The Imapct of Culture on Human Nature

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The Impact of Culture on Human Nature ------------------------------------------------- According to renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, “When people appear to do something other than good and decent, it is only because they are reacting to stress, pain, or the deprivation of basic human needs such as security, love, and self-esteem… it does not come from some inherently evil tendency of human nature, but only as a reaction to the circumstances of one’s own particular corner of the human situation.”(Maslow) With this theory in mind, what role does culture then play in a person’s actions? In the House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III tells the story of three very culturally different people whose lives cross paths – a police officer, a former drug addict, and an Iranian immigrant. By examining the culture from which they’re from, we can see what pressures were placed on their intrinsic nature that caused their behavior to go to the extreme. ------------------------------------------------- Let’s begin by taking a look at Deputy Lester Burdon. Lester is a “”typical” suburban man living the “typical” American life. He’s married, has two kids, and a good career. The only problem is that he lives in the United States where individuality and masculinity play a large role in culture. (Hofstede) Although varying degrees of the impact of these can be found, Lester is definitely at the more extreme end. As an individualistic person, he cares about himself, and his immediate family. This ironically causes a conflict of interest within him. He has stayed with his wife and chosen his career path (a police officer) because it is best for his family, and, having been abandoned by his own father, he explains to his new love Kathy “I swore I’d never do that to my own…” (Dubus 140) Staying together for the children used to be a very common excuse given regarding

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