In the movie “House of sand and fog” there are many sociological references made in the movie. Kathy, the original owner of the bungalow, gets evicted and the house gets put up for auction. “It took her father 30 years to pay off that house and only 8 months for her to screw it all up” as she says in the movie. One of the officers who were supposed to escort her off the premises suggested she use an attorney that is provided to those who are unable to afford their own. So she went to the attorney to see if they could help get her house back. The attorney and the state are symbols of bureaucracy. During this time, an Arab man is going to the auction for the bungalow and buys in on the spot. The man walks through a nice building looking dirty and rugged. In the bathroom of the building he washes up and chances into a beautiful suit and people immediately perceive him differently and he is seen as wealthy.
Later that day he went home (to his apartment) to tell his wife about the house he bought and plans on flipping for a profit, she is upset about this and is tired of the “gypsy” life. In flipping and selling the house for double for what he paid for will bring Mr.Berani at a different socioeconomic status, going from working class to upper, wealthy status. In essence the bungalow is a symbol of status change and is sacred to both Kathy and Berani family. What Kathy and the Berani family do in their daily routine would be considered profane. According to Durkheim, that is what would be sacred and profane. Mr.Berani was a colonel in his country and lived a good life, people respected him. Having moved toAmericaand becoming a citizen, he has tried to live the “American dream” and tells the attorney that he will not sell back the bungalow for what he paid “things are not as they appear; it is a means of necessity.” His actions reflect similarly to the protestant ethic. He worked two very hard jobs (one working at a gas station and the other as a laborer) and using the market to get more money for the house.
~ Stephanie Carbone