Culture and Personality essay

Culture is a pattern of behavior which has evolved through time and shared in the society. It is also a usage of particular ideas and behavior which has been passed from one generation to another. In this paper, the linkage between personality and culture will be discussed based on the concept of culture mentioned by Susman in his article and with the movie entitled It which was filmed in 1927. It was expounded and opined that there is a particular vision of the self basic to each cultural order in relation to personality. With that, the cultural order of society is connected with self or one’s being.

The development of the consciousness of self is the reason why the world becomes modern (Susman, 2001, p. 1). The novel vision of the self resulted to the Reformation and even the growing system of nation-states (Susman, 2001, p. 1). The word consciousness is no longer understood as having a link with what is around of a person, but on personal human being himself. That is, the self or the personality of a person. The cultural order was developed based on the reflection of consciousness in relation to one’s being and not on what revolves around him.

For example, the growth of one’s self is becoming more important than religious growth. In that sense, there is a shift from being conscious with religious development to the development of personal ideals and aspirations. However, there are also philosophers who degraded the value of self consciousness. Taking into account of the works of Darwin in the nineteenth century, he explained the essential affinity of men with animals which degraded the value of civilization and reason. The idea was strengthened by Freud by means of teaching that men do not have complete power of their beings.

In addition, the said blows of the belief in the consciousness of one’s self manifested in the time of Freud and Darwin. Moreover, ideas may also become social attitudes. The idea leads to the analysis of culture in relation to personality. There is an eventual linkage of personality and culture due to the changes in language and usage of words as people interact with each other. In other words, language used in the seventeenth century became different in the eighteenth century. The personality of a person evolved and became the concept of character which is a basis of judging a person.

As a result, it is undeniable that the concept of character appears to be a relevant vocabulary in the nineteenth century. Yet, the problem of self emerged as a new problem. Through the years, there have been efforts to achieved cultural, social, political and development, but the ability of one person to cope up with such development becomes questionable. The character of a person plays a very important role in the said development. Hence, a negative character is a hindrance to any aspect of development in life which reflects in the society. The culture of character paved the way for huge changes in the society.

Susman confided that the concept of the culture of character is just assertions and not propositions. In relation to character, there are others words or concepts used in the society which affects the development of culture. These concepts include nationality, responsibility, democratic system, labor, structure, good manners, adventure, invasion, respect, repute, ethics, honesty, and most of all, the concept of manhood (Susman, 2001, p. 1). The concept of ethical standards has been stressed as vital to the society pointing to the higher moral standards of a person.

Thus, the medium of individual nature has been utilized as the foundation of moral order in the society. In connection, the concept of self is very relevant in this topic. Personality is mirrored in the self or the being of a person. As Susman mentioned, personality is the quality of being somebody (Susman, 2001, p. 1). The assimilation of different kinds of people requires the development of character in order to wield friendship and camaraderie which are relevant in the development of culture in the society. One person’s character must be distinguished from another in order to decipher differences.

In other words, one’s intellectual, physical, and pragmatic qualities must be developed and determined in a mass society wherein there are different people existed Individuality in a crowd was used by Susman to analyze the need to define personality of a person. At this juncture, we are going to analyze the film entitled It on how it exemplifies the culture of personality as described by Susman paying particular attention to the way the film structures it as a quality that can distinguish one from the crowd and mass society. The movie was produced by Photoplay productions under Paramount pictures.

It was directed by Clarence Badger then. The players or characters of the movie include Betty Lou, Cyrus Waltham, Monty, Molly, Adela van Norman and many others. The main theme of the film is the magnetic force of the quality of a person which draws all others in a mass society. In the movie, the peculiar and magnetic force of a person which corresponds to the total personality is emphasized. It was even explained that by having an “it” personality, a woman may have all men and men may have all women via magnetic personality.

It is on the choice of the person having an “it” personality whom he or she would be interested with. In other words, the theme of the movie is physical and personal attraction between men and women. The “it” personality is like magic that makes people become interested in a single person. Some scenes of the movie are taken in a biggest department store in the area. The character of Monty is the one who brought big wreath of flowers for the new boss of the department store. Since the movie is silent, the way the characters act is very important in understanding the topic.

As Monty entered the office of the new boss, it is understandable that he played a comic character especially when he brought with him the wreath of flowers that is so huge. There is fun and laughter in the movie as intensified by the players and the sound effects. Monty found a magazine in the room of the new boss and read on a topic about having an “it” personality. He did not know that by his actions alone, he can be considered as an “it” person. He shared what he read to the new boss who seems to be not interested on what he heard from Monty.

The latter even mentioned that the new boss has no “it” personality. It is so funny that Monty kept on thinking about the person that has “it” personality despite the disinterest of the new boss. Later on, the persons who would look around and check the department came in. But still Monty is very busy looking for the “it” personality. The second scene which shows a person that portrays an “it” personality is in the department store. The sales ladies were very busy selling the products of the store.

Clara Bow was shown with customers who are a couple and she showed them a garment for sale of which they were so interested. On the other hand, Molly came in the scene still holding the magazine which talks about the “it” personality topic. Then, Molly got hold of the beauty of Clara Bow and showed to the new boss of what he found. Still, the new boss is not interested. Molly came to the girl who has the “it” personality and talked to her. She was so attractive and smart that Molly thought she has the “it” personality of all the people in the crowd.

Lastly, the culture of men is so evident in the society in matters of male-female relationships. A person has to be very attractive in order to marry the person he or she wants. In the film, the sales ladies are very fond of the new boss and even of the prince. It is notable in one of the scenes that Clara Bow is so determined that she could attract the new boss of the department store. Being an “it” girl is the primary factor that she could attract the new boss. Aside from that, finding the person who has an “it” personality is very easy.

Spotting the said kind of person can be done in a very casual manner. In the film It, the mannerisms and actions of the female character played by Clara Bow is evidently portraying of an “it” girl personality. Indeed, in a mass society wherein there are so many people, the personality of the person must be unique in order to be noticed.


Susman, W. 2000. H-Net. Org Website. Personality and the Making of Twentieth-Century Culture. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from http://www. h-net. org/~hst203/readings /susman2. html