be grateful for his childhood pain. People want to see themselves as well -off or good, and if Sue found that he liked himself better giving purpose to AGGRESSIVE SUE 10 his childhood he would have been more inclined to accept the argument even if it did come from his father. In this song, Shel Silverstein pokes fun at the gender norms for names and points out how important it is to people to conform to their environments. Shel Silverstein tol d a story of a minority boy, of sticking out, of being ostracized, and blaming one’s parents and environment. It is also a story of possible selves. Sue ended up grateful he had grown up tough and wanted to continue to be that way, but he did not want to b e the same father that his father was to him. This was a brilliant story of the interactions of genes, environment, and the way one looks at themselves. AGGRESSIVE SUE 11 A B OY N AMED S UE JOHNNY CASH Well my daddy left home when I was three And he didn’t leave much to Ma a nd me Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze Now, I don’t blame him ’cause he run and hid But the meanest thing that he ever did Was before he left, he went and named me “Sue” Well, he must o’ thought that is quite a joke And it got a lot of la ughs from a’ lots of folk It seems I had to fight my whole life through Some gal would giggle and I’d get red And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named “Sue” Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean My fist got hard and my wits got keen Roam from town to town to hide my shame But I made me a vow to the moon and stars I’d search the honky -tonks and bars And kill that man who gave me that awful name Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid -July And I just hit town and my throat was dry I thought I’d stop and have myself a brew At an old saloon on a street of mud There at a table, dealing stud Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me “Sue” Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad From a worn -out picture that my mother’d had And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye He was big and bent and gray and old And I looked at him and my blood ran cold And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ How do you do!? Now you gonna die!” Yeah that’s what I told ’em AGGRESSIVE SUE 12 Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes And he went down, but to my surprise He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear But I busted a chair right across his teeth And we crashed through the wall and into the street Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men But I really can’t remember when He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss He went for his gun and I pulled mine first He stood there lookin’ at me and I saw him smile And he said, “Son, this world is rough And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough And I know I wouldn’t be there to help ya along So I give ya that name and I said goodbye I knew you’d ha ve to get tough or die And it’s the name that helped to make you strong” Yeah he said, “Now you just fought one hell of a fight And I know you hate me, and you got the right To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do But ya ought to thank me, befor e I die For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye ‘Cause I’m the son -of-a-bitch that named you “Sue” Yeah what could I do, what could I do I got all choked up and I threw down my gun Called him my Pa, and he called me his son And I come away with a different point of view And I think about him, now and then Every time I try and every time I win And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him Bill or George! Anything but S ue! I still hate that name! Yeah AGGRESSIVE SUE 13 Reference Editors For Famouspeople.com . (2017, June 14). Shel Silverstein Biography. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/shel -silverstein -129.php Mercier, J. F. (1975, February 24). Shel Silverstein: An Interview by Publisher’s Weekly. Retriev ed June 27, 2017, from http://shelsilverstein.tripod.com/ShelPW.html Myers, D. G. (2013). Social psychology (11th ed.). New York (NY): McGraw -Hill. Silverstein , S. (n.d.). Johnny Cash Lyrics. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyr ics/johnnycash/aboynamedsue.htm

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