In a warm and touching poem, e.e. cummings describes the wonder and excitement of a young brother and sister who find a little tree on a city sidewalk and carry it home, where they adorn it with Christmas finery.
It's December, and Flora and Ruby's first Christmas in Camden Falls is getting close.
Clearly a literary great, Charles Dickens gave his gifts to the world many years ago with his classic tales. Enjoy Dickens' imagination as you read one of his classic short stories, "A Christmas Tree."
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - The tale begins on a "cold, bleak, biting" Christmas Eve in London, exactly seven years after the death of Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge, an old miser, is established within the first stave as "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!" He hates Christmas, calling it "humbug"; he refuses his nephew Fred's Christmas dinner invitation, and he sarcastically turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the poor and needy. His only "Christmas gift" is allowing his overworked, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay - which he does only to keep with social custom, Scrooge considering it "a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every 25th of December!" At home that night, Scrooge is visited by Marley's ghost, who is forever cursed to wander the earth dragging a network of heavy chains, forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Dickens describes the apparition thus: "Marley's face ... had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar." Marley has a bandage under his chin, tied at the top of his head; ..". how much greater was his horror, when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast!"
Gangs have been heavily pathologized in the last several decades. In comparison to the pioneering Chicago School's work on gangs in the 1920s we have moved away from a humanistic appraisal of and sensitivity toward the phenomenon and have allowed the gang to become a highly plastic folk devil outside of history. This pathologization of the gang has particularly negative consequences for democracy in an age of punishment, cruelty and coercive social control.
This is the central thesis of David Brotherton's new and highly contentious book on street gangs. Drawing on a wealth of highly acclaimed original research, Brotherton explores the socially layered practices of street gangs, including community movements, cultural projects and sites of social resistance. The book also critically reviews gang theory and the geographical trajectories of streets gangs from New York and Puerto Rico to Europe, the Caribbean and South America, as well as state-sponsored reactions and the enabling role of orthodox criminology.
In opposition to the dominant gang discourses, Brotherton proposes the development of a critical studies approach to gangs and concludes by making a plea for researchers to engage the gang reflexively, paying attention to the contradictory agency of the gang and what gang members actually tell us. The book is essential reading for academics and students involved in the study of juvenile delinquency, youth studies, deviance, gang studies and cultural criminology.
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