Topic: SociologyPoverty

Last updated: April 8, 2019

Texts are avenues that help their audience acquire a new understanding of social and environmental issues. This is shown in Andrew Stanton’s 2008 film Wall-E, which explores the ideas of corporations abusing economic power and the environmental consequences they lead to, through the protagonist being an artificial intelligence. Simultaneously, Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel Trash looks into how the people are affected when political figures abuse their status. Trash portrays these idea through the protagonists being a group of underprivileged children.

Stanton shows his belief that corporations have too much power in contemporary society. An idea represented is that corporations are grooming children to accept them so that they gain more power. In the movie Wall-E, babies are shown learning the alphabet under the BnL logo without their parents. This education embeds positive opinions in children at an impressionable age. The idea of power in corporations is dependant in the laziness of people is shown when the captain refers notes from BnL and follows their instructions. The captain does not think or question these instructions and has released responsibility to the corporation that wrote the instructions. One more idea is that corporations are influential in modern society. This is shown when the passengers aboard the Axiom change their colour palette from red to blue without thinking about their own personal preference. This shows how the corporation’s decisions are standard in society.

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Stanton presents that the idea that the acts of humans has negative impacts on the environment. The idea of the natural environment being damaged by the acts of influential corporations by the character of Wall-E having to clean up earth. This shows that BnL will not slow their company’s progression by cleaning earth, instead leaving it to one day be cleaned and leaving it in a ruined state. The connection between modern living and waste it creates. This is shown when Wall-E is shown compressing mountains of garbage. These mountains resemble skyscrapers. Another idea represented is that trash is continually produced and is accepted as a normality. Wall-E is shown as small compared to the mountains of trash that remain on earth. This demonstrates that there will be a point where more trash than we can handle is produced so it becomes a part of our everyday lives.

Mulligan shows his idea that society is separated by inequity. In the book, Raphael has to sort through trash and “stuppa”, their colloquial word for human waste, every day just to survive. His introduction to the readers is “I am a dumpsite boy”, showing that his poverty and living conditions define him as an individual in society.


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