Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
The Lion Seeker
"Here is the South African novel I've been waiting for." - Lynn Freed
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

Created: 08/24/14

Replies: 13

Posted Aug. 24, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

Gitelle preaches hard work, yet she attempts to help Isaac develop schemes to make money. Is this contrary to her base philosophy? Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?


Posted Sep. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 138

Expert

No

Gitelle is a twisted personality. She has gone through horrors in her life and she is left with scars inside and outside. She is driven to be something she is not. She drives her son to fulfill her dreams. It is amazing that he did not become a criminal of greater degree because she certainly did not give him good moral lessons as he grew up. Only the influence of his father and his realization of his father's truths keeps him from a life of total degradation. And her treatment of Isaac did not serve her well. She never realized her dream and lost him in the process.


Posted Sep. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 30

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

It depends on how just the laws and social mores are in the society you live in. If I was a female born in a country such a Iran, I would feel justified in doing what it took to advance my place in society for myself due to how unfairly women are treated. In the case of Gitelle, she may feel that her family was so victimized by very unjust Nazi laws, that she felt justified in doing what was necessary to advance her family's position in society.


Posted Sep. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 142

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

No!!!!!!


Posted Sep. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 99

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

No, it is not. Elise does make a good point, but the question wasn't framed with any exceptions noted. Just the plain question asked is - is it right or wrong. To that, I agree with those who have said a firm no, but then if one changes the question to add exceptions, there is some wiggle room for doubt. My, these discussions do set our minds to working, do they not! And I like that.


Posted Sep. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
irisf

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 97

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

No. Moral codes in a just society are not subject to be nullified to satisfy the desires of the individual or to excuse immoral behavior.


Posted Sep. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 158

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

No. HOWEVER, when law and social mores have forsaken you at every turn in your life, I think it is understandable you scratch and claw through every obstacle to save yourself and your family.


Posted Sep. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

Irisf - I agree with your statement. Well said.


"No. Moral codes in a just society are not subject to be nullified to satisfy the desires of the individual or to excuse immoral behavior."


Posted Sep. 08, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pauj's Gravatar
pauj

Join Date: 04/26/14

Posts: 30

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

Hmmm...I think for the most part, I agree with Irisf as well, that it is not okay. But there are laws and mores that are unjust, so sometimes they need to be a bit flexible. But not to "advance one's place in society", but rather to "have a good heart and to do with goodness", to paraphrase a previous topic.


Paula J
Posted Sep. 10, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

I guess another way to phrase the question is "Is it okay to use others as stepping stones as one progresses up the ladder of success"? Where do we end up if there is no moral compass? I say that abandoning law and social mores leads to no real free society in which man can truly survive.


Posted Sep. 10, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 75

Expert

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

It is definitely okay if the laws are biased, racist, gender discrimination, etc.
How else do you change the unjust morals of a culture? Joycew


Posted Sep. 16, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
viquig

Join Date: 06/25/14

Posts: 15

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

Personally, I don't believe it is OK to circumvent the law if the laws are just and the social mores are fair. However, in this novel, Issac would have been "a Stupid" if he had just followed the rules. He lied to and stole from his mother and many others to get ahead and become successful. Life is always more complicated and this novel is brilliant at revealing that simple answers are often not possible or reasonable.


Posted Sep. 16, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marciem

Join Date: 07/17/14

Posts: 5

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

No, I don't think that it okay to circumvent the law. Rules and Laws are made so that there is order to society. However, there are times when people like Isaac might consider that if he follows all of the rules and still struggles then why not circumvent the law.


Posted Sep. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
roberts

Join Date: 08/20/13

Posts: 31

RE: Is it okay to circumvent the law and social mores to advance one's place in society?

I concur with viquid and would suggest that the question is not amenable to a simple "yes" or "no". In a just and fair society that promotes equality and minority rights the absence of an accepted code of law and social mores leads to a breakdown of the social order and chaos. But in, for example, Jim Crow America and
Nazi Europe, the law and social mores were rotten to the core, and those who rose up in protest, not for their own selfish benefit, but for the benefit of their community, deserve, within limits, credit. There is a distinction, however, between nonviolent protest and violent protest which is for another discussion.

The character (other than Meyer) for whom I had the greatest dislike was Hugo who, with his Miracle Glow fraud, most clearly was guilty of lying and cheating only for his own self-advancement. His conduct was wrong without qualification.

As for Davina's first question I did not find a contradiction between Gitelle's admonition to Isaac to work hard and her incessant scheming with Isaac to develop profitable enterprises. Gitelle would note that a Clever would work hard at an enterprise that would make him wealthy, while a Stupid would work hard at an enterprise that would produce only a modest income.


Reply

Please login to post a response.