A Blow-By-Blow of Deviance: Analyzing the Relationship Between General Strain Theory and the Protagonist in the Film Blow

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The biographical film Blow (2001), directed by Ted Demme, depicts the life of American cocaine smuggler George Jung and his involvement with Pablo Escobar in the Medellín Cartel. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Jung was responsible for the majority of the cocaine that was trafficked into the United States. Narrated by George himself (Johnny Depp), the film follows a chronological sequence of events beginning with his childhood growing up in Massachusetts up until his final arrest as a result of the combined efforts of the FBI and DEA, in which he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison. Being a young American in the 70s meant living in a decade burdened by political disillusionment after Vietnam, Watergate, and the Cold War.…show more content…
He asserted that crime (delinquency) is caused by the inability to escape from painful or aversive conditions rather than the inability to achieve positively valued goals. When juveniles are exposed to aversive conditions, there is little they can do legally to escape their setting, and thus, their delinquency may be a result of either trying to escape or reduce the negative circumstances. GST does not focus on the blockage of pain-avoidance behavior, but rather on the experience of painful events/conditions because these painful events/conditions foster negative emotions, which can prompt criminal coping (Agnew 2012). These hypotheses are exemplified right off the bat in the film Blow. In the scenes where George is a young boy, his older self narrates and informs the audience of his distressing familial problems throughout his adolescence: “My dad ran a plumbing and heating company. He had three trucks, ten employees, and did big jobs. He was my hero.” The camera shot switches to his mother getting on a bus and leaving their family and George continues, “No matter how many times my mother would leave, no matter how many times she embarrassed him, [my Dad] always took her back. He loved her. God, he loved her…For ten years my father worked his ass off fourteen hours a day seven days a week. He didn 't care…as long as we were happy. But in the end he didn 't make enough. Slowly but surely, we lost everything. We were
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