Malcolm Gladwell

1379 words 6 pages
Interaction Between Personality and Environment
A theory that an individual’s behavior is most likely based on factors such as personal convictions, personality, or inherited genes is a common belief in nowadays’ society. This theory seems like reasonable and logical because it is quite natural that a person’s behavior follows his or her characters. Malcolm Gladwell, however, in his essay, “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime,” examines those factors affecting peoples’ behaviors and comes up with his own theory. Gladwell believes that the environmental conditions have the most significant influence on how one behaves. Throughout his essay, he presents a few different studies to help persuade
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Personal convictions, experiences, and even genes can affect disposing individuals to crime. As Gladwell reveals, “All of those theories are essentially ways of saying that the criminal is a personality type – a personality type distinguished by an insensitivity to the norms of normal society … People who aren’t taught right from wrong are oblivious to what is and what is not appropriate behavior” (Gladwell 159). Most criminal cases are strongly related to criminals’ personal backgrounds or personal issues. It is quite obvious that people who have not taught what is and what is not right or wrong from their parents or in schools as they grew up are ignorant of illegal or violent actions and more likely commit crimes than educated people. Personality can be built throughout one’s entire life. Whether it is from family, friends, or teachers, the impact of these external forces can influence one’s character significantly. Those external forces may seem like an environmental condition, but the concept is quite different from the environmental factors that Gladwell uses in his argument because they are continuous surroundings. Family, friends, or teachers are usually key components of one’s life, and thus they play a crucial role in shaping one’s personality. Gladwell, in his essay, discusses many aspects of an individual’s character development. As he proposes an example, “People who grow up poor, fatherless, and buffeted


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