Every human being lives a dependent life. Social systems dictate the decisions that the person makes throughout a lifespan. Cruz is an example of the people’s dependent life on the social systems. Strangely, the decisions do not necessarily comply with the person’s will and desire but rather result from social expectations and other system concepts. Cruz continues to live in Villa Hermosa not because she is comfortable there but because she has no other choice. As it is evident from her comments about Villa Hermosa, she hates the idea of living in the housing projects. She detests not only the housing project but its surroundings, its occupants, and the way of life of the people in that supra-system. However, regardless of the dislike, she does not express the intention of planning to leave Villa Hermosa for La Esmeralda. Cruz’s decision to remain in Villa Hermosa is beyond her; she does not make it for her comfort or because it makes things better for her. The decision is a result of the following social system concepts: power, status role, end goal, ideals and norms, faith and knowledge, and sentiments. Cruz will remain in Villa Hermosa to fulfill the duty and fit in the social system of her family, as well as the supra-systems of La Esmeralda and Villa Hermosa.
The system concept of power plays a major role in keeping Cruz in Villa Hermosa. It is evident from Cruz’s statement that she left La Esmeralda because of the word of the social worker and not of her own accord. As Cruz has been living on welfare support since she divorced her husband, she has to live as per the directions and expectations of the social welfare workers to keep the help coming. The authority of the social welfare worker leads to Cruz’s decision to remain in the housing project, where she is not comfortable, so as to be on the safe side. Power does not only restrict Cruz to living in the housing project but also dictates how she should conduct herself there. For example, Cruz says that she does not like the food that she receives from the welfare. As long as she is in the housing project, where many detectives live, she cannot dare to sell some. In La Esmeralda, Cruz could confidently sell the food that she received from the welfare since there was no fear of sanctions. The power of the detectives to punish those misusing welfare resources makes Cruz consume the food, regardless of her dislike of it.
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Status and role are important system concepts in Cruz’s case as she fends for her children as a single parent. As much as Cruz hates the housing project, her role as a mother keeps her from deciding otherwise. Initially, the social welfare worker demanded that Cruz relocate for the betterment of the children. Therefore, there is no way Cruz will return to La Esmeralda. Besides, Cruz is now faced with new demands as she lives in Villa Hermosa. She needs to undergo an operation to rectify the problem to fit in her status as a resident in that environment. Her status as she lived in La Esmeralda did not require an operation since being crippled worked to her advantage. On the contrary, in Villa Hermosa, people laugh at the disabled, changing the Cruz’s status and demanding another course of action. Cruz’s role and status as a single mother living on welfare as well as a responsible human being obligates her to live in Villa Hermosa.
Faith and knowledge are part and parcel of social systems. There are outstanding differences between La Esmeralda and Villa Hermosa in terms of faith and knowledge. Cruz states that she could not confide in anybody at Villa Hermosa that she wanted to have an abortion. She says categorically that at La Esmeralda she could share freely with everyone in sight about her small problem. However, at the housing project, people view life differently. Such a disclosure could get her in trouble with the authorities as well as the society. The reason is simple: residents at the housing project hold different faith and knowledge about what is right and wrong. The faith and knowledge held by the two supra-systems entail different beliefs and ways of life.
In addition to the faith and knowledge, ideals and norms play an important role in social systems. Cruz lives her life without strict ideals or norms; her only interest is to make ends meet for her family. In that case, she can go to extreme measures only to provide for her family, which other social systems may term as being wrong or against the norms. Probably, Cruz’s behavior is the result of her upbringing and living in La Esmeralda, where people hold different norms and ideals. For example, she says that in La Esmeralda people do not value the ideal of girl’s virginity. As a matter of fact, once girls and boys fall in love, they have sexual intercourse and get married without hiding it from the society. On the contrary, in Villa Hermosa the ideal of girl’s virginity is upheld. As a result, couples have sexual intercourse without involving the virginal. As long as a girl is a virgin, no one cares what else she does with her body. Living in Villa Hermosa, with her way of thinking, Cruz finds it weird to hold such ideals. All the same, she accepts them as their way of life and fits in the system. Furthermore, people in Villa Hermosa, unlike those in La Esmeralda, do not buy stolen items since they believe that it is not right to do so. Apart from the fear that the owner of the stolen item may come looking for it and get the person in trouble, people in Villa Hermosa try to live decently. In other words, they do not believe in buying stolen items at low prices only for their benefits.
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The end goal also determines the course of action in human life. Cruz has just one objective in life – to live a better life and more so show her friends and enemies that she is doing better at Villa Hermosa than she was in La Esmeralda. Particularly, she refers to her husband’s aunt with whom she has been rivals. Cruz says that whenever she visits La Esmeralda, she dresses well, clothes the children in their best outfits only to ensure that the aunt feels that she is doing well. As a social system, Cruz and her family seek to fulfill their end goal, which is to better their future by all means possible. As Cruz lives in the housing project, where things are quite tough for her, she hopes that someday she will get something to do which will give some little earning to supplement the welfare aid. Besides, Cruz’s end goal makes her want to keep her hands clean to ensure that she does not have to deal with the authorities. The last thing she would want is to be jailed since it would mean the end of the road for her children. The future of her children, which she hopes will brighten, depends on her. Therefore, her end goals are to live comfortably, pay off debts, and provide the future for her children.
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Finally, sentiments are concepts of social systems which contribute to different decisions and ways of doing things. There is a social sentiment that people living in Villa Hermosa are decent. Consequently, people treat them differently, making them behave differently. For example, Cruz says that when she lived in La Esmeralda, she could get some dollars from sleeping with old men. However, since she came to Villa Hermosa, she slams the door at whoever makes advances. In fact, Cruz would not mind making some money by sleeping with some old men, but she would not want to be considered a prostitute in a respectable neighborhood. The notion that people at Villa Hermosa live respectable lives changes the way Cruz conducts herself, even though she does not believe in the things that they do. When she decides to have an abortion, she would be justified in her world because her husband would refuse responsibility and say that the child was not his. She cannot share her intention with anyone since there are sentiments that make abortion appear evil and bad. To sum it up, Cruz’s decision to remain at Villa Hermosa is purely sentimental. It is beyond reasoning, and it reflects the social concepts of both the holon and supra-systems.
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Considering Cruz and her family, they have every reason to return to La Esmeralda since they feel that it was more comfortable there. Cruz feels that in La Esmeralda she could get enough money for her upkeep, without necessarily waiting for the welfare provisions. She also feels that in La Esmeralda people care about each other and do a great deal to help a little they can. For example, she says that people in the slums help when they can and when they cannot, as well as keep their mouths shut. She also feels that people in the slums do not exploit each other but rather seek to help. It is in the human’s nature to feel comfortable with their surroundings and have no suspicion of the people living in it. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, people have to live with total suspicion, deceit, and hatred. Cruz considers people in Villa Hermosa as greedy exploiters. In her words, they will have you do all the work but find it difficult to give a penny. Cruz also feels that since most people here have household items they laugh at her when they tell her what she should buy for her apartment. To say the least, relocating to Villa Hermosa has made Cruz know the lack. She has come to know that there are many things that she does not have, which makes her situation worse. Back in the slums, she felt comfortable because she did not know that she lacked so much in life. In her new life in the housing project, she feels dejected since she knows that she needs different things, but she cannot afford them.
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In conclusion, Cruz will remain in Villa Hermosa not because it is convenient for her but because she does not have an option. To fulfill her status role, meet her end goal, and live as per social expectations, she has to live in Villa Hermosa. All she hopes for is a change that will see her get a new source of income to sustain her in the comfortable life of the Villa Hermosa.
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