November 14, 2012
Don’t Give Up
On November 13th I attended the screening of the movie The Line. This film that lasted forty minutes introduced four members that lived in various regions that lived below the poverty. In order to be a considered member of society living under this poverty line, the family has to make at least $23,000 dollars living with a family of four. There are 46 million Americans that live below this line. This poverty line makes it hard for Americans to live the American dream. Poverty is a challenging struggle. Living in American while below this poverty line, there are two options: survival or death. The families enduring these strenuous living conditions have limited options. The people struggling meet the end of the road when they have nowhere else to turn. Each of the four members presented in this documentary relied on the Food Bank. Just as these people needed help so did Shane, in the novel written by Jack Schaefer. The Starrett family is Shane’s food bank. They provide him with meals and a place to stay, and initially change him for the better just how the food bank alters the poverty-stricken lives.
The first person that was introduced to us while watching this documentary was John. John is single dad and has three kids: a daughter who is seventeen and two boys who are eleven and fourteen. His wife filed for divorce as the stress became increasingly detrimental to the family. She could not take that life style anymore and decided to just walk away from it. John struggles to make a living as a substitute teacher. He makes about $85-$100 when he is needed to work, just after his benefits had run out. This spastic work life is not beneficial. John described his life, “a constant throbbing that never goes away.” This throbbing could also be related to Shane. Shane’s past could be that constant throbbing. In order to eliminate this “constant throbbing” the person facing it must realize that they need someone else’s help to overcome it. John resorted to the food bank as his outlet to live, just as Shane stayed at the Starrett’s farm until he was ready to leave on his own. Just as Shane cannot win the fight with Chris without Joe’s help in Chapter 8 and 9, either can the impoverished. All of these people all need the help of other individuals in order to accomplish what they want.
In the novel, Shane shows extensive love for the family. He risks his life in order to protect them. The love that Shane shows the family is returned to him in different ways. Marian states “we have roots here now that we can never tear loose.” Shane is apart of the family and can never be removed, even if he is not actually present. This extensive love was also shown through the accounts of John in the documentary as well. As he is working, struggling to make ends meet, he is not with his kids most of the time. Between juggling food stamps, the food bank, and his jobs, he has a tough life. Although John might not always be present with his kids, the love is shown as he goes through each day thinking of his kids.
After the hard life of John was shown, the life of Sheila was presented next. Sheila lives in Chicago, IL. Her sister was shot and killed on the street and “the sound of that gun shot still rings.” Thinking that she could take care of her child on her own after her husband divorced her, some factors fell short and she could not do this by herself. She was put on disability and had to fend for herself, even though she not making progress. This relates to how Shane had tried to cover up his past and help himself. He tries to cover up his past through his actions and by trying to prove himself worthy to the family. Just like in the documentary, Sheila wants to prove herself to her son and her family that she can do it. In chapter 12 of the novel, when Fletcher references to Marian, Joe wants to fight Fletcher. Shane, on the other hand exclaims, “Don’t Joe!” (page 123) This quote proves to us that Shane has changed just as the impoverished have when they change their ways as well. One of the people shown in the documentary stated, “you try to fight to beat this, but you just can’t.” This attitude is mutual between Shane and all four characters in the documentary.