Critical Essay on Jonestown Documentary

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  931 Words
Date:  2022-12-06

Introduction

The Johnstown Documentary is one of the scariest films in South American history. It primarily focuses on the life and death of Jim Jone's followers who were led to commit suicide by drinking lethal cyanide. Jim Jones came to command a large influence over the actions and thoughts of his followers. Therefore, the documentary provides critical psychological lessons such as the social and situational influences used by leaders to destructively control other's behaviors (Moore 12). This paper analyzes the Jonestown documentary to determine how Jim Jones was able to get over 900 people to "willingly" take their own lives, Jim Jones ability as a speaker, whether he brainwashed his followers, and what made the people follow Jim Jones to their ultimate deaths.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Jim Jones was able to get over 900 people to "willingly" take their own lives because he understood well the challenges and problems the minority individuals faced. Most people felt like an outcast because of their status condition. Being poor were not widely accepted and it made the people to feel as if they were on the erroneous side (Moore 70). I believe the people felt alienated and isolated in their own community and Jim succeeded in developing a place in which they belonged and felt accepted. People felt they were exceptionally special as his follower and they felt they belonged and had a purpose there. As a result, Jim succeeded in bringing in many college children, black women and individuals from different background. He combated racism ad united the people. He looked after and supported the elderly, the poor and those in his congregation (Moore 83). He became a role model and convinced people that he was a great person looking to do good things to the community. Thus, such acts of charity resulted in unimaginable trust and loyalty that enabled him to get over 900 people to "willingly" take their own lives. I think the people were betrayed by their role model and their hero because he made them believe that what he said was the right thing to do. Or it may have just been a sense of security or too much trust that made them believe that having them drink poison was the right thing to do because he knew the best thing for them.

I believe that Jim Jones had a role in influencing the people to make drastic decisions but it was not his ability as a speaker. He understood the challenges and problems of the people since most of them came from the streets, broken homes, and lived horrible lives (Nelson 1043). Developing the Temple provided a home for the people that made them part of something. This inspired them because of the improvements and changes in their lives. This is why many people showed great loyalty and faith to Jim Jones and not his ability as a speaker.

More than 900 died after being poisoned or ingesting cyanide (McCloud 34). I think this was not suicide but the people were brain washed, because they were made to believe Jones words and followed him ending their lives. Jim Jones understood the ordeals and pain the people had gone through, and it s not a surprise that he was able to build a foundation that made them feel accepted and better. I believe this is what made the people trusted Jones and being part of the Temple made most people to feel guilty going against Jim Jones. Also the followers were made to feel bad about enjoying luxuries such as sleep, which I think made them not to be on their right senses or think at all (McCloud 36). This seems to be the main desire Jones looked to achieve. The people could not think or fight bad instructions such as not having enough sleep but instead using your brain power and energy to the fullest. Therefore, people were made to feel guilty allowing Jim to think for them. This is why many people gave all their rights to him. They had stopped thinking for themselves and became mindless zombies controlled by Jones. That is why they did whatever they were told without visualizing the repercussions, something that Jones seemed to have planned very well.

Conclusion

I think it was not something inside the followers of the People's Temple that made them follow a man to their ultimate deaths. Instead it was the ability of Jim Jones to understand the challenges and problems that the minorities faced in the society (Sinclair 594). Most people felt like an outcast and being poor were not widely accepted and Jim succeeded in developing a place in which they belonged and felt accepted (Nelson 87). People felt they were exceptionally special as his follower and they felt they belonged and had a purpose there. Such acts of charity resulted in unimaginable trust and loyalty that enabled him to get over 900 people to "willingly" take their own lives. Such reasons combined makes me feel that the People trusted and love Jones followed his teachings blindly that led to their downfall.

Works Cited

Moore, Rebecca. Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple. ABC-CLIO, 2018.

Moore, Rebecca. "Jonestown in Literature: Caribbean Reflections on a Tragedy." Literature and Theology 23.1 (2008): 69-83.

McCloud, Sean. "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. Dir. and prod. by Stanley Nelson. Firelight Media, Inc., for American Experience, 2007. 86 mins.(pbs Home Video, http://www. shoppbs. org/)." (2007): 1043-1044.

Nelson, S. "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple [documentary film]." Oakland, CA: Firelight Media (2006).

Sinclair, Donald. "What justification is there for including the mass suicide of Jonestown as part of a Guyana dark tourism narrative in 2025?." Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes 10.5 (2018): 592-604.

Cite this page

Critical Essay on Jonestown Documentary. (2022, Dec 06). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/critical-essay-on-jonestown-documentary

logo_disclaimer
Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism