The Gleaners and I

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 09/30/2012 05:15 AM

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After watching the documentary “the Gleaners and I”, I’ve learned about the gleaning lifestyles as well as its effect on the social structure of France. What seemed to be an archaic practice has never been so lively than before. It seems that every walk of life participates in the gleaning lifestyle for various reasons. Whether it’s for financial reasons or the necessity of food for survival, gleaners are linked by a certain set of codes and practices, forming a sort of secret society amongst themselves. Throughout the documentary, we are introduced to several different characters from various backgrounds. Their story gives us a better sense of the gleaning community and forces us to reconsider our own choices in life. One gleaner that stood out most to me was Claude. After losing his job due to drunk driving, he had built his livelihood around the concept of gleaning, foraging for anything and everything he felt significant to his survival. What really tugged at my heart strings is that Claude has a family but is estranged due to his faulty past. IT’s a shame that his actions in the past have him living the lifestyle he lives now. However, while we can’t change the past, we can establish a future. But in his case, gleaning was the best option so there is some validity to the gleaning lifestyle. The whole gleaning phenomenon can be related to foraging here in the United States. But while it is a disgraceful practice on the West, in countries such as France, it seems integrated into the public norm. I thought that this was very significant, given the situation of gleaning. Even well-established individuals of society choose to glean; I guess almost reducing themselves to the status of a forager. But their reasons for doing it are very good, which left me questioning the entire process. One example of this is the chef. In France, the occupation of a chef is very renowned. But here, we see him gleaning among individuals whose livelihood is far from the lifestyle of a...