Katie Connolly For: Mrs. Hunter A 1 English Comparison Essay - the Differences and Similarities between Amish and North American Society We can compare Amish society as seen in the movie Witness to North American society to decide which is more ideal. An ideal society is one where there is a strong sense of community among all the members. Education prepares children for life; therefore the type of education a child receives will change the society in the next generation. Although education is valued in both societies, its focus is much different. The Laws of a society reflect the values of a community, and it shows what they consider to be right and wrong.
Each society has laws that reflect its values; however the way the laws are expressed is much different. Family life in a society is important, because families bring the community together. Though children are valued in both the societies, family life is different between the two when comparing the roles of the husband and the wife. The Amish lifestyle is more ideal because there is a better sense of community within the society. Education in both societies is recognized as important. We see this in both societies because of the mandatory education laws.
However, the focus of the education in each society is different. In North American society the focus of education is quite broad; to graduate high school a person must have language, physical education, science, english and arts credits. Also, it is mandatory to attend school until grade 10. In Amish society however, school is only required up to grade 8. The education is much more focused on the practical side of things. For boys, it is important to learn how to work on the farm, not paint pictures.
This is also why they are let out of school earlier; so that at the age that they are strong enough to work on the farm, they are free to do so. Thus Amish lifestyle is more ideal, because their education prepares the children for what they will do later in life. The laws of each society show the values of that society. In North America the laws show that their society values equality, as there are many laws about the treatment of different cultures and races. In the Amish society, the law that doesn't permit them to wear buttons reflects their value of not being vain, and the rule about not listening to music shows that they value not being worldly.
Thus the values of both the societies are reflected in their laws. The difference in the laws of the two societies is the way they are kept and followed. In North America, the laws are all written down meticulously and are taken word for word. An example of this is, a few years ago, the supreme court let a man go who had killed his wife, just because he was drunk. The law states that a person must know what he is doing in order to be convicted. The judges decided that he wasn't guilty because he didn't know what he was doing.
This shows how North American law is not always working for the benefit of the community. The laws of the Amish however are not written but are passed along through the elders of the community, who's decision it is if something is right or not. This ensures that the laws and judgement's passed will support the values of the community, and bring them closer together because of the knowledge that they will be treated fairly, and that the best interests of the community will be kept in mind. Thus, the Amish society is more ideal because the laws are better for the community than the laws of North American society.
Family life and children are valued in both societies. In North America there are laws to protect children from child abuse, and child labour laws to protect them from being taken advantage of by employers. In the movie Witness, Eli works hard to keep Samuel from thinking that killing is ok, by quoting from the Bible. This shows that children are valued in Amish society. The two societies have different rules about the roles of men and women, and their equality. Women in North America have gained more and more equality to men, and can now get job that they couldn't have gotten before.
There are now women firefighters, and new laws have just been created to allow them to join the force easier. In Amish society, the women do the household jobs and the men do the manual labour. When the men are building the barn in the movie Witness, the women are making food for the men; and when the men are eating, the women are serving them food. Thus the equality of women, and family life is different between the two societies. Amish society is better in this sense because everyone has their own roles, and knows what to do. When everyone knows their place in the community, it brings them together.
Amish society is a more ideal society because the education better prepares children for their future, their laws do what is best for the community and in the family life, everyone has their own roles. This provides a better sense of community because everything will run smoother. The Amish people in general are a much more stable, and a much more subdued society. They live in peace with each other, and even though they do more physical labour they live a calmer lifestyle. The Amish values are those that we can all live by, even in our own society to create a stronger community within our society.