He goes to town on the KoreanĂs overpriced merchandise. He damages property of the wealthy and he shuns any connection to humanity. As one homeless person tells him, after he refuses to help him, ˘ThatĂs a helluva way to treat a vet÷ (Schumacher, 1993). FosterĂs reply to the man is, ˘YouĂre an animal doctor?,÷ showing his complete loss of touch with the norms of social reality. As such, we can see that many of the individuals Foster encounters and, eventually Foster, recognize that the structure of American society prevents people without power or wealth from achieving the goals it holds out as accessible to all. As such, the gang members, homeless, and Foster come to represent the deviants of society, ones who must be reigned in by those who uphold the norms of the status quo, like police officer Prendergast. Falling Down illustrates the path of development from ordinary citizen to deviant member of society that is thoroughly explained by MertonĂs Strain Theory.
˘MertonĂs Strain Theory.÷ Viewed on Jan 26, 2005: http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/crime/mert_str.htm, 1-2.
Schumacher, Joel, (Director). Falling Down, (Film). USA: 1993, 113 min.