The Role Of Friendship In Nel And Sula’s Lives Free Essay

Introduction

The theme of friendship is central to Toni Morrison’s novel Sula. The writer exposes two sides of such a relationship – uplifting and supportive on the one hand and complicated and painful on the other. As girls, Sula and Nel structure their own rules and outline the size of their friendship; along, they are simply outside what the community perceives as acceptable behavior. Indeed, Nel and Sula develop a strong sisterhood in their childhood that allows them a powerful friendship, and this relationship gives them the opportunity to grow as if they find in each other a complimentary self. However, Nel and Sula build a rare form of bonding that allows them to grow and develop identities because they love each other with uncritical acceptance and shared curiosity of adolescent adoration.

Main body

The characters of Sula and Nel are a confirmation of a theory that opposites attract. Two girls with entirely different personalities intrigue and complement each other in the unhealthiest way. Sula and Nel make up a perfect bond that combines good and evil, which opens their eyes to certain life secrets and ideas that consequently make their friendship stronger. The companionship that formed in childhood helped Nel and Sula conquer life grievances and learn from them together, which made their bond stronger every time: “they themselves had difficulty distinguishing one’s thoughts from the others” (Morrison 83). Therefore, for both girls, friendship meant more than meaningless talks and fun sleepovers; it was the most precious thing they had in their lives.

Upbringing in two completely different households made an immense impact on the formation of the personality of each girl. Nel was raised by her mother, who intended to drive “her daughter’s imagination underground” (Morrison 22), as well as to be amicable and obedient. She was well behaved and could never go against her mother’s guidance. On the contrary, Sula grew up in an environment contrasting with her friend’s. A constant chaotic household, where everything is always loud and messy, has put a mark on the establishment of Sula’s character in adolescence. Moreover, the women she was upbrought by were tough, strong-willed, and overemotional. Such contrast in two households creates a shared fascination with each other’s homes. Such a finding illustrates how well the two girls balance one another and have a good influence by completing the perceptions and views that are formed at home that make the bond so crucial to both of them.

Morrison’s hidden message that reveals the role of life-long friendships in identity formation is lying on the surface. Following an example of Nel and Sula’s friendship, it is clear how the girls impacted each other throughout their friendship and how their personalities were developing based on their relationship. In adolescence, the bond was a blessing that allowed Nel and Sula to console the grievances and build their own identities: “They found relief in each other’s personality” (Morrison 55). The companionship formed in the early years allows Nel and Sula to explore womanhood together, deal with challenges and comfort each other. Therefore, life-long loyalties teach a person about commitment and essential life values, which later reflect on future personal relations.

Nel and Sula’s friendship has also helped young women get through injustice and fight against racism, discrimination, and inequality. In such a form, Morrison reflected on her own hardships with the tyranny in the world at the time. Numerous articles of the 1920s era openly ridiculed women’s urge for independence, stating that “in gaining their ‘rights’ women had given up their ‘privileges” (Boykin 18). Through the prism of friendship between African American girls, the writer demonstrates the unity of her culture and creates vivid images of strong women. Toni Morrison can be compared to an American novelist Gertrude Stein, as they were similarly described as “strong [women], capable of adventures but also of helping and healing, devoted to the community and to a communal effort” (Curnutt 76). A robust civil position, life experience, and personal beliefs were integrated into a novel, which explores the role of life-long companionship in women’s lives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Sula is a complex novel that raises not only social topics like discrimination and patriarchy but also reflects them in the friendship of Nel and Sula. Throughout the book, a reader can observe the girls’ development into women. Nel and Sula fit in with each other in a way that they become inseparable. Such polar personalities of good and evil, at first sight, reveal how two completely opposite characters can perfectly complement and learn from one another.

Works Cited

Boykin, Mallory. “More Than Beautiful Little Fools: Fitzgerald’s Daisy, Cather’s Rosamond, and Postwar Images of American Women.” Willa Cather Newsletter & Review, vol. 58, no. 1, 2015, pp. 17–23.

Curnutt, Kirk. “The Battle over the Battlefield: Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and How They Saw the War They Saw.” Critical Insights: LGBTQ Literature, edited by Robert C. Evans, Salem Press, 2015, pp. 74–91.

Morrison, Toni. Sula. 1973. Vintage, 1998.

Parents, Children, And Guns

Raising children is hard work, requiring parents to be able to protect children, instill the right values, and make them law-abiding citizens. Parents who have not succeeded in this and whose children commit a crime may be criminally responsible according to some states’ laws. Parents’ criminal liability includes the use of guns by children. While the child should not have any access to the parents’ weapons, several options could be considered in which adults should not be guilty.

The desire for greater security and the ability to protect families sometimes lead to the purchase of weapons. Thus, about a third of American homes have weapons, and slightly more than four and a half million children live in a house with guns (Hassan, 2018). Laws on the possession of firearms and parents’ responsibility for possible access to them by children differ in states. However, I believe that if parents decide to store such a dangerous item in the house, they should be responsible for this. Moreover, they are obliged to warn their children about the consequences of its use and tell the necessary safety rules.

Depending on the age and temper, the purpose and method of obtaining weapons by children may differ. Young children are more likely to find it and hurt another by accident due to their parents’ careless behavior. Adolescents behave more consciously and can specifically look for weapons, and their ability to injure someone can be not just an accident but depends on particular inclinations and education.

Thus, I believe that the possibility of parents’ criminal liability depends on the circumstances of the use of weapons by children. On the one hand, if such a situation accidentally occurred for children, and due to the parents’ irresponsibility, they should be punished accordingly. On the other hand, some teenagers may fall under the influence of people outside the family or be socially dangerous and deliberately seek a gun. In this case, the incident requires an assessment of all circumstances to determine the parents’ degree of responsibility.

Reference

Hassan, A. (2018). Can parents be charged for failing to keep their guns locked up? The New York Times. Web.

Brand Management: Nike Case Study

Introduction

In general, brand management describes marketing, advertising, overall placement, distribution, and design of the company’s products and services that substantively contribute to the development of the brand’s personality. However, this term is also related to the perception and perceived values created by a company and its relationship with consumers. This paper includes the evaluation of Nike, an outstanding sports apparel and footwear corporation, and its response to the customers’ behavior affected by a global trend of climate change.

Evaluation of Nike

Brand History

Since the company’s foundation, Nike, Inc. has focused on discoveries and innovations in its sphere in order to provide products of high quality to athletes all over the world. It was founded in 1964 by Phil Knight, the track athlete of the University of Oregon, and Bill Bowerman, his coach (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016). Originally, the company was called Blue Ribbon Sports, and it operated as a distributor for Onitsuka Tiger, a Japanese shoemaker (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016). After the opening of its first retail store in California in 1966, Knight and Bowerman expanded their business in various regions across the United States (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016). In 1971, Blue Ribbon Sports became an independent company with a new name and its own logo, Swoosh, that imitated the goddess’s wing, and released its own footwear line (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016). Eventually, Nike took the leading position in the country’s athletic market through multiple marketing communication ways that contributed to the customers’ awareness about products.

Current Positions

In the present day, Nike, Inc. is a multinational corporation with a wide arrangement of products that are available across the globe. Over the past several years, it has increased its revenue from 16$ billion to 24$ million, with 19% of the footwear market share (Forbes, n.d.). It is currently based in Beaverton, Oregon, and includes such brands as Nike, Jordan, and Converse (About Nike, n.d.). The company defines its principal business activity as “the design, development and worldwide marketing and selling of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services” (NIKE, Inc., 2018, p. 55). Nike, Inc. distributes its products through corporation-owned retail stores, digital platforms, and a substantial number of independent licensees, sales representatives, and distributors in the majority of countries all over the world. Virtually all apparel, equipment, and footwear of Nike, Inc. are produced by independent contractors both in the territory and outside the United States.

There are six main categories of products – NIKE Basketball, Running, the Jordan Brand, Training, Football, and Sportswear (NIKE, Inc., 2018). The company additionally markets footwear and sports clothes that are designed for children.

Nike, Inc. releases multiple products for recreational and athletic uses such as baseball, cricket, American football, tennis, lacrosse, volleyball, wrestling, walking, skateboarding, and other outdoor activities. Moreover, it sells a specific line of accessories and equipment that includes sports balls, bags, bats, gloves, socks, eyewear, digital devices, protective equipment, and timepieces (NIKE, Inc., 2018). In general, the company aims to expand its positions in the market and the relevance of its brand through innovative development techniques. In addition, Nike has obtained “a strong name or title in the market of running basketball and football categories in North America and central and Eastern Europe” (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016, p. 3). Moreover, it works in cooperation with world-class partners in order to expand opportunities for children, adolescents, young adults, retired athletes, and their communities. The company’s strategy implies constant development and market exploration for retail effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

Company’s Mission and Heritage

The company defines its goal as the unconceivable motivation, passion for sport and innovations, and enthusiasm to do all possible things in order to expand the potential of every person. The official statement of Nike’s mission sounds “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete” (About Nike, n.d., para. 1). According to the company’s statement, the world of athletes is united “in the joy of movement,” and the inspirational power of sport helps to overcome differences and breaks down barriers worldwide (Nike Careers, n.d., para. 1). Nike, Inc. believes that its team diversity serves every customer individually, accelerates innovation, and supports creativity. The company focuses on inclusion and diversity throughout its business and corporate culture to empower its employees “to realize their full potential and create breakthrough innovations for athletes” (Nike Careers, n.d., para. 4). In addition, Nike, Inc. embraces different perspectives of its high-performing team as every member may bring unique ideas and experiences.

Throughout its history, the company aimed to create groundbreaking sport innovations, increase the sustainability of its products, build a diverse and creative global team, and positively influence living and working communities all over the world. It pursues to continue its legacy of exceptional quality and innovative thinking to develop various products for athletes “of every level of ability” to reach their potential (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016, p. 4). Nike, Inc. aims to provide access to sport for every child and adult. In addition, the corporation creates business opportunities for Nike to avoid competition and provide the brand’s value for its shareholders.

Brand Perception by Consumers

Nike may be currently characterized by-products that are well-known all over the world, effective advertisement campaigns, and positive views shared between consumers, their families, and friends. After purchasing the brand’s footwear, equipment, apparel, or accessories, customers experience their quality and remain satisfied (Ahmed, Abbas, and Brohi, 2016). Moreover, the athletes’ commitment to the brand may be explained by the corporation’s focus on inclusive culture. This aspect implies equal opportunities for all adults and children, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and location. In addition, Nike attracts consumers who pay particular attention to the sustainability of manufacturing and products as the company uses innovative materials, such as recycled leather fiber, to avoid a negative impact on the ecology. That is why the majority of customers feel that they got comfortable, environmentally friendly, and good-looking products.

Climate Change as a Global Trend

Climate Challenging

In the present day, climate change may be regarded as one of the most essential global trends that will retain its relevance and significance in the foreseeable future. In general, climate reversal and global warming refer to the change of weather patterns due to the increase in average global temperatures. Not only natural events but human activities, such as the emission of greenhouse gases and fossil fuel use, substantively contribute to potentially catastrophic outcomes for the planet’s climate. People are highly responsible for water and soil contamination, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the greenhouse effect that cause the melting of Arctic and Antarctic glaciers and the rise of sea levels.

Climate change dramatically influences ecological networks, ecosystems, wildlife, human populations, communities, and individuals all over the world as well. Extreme weather events cause floods, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, sandstorms, and other natural disasters. The planet’s ecosystems suffer from freshwater scarcity, massive deforestation, desertification, the extinction of endangered animal species, and the decrease of genetic diversity. Climate change has a highly negative impact on people’s ability to produce physically necessary products and food. Floods and droughts are traditionally regarded as the main causes of havoc with crops that substantively affect food prices. In addition, due to climate change and erratic weather patterns, people may suffer from various infectious diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, hepatitis, and bacteria diarrhea.

Impact of Climate Change on Companies and Customer Behavior

It goes without saying that global trends substantively influence people’s behavior, especially in the sphere of consumption and service. According to researchers, the “consideration of indirect environmental problems – like climate change, or excess use of resources – leads to a sense of powerlessness” and negative attitude towards authorities responsible for antipollution measures (Umpfenbach, 2014, p. 6). However, the motivation to improve or protect the environment is not defined as the key motivation for individual pro-environment behavior. The majority of people who consider particular issues related to climate change are frequently motivated by a sense of justice or their desire to avoid waste, promote health, save money, and perform appropriately in front of others (Umpfenbach, 2014). Sociologists explain the fundamental driving factors of behavioral changes by the people’s essential intentions or needs, such as protection, affection, subsistence, understanding, creation, participation, identity, leisure, and freedom.

Meanwhile, the belief that insufficient pro-environmental steps, such as turning out lights or the separation of waste, may have a highly positive impact on substantial pro-environmental behavior is empirically unsupported. According to recent studies, there are “no correlations between a person undertaking a green behavior and undertaking another, or correlations were very weak” (Umpfenbach, 2014, p. 6). However, costumers are crucially influenced by social norms and other people, and the impact of particular information may be increased by social pressure, for instance, by the sales assistants’ persuasion. In addition, the refusal to act like peers may be highly stressful for a prevalent number of consumers, and all forms of marketing, such as promotion, advertising, product placement, and packaging, have a substantial influence on people’s behavior and form social norms. In general, due to climate change caused by human activities, customers started to consider the product’s materials and the sustainability of manufacturing.

Nike’s Response to Climate Change

The area of sport has experienced the negative impact of climate change as well. The negative consequences of erratic weather patterns include the increasing number of hydration stops during competitive races and the canceling of a substantial number of events due to wildfires and heat warnings (Kinder, n.d.). It goes without saying that Nike, Inc. understands the significance of the company’s contribution to the planet’s preservation. According to Noel Kinder (n.d.), Chief Sustainability Officer, the corporation is determined to take climate actions “the only way Nike knows how – with an athlete’s mindset of adaptability, persistence, relentlessness, and determination” (para. 7). The company’s concept that focuses on the sustainability of products and manufacturing to satisfy consumers and minimize climate change includes the following activities:

  • By 2025, Nike has a mission to power its owned facilities with totally renewable energy;
  • By 2030, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 30% (Kinder, n.d.);
  • Nike has elaborated the guide Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design, which implies workbook share principles of design and manufacturing in the industry of sports apparel and footwear;
  • The company has launched several programs that were created for the conversion of waste into playgrounds, courts, running tracks, and new products (Kinder, n.d.);
  • Nike diverts one million plastic bottles annually from landfills to recycle them and produce materials for the brand’s Flyknit shoes and jerseys (Kinder, n.d.);
  • The company diverts from landfills almost 100% of its footwear manufacturing waste.

As the change of customer behaviors due to climate challenges is predominantly characterized by people’s particular attention to sustainability and recycling, Nike, Inc. has an appropriate response. For instance, the corporation has launched Nike Grind which implies “a collection of recycled materials originating from Nike manufacturing scrap, unsellable products, and worn-out sneakers” (25 years of Nike Grind, n.d., para. 9). Used materials are collected in order to be processed and used by Nike and its partners who share the company’s vision concerning sustainability and zero waste. Leather, textile, scraps of rubber, plastic, and foam left after Nike’s manufacturing are collected from all factories across the globe to be regenerated into innovative premium materials.

Conclusion

In the present day, Nike, Inc. is a multinational corporation with a wide arrangement of products, brand heritage, well-defined missions, effective advertisement campaigns, and positive views shared between consumers, their families, and friends. The company defines its goal as the unconceivable motivation, passion for sport and innovations, and enthusiasm to do all possible things in order to expand the potential of every person. It goes without saying that global trends substantively influence people’s behavior, especially in the sphere of consumption and service. In general, due to climate change caused by human activities, customers started to consider the product’s materials and the sustainability of manufacturing. As a response, Nike focuses on the sustainability of products and manufacturing to satisfy consumers and minimize the environmental crisis.

Reference List

25 years of Nike Grind (no date).

About Nike (no date).

Ahmed, R.R., Abbas Z. and Brohi, H. (2016) ‘Strategic marketing plan of Nike’, Technical Report, pp. 1-28. Web.

Forbes (no date) ‘Forbes fab 40: the most valuable brands in sports. 1. Nike’.

Kinder, N. (no date) Changing the conversation on climate change. Web.

Nike Careers (no date). Web.

NIKE, Inc. (2018) Annual report and notice of annual meeting. (Form 10-K). Washington D.C.: United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Umpfenbach, K. (2014) Influences on consumer behaviour: policy implications beyond nudging. Berlin: European Commission.

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