2019-10-09 15:22:00来源:网络


  “In order to understand a society, we must examine the contents of its museums and the subjects of its memorials. What a society chooses to preserve, display, and commemorate is the truest indicator of what the society values.”

  Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

  The speaker alleges that understanding a society requires examining its memorials and museums, since their subject matter and contents are the truest indicators of what a society values. I agree that we can learn a great deal about a society through its museums and memorials. However, these may not be the “truest” indicators of social values. To discover other values that shape a society, we also need to examine it popular forms of expression.

  Museums and memorials offer important evidence of what a society holds dear. For instance, early war memorials symbolize abstract virtues such as courage and honor, as well as combat victory. Later memorials honoring the fallen in Vietnam tend to emphasize individual sacrifice that will present its history in ways that underscore its hardships, achievements and ideals. When museums present evidence of a social failing, such as racism, the intent is to stress a cherished ideal, such as equality, that has been violated.

  However, museums and memorials reflect a society’s official values, not necessarily its most pervasive or influential ones. To discover the common values that significantly affect daily life, we must explore a society’s popular media, its forms of entertainment and its advertising. From the media we learn about people’s interests and viewpoints. Looking at popular entertainment tells us whether people enjoy representations of sex and violence, or stories of courage and valor. And advertising appeals to basic material values; it shows us what individuals are willing to buy, and why. In examining these popular forms of expression, we can see that the everyday preferences and values that shape a society are frequently at odds with its official ideals.

  In conclusion, to develop a complete picture of what a society is like, we need to understand its officially sanctioned values as well as its popular ones. For this reason, it is important to examine popular forms of expression, as well as the content of a society’s museums or the subjects of its memorials.


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