Monday, July 30, 2012

Millennium Case Analysis

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1) Millennium was different from most other biotech firms that usually became dependent on large pharmaceutical firms because they did not have the resources to take their products to market or have a broad technology platform. Millennium sought to build varied technological capabilities i.e. a broad technology platform.

One of the key focuses of building technological capabilities was making the drug production process more efficient. This involved the use of advance technology like robotics and automation. Thus Millennium sought to build a technology platform and that was one of the capabilities that helped it become more successful in the 10s.

This capability allowed them to focus on finding the most promising DNA and patenting it. Specifically it involved patenting the gene sequence, the specific protein produced by that gene & the engineered drug that was produced from the gene. Thus Millennium used its technological expertise to find out the most promising gene related to curing a particular disease or illness and then patented the discovery.

Effective use of technology and patenting the most important genes relating to specific illness made it essential for the company to have a highly skilled employee base. It managed to attract top notch talent by keeping politics to a minimum, providing stock options to its employees and being very selective in hiring individuals. Employees also saw that top management set the stage when it came to having a strong work ethic.


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The skill set that Millennium had build had to be used effectively to ensure growth. Millennium decided to move away from the FTE model because that didn’t allow it to focus on the long term health of the organization. The FTE model led to agency costs as scientists were more focused on meeting individual goals rather than focusing on the benefit of the whole organization.

On the other hand it used the skill set it had created to build partnerships that would the lead to R&D that was most beneficial to Millennium. Millennium was also smart enough to retain rights of unforeseen discoveries. In summary Millennium was able to achieve synergies between the structure it had, the culture it created, the people it employed and the strategy it used to leverage these resources.

As organizations grow they need to change their structure and their strategy. The key concern in Millennium’s case is the organization’s structure. To become into a fully integrated pharmaceutical firm Millennium needs a structure that allows for the most efficient allocation of resources. Currently the workforce at Millennium feels overburdened. This is a classic case of burnout i.e. not being able to manage growth. Millennium has a loosely defined corporate structure that is based on the business areas it operates in. In the 7-S framework structure is a key ingredient to success. Thus Millennium needs to be able to create a more robust structure for it to succeed and without one it won’t be successful over the next 10-years.

2) A traditional pharmaceutical organization has the capabilities to take the drugs it creates to market which is currently lacking in Millennium. This is a fundamental disadvantage to Millennium and the acquisition of ChemGenics only solved part of the problem. Millennium doesn’t have the capability of taking a drug to market and that makes its success dependent how successful it is in creating alliances and partnerships. Traditionally Millennium has been very successful at creating good partnerships and that has led to it being successful. However Millennium has become very good at the process of discovering genes and ensuring that they can become marketable drugs. It has an advantage compared to pharmaceutical firms in this process as that is why it has been successful at forming good partnerships.

Traditional pharmaceutical organizations are also much larger than Millennium and that makes them less vulnerable to failures in the drug development process. This is a disadvantage; however Millennium is much more nimble than its peers when it comes to capitalizing on available market opportunities. The culture & the structure that Levin has managed to create is something that provides Millennium an edge over large pharmaceutical organizations. The creation of an efficient drug development process is the goal of Millennium and the pharmaceutical organizations. Millennium is definitely the more innovative of the companies involved in achieving this goal however all pharmaceutical companies have more resources at their disposal.

3) The primary disadvantage of securing funding through alliances and partnerships is that it limits an organizations ability to allocate resources as it seeks to do so. Thus every alliance has to be made keeping in mind what the company’s vision is. This is quite difficult to implement because once an organization enters into an alliance its revenue stream is dependent upon its ability to fulfill the goals set at the outset of the alliances. Thus organizations may seek to fulfill these goals even if it means deviating from the objective.

On the other hand deals and alliances ensure that the organization manages it resources effectively because it has to meet its deliverables. This is different from raising money from the capital market. In this case once an organization has been successful at raising money through the market it is relatively free to utilize it as it seeks to do so. This could lead to an inefficient allocation of resources. Raising money also means giving away ownership rights to the organization. This would mean that the new equity holders will have a say in company strategy. This can hamper an organizations ability to choose what it believes to be the best course of action.

4) The key criteria is that does it allow Millennium to focus on the R&D that it wants to focus on and will it enhance Millenniums ability to meet its ambitious growth targets. Millennium should pursue the Lundberg deal. Millennium wants to create an efficient drug discovery and development process. This requires that its process be codified and that it have substantial funds at its disposal that can be used to master the drug discovery and development process. Thus this deal will allow it to focus on the R&D it seeks to pursue. There are elements of the deal that require effort in areas that are not of interest to Millennium. This should be expected in any alliance that an organization seeks to undertake as it is unrealistic to expect complete alignment of goals of both organizations.

Millennium hopes to create a sustainable competitive advantage by creating an unrivaled drug discovery and development process. It has invested significant time and effort in making the process as efficient as possible. The success of this process is going to allow Millennium to become a fully integrated pharmaceutical company in the future. The Lundberg deal provides capital recourses to Millennium that are invaluable for the company’s success. Considering the fact that sound strategic alliances are very difficult to come by and they are the source to the company’s growth Millennium should pursue the Lundberg deal.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Expectancy Theory

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Expectancy Theory

The expectancy theory of motivation is a common accepted theory for explaining how individuals makes decisions on how to behave in certain situations, how much effort to use. This theory is widely used in education, management, psychology, coaching and most probably several other areas as well. There are several models of motivation ranging from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory that describes motivation, and sides of motivations that can help understand why people are acting in particular ways in certain situations, and why something that motivates one person does not motivate another person. What really differentiates the expectancy theories from the rest of the motivational theories, is that it can be used as a mental tool for a leader, manager, teacher, parent or coach when they are trying to motivate another individual to perform a task.

The expectancy theory has an important basic premise. It assumes that if you perceive that you will be rewarded in some way meaningful for you, by behaving in a certain way to reach a certain goal, you will be motivated to do this. This is supported not only by scientific models, theories and evidence, but also of common phrases used by parents and teachers for a long time:

- If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.

- There is only one way you will make it; work hard and do what you are told!


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The Expectancy theory of motivation assumes that an individual is able to choose a particular behavior out of several possible behaviors, based upon the motivational force of the option. The motivational force for any behavior is given as a function of three perceptions.

MF=Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence.

Expectancy is a probability measure based upon how the person views the effort-performance relationship. If the person beliefs that high effort will lead to a desired performance, then the expectancy is high.

Valence refers to the value that particular person places upon the reward that the action leads to. If the reward is worthwhile, the valence is high.

Instrumentality refers to the perceived relationship between the performance and the reward. If the person beliefs there is a high probability for the performance to lead to a reward, the instrumentality is high. If the individual beliefs that there are only a small probability that the performance will lead to a reward the instrumentality is low.

The Motivational Force is a product of these perceptions. This means that if either of them is zero, the motivation can be zero too, even if the two other perceptions are reasonable high.

This can be illustrated by an example from my own work life. I was in a job where working hard, traveling from one business location to another diagnosing and fixing database problems, lead to good results and recognition. When I got this assignment we were told that our results would be an important factor in deciding our next assignments. We were also told that those of us with the best results would get the best assignments when this period was done. So I was under a clear impression that if I only worked hard, fixed these problems, and my customers reported back to my leader the positive results, then I would not have to travel and be away from the family so much.

The time for the appraisal came, and I got really good evaluations, and my leader told me what an exceptionally good job I had done, and that our customers repeatedly asked for him to send me to help them. Then he told me that since I had shown such a gift for this line of work he would keep me on this assignment for another 6 months, as the leader of the team, and I got a significant rise.

The motivation for doing this job was zero after this. The expectancy was as before. The instrumentality was also present but weakened, but the valence was not there. I did not want this job, so the reward was not what I perceived as a reward. The reward felt like a punishment. So I used my review to transfer to another division within the company.

When you use the expectancy theory of motivation, you need to make sure that all three factors in the equation are positive in order for it to motivate. This requires that you know the persons perceived abilities, you are sure that there are trust between you so he or she is reasonable sure that good performance will lead to the award, and that the award is something meaningful for the person.

When it comes to my own kids, I have used this theory for what it is worth. My 14 year old daughter came and asked me if I could take her to a No Doubt concert. I asked her if she had tickets for the two of us, then sure I would drive and come with her. Of course, she did not have the tickets. She had not even thought that she should pay for the concert she wanted to attend. So I told her if she really wanted this so bad she needed to do some work for me, before I even considered buying the tickets. So If she would clean out all the stuff from the garage that we did not use, wash and clean it, and put the stuff we still use nicely into their correct places, then I would buy the tickets and take her to the concert.

I could se that she was thinking, and I assume she asked herself questions like

- Can I do this soon enough for the tickets not to be sold out?

- Do I really want to go the concert that badly?

And I really hope she did not ask herself the question

- Will she really take me if I do it? I hope she has enough experience to know that I will, but I know some kids would ask that question in a situation like this.

When it comes to my own family I also work very hard to avoid a strong instrumentality, that is that you need a reward for any good performance. I believe that many situations with goals set by parents- kids reaching the goals-reward destroys the children’s ability to set their own goals, to do an effort for someone else, without expecting a reward for it, or personal benefits. I am worried that to much focus on external motivation kills the more important internal motivation. So this is a tool to be used with care so it does not backfire.

Also if you use to high rewards, the expectation for a later situation might lead the kids not to find the effort worthwhile since they have an image of a larger reward installed from earlier experiences.

What I like about this theory is that it perceives the individual person as a decision maker, not as a passive entity given input to perform an output. If the tasks are wrong, not suitable for the intellectual capacity, for the abilities, for the experience level, then the person will not perform the task. This is because the person does not accept the challenge given the link between the effort-performance is not acceptable. The person is able to see that no matter how hard he or she works, the result will not be good enough, and there will be no way that this leads to wanted result, and a reward no matter how bad you want it, is out of you reach.

This theory has some simple but clear implication for me as a manager.

- I need to make sure that the reward system used for my subordinates have attainable goals that challenge my employees, and rewards that have meaning for each of the employees. And I will make sure that the reward we agree upon will be given if the goals are reached, not another reward. There will never be a situation where I promise something I can not keep, or assume that something else are as rewarding because I find it rewarding my self. (like money if the employee want something else).

- I also need to work hard on making the employees believe that they can do the task, and provide them the support they need to get the job done.



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Friday, July 20, 2012

Retail Plan for “Birdbrain Bird Shop”

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Retail Strategy

Birdbrain Bird Shop (Birdbrain), a fictional business, will be organized as a Sole Proprietorship operating in the state of Oregon. Specifically the business will be located in Oregon City. It will be a new retail business.

The retail strategy of the business is

• The target customer for Birdbrain is primarily middle to upper-middle income females between the ages of 5 and 65 interested in wild birds. Additionally, predominately the target customer is either a homeowner or the renter of a home. To some degree this will affect the choice of locations for the business.


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• The merchandise offered by Birdbrain will be birdhouses and feeders, birdfeed, and unique yard decor products. The merchandise will come from a variety of vendors, with product source both locally and imported.

• To build a competitive advantage, Birdbrain will be unique in its product offering and store layout when compared to other retailers located within its geographic area. The business will also advertise in local papers, coupon flyers, and maintain an informational web site. Birdbrain will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. These hours should be convenient for virtually all of the proposed target market, more so than most of the competing retailers.

• Based on the initial success of Birdbrain, there should be significant opportunities to expand into additional geographic markets. These additional locations could be organized as franchises.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , as of 17 there were 41 establishments in Oregon offering lawn and garden equipment (the closest description to bird products available). The NAICS Code for this industry is 444.  

Within Fred Meyer Inc., one of the major competitors within this retail segment, bird and yard decor related merchandise is currently a significant growth category, although it is limited by the space it occupies. Birdbrain will be able to maintain a competitive advantage over Fred Meyer and other retailers primarily by offering a more diverse assortment and better customer service. Employee’s product knowledge within the primary assortment will allow Birdbrain to stand out as the primary destination for true “birders”. This type of service does not exist to any significant degree within the geographic area Birdbrain will be targeting.

Variety at Birdbrain Bird Shop will be limited to SKUs relating directly or indirectly to the care and feeding of wild birds, and to a much small extent to decorative yard products. The primary categories of merchandise will be Feeders, Birdhouses (both functional and decorative), Bird food, Birdbaths, Hummingbird, Reference Materials (books and magazines), bird watching products, and decor merchandise.

The focus category will be the bird food, as it is consumable and offers the target customer the most incentive to visit the retailer. The assortment within this category will be diverse, but limited to the primary indigenous birds within the local geographic area. There are several local vendors who offer both a wide assortment and significant experience to retailers wishing to purchase bird related products.

Electronic Retailing

In addition to their store location, Birdbrain will develop an internet site http//www.birdbrainbirdshop.com/ is currently available). Initially the site will be informational only, with the opportunity for e-shoppers to communicate with the store owner via e-mail. By building the web site in this manner Birdbrain can maintain a presence on the web for their customers who need information, while at the same time avoiding the expense and risk of e-retailing. If the company finds that there is significant interest from consumers within the their product offering, the site can later be modified and expanded to offer products for sale via the internet. Additional staff will be required for this expansion, not only for the labor necessary for shipping and handling, but also to keep the site up-to-date with the current available product offering and to track customer’s purchases and buying patterns. Birdbrain will not offer a printed catalog for direct mail purposes.

Customers

The generational cohorts targeted by Birdbrain will primarily be baby boomers, and to a lesser degree seniors and generation x’ers. Baby boomers will be attracted to birdbrain because of the unique product offering. This will appeal to their tendency to be individualistic. Service is another key requirement of this cohort, and Birdbrain will be there to serve both their desire to create a relaxing backyard environment, and the baby boomers need to know they are purchasing a product that will fit the function they are trying to accomplish. Seniors, the second most sought after group by Birdbrain, tend to have time to devote to wild bird appreciation and study. Birdbrain will offer them products to fill those needs (such as books and binoculars) and the expertise to keep them coming back.

One predominate feature of the target market is income. The assortment at birdbrain will appeal to several income groups. There will be a limited assortment geared toward the upscale customer, a wide selection for the middle-income customer, and even a small selection geared toward the lower-income birder. Another feature Birdbrain will keep in mind both in their store layout and in their product assortment is the gender of the shopper. Women will be the target customer for this business. Women make the majority of purchasing decisions, and influence most of the rest.

Customer Buying Behavior

Most of the buying decisions customers will make at Birdbrain involve limited problem solving. While the purchase of bird food might become habitual over time, decisions relating to the rest of Birdbrain’s assortment require the customer to examine the products being offered and make some comparisons. In some cases the size and style of the birdhouse or feeder can solve a specific need the customer wishes to satisfy. Price will also be a significant factor for some shoppers. To encourage the customer to visualize the benefit of birding, the overall “feel” of the interior will suggest out-of-doors. The customer will be treated to the sounds of wild birds (by use of a recording devise) as well as the sounds of nature and waterfalls.

Mission Statement

The mission of Birdbrain Bird Shop is to be the leading retailer of wild bird related products in the Oregon City/Southeast Suburban area, and to provide a yearly income of $70,000 for the owner.

Financial Strategy

The initial funding for Birdbrain will be a combination of owner’s cash and long-term bank financing. The initial owner’s investment will be $50,000 combined with a 10 year note payable for $100,000. Based on this funding level here is an estimated income statement and other significant financial data for the first three years of the business

Net Sales 400,000 440,000 484,000

Less COG Sold 40,000 64,000 0,400

Gross Margin 160,000 176,000 1,600

Less Operating Expense  4,00 47,10

Less Interest Expense 6,640 6,640 6,640

Total Expense 65,640 6,540 7,80

Net profit, pretax 4,60 106,460 11,770

Less Taxes 5,857 40,455 45,51

Tax Rate 8.00% 8.00% 8.00%

Net profit after tax 58,50 66,005 74,57

Net Profit Margin 14.6% 15.0% 15.%

Return on Assets .40% 6.40% .70%

(on initial $50,000)

Average Inventory 10000 10000 10000

Inventory Turnover   4 .7

Location

There are several important considerations for the location of Birdbrain Bird Shop. Most of the merchandise will be purchased by customers with a yard, therefore a central business district would seem inappropriate for the shop. Additionally, the predominate category for the store will be bird food, with the most commonly purchased sizes. This makes some mall locations less practical for the target customer (5-65 female). The ideal location would be strip mall with a well established anchor store.

Site Selection

Oregon City is located within the Metropolitan Statistical Area for Portland and Salem . The population of the city as of 001 was 6,680, almost double the population of 180 .

Additionally, much of the surrounding county (population 45,150) must travel through Oregon City to reach Portland, the largest metropolitan city in the area. The trade area of Birdbrain would be around 16 to 5 square miles, encompassing the square mile of Oregon City as well as the unincorporated suburban and rural areas within 4 to five miles from the shop.

Oregon City has at least two locations which would be suitable for this. Berry Hill Mall would be the first choice based on growth in the area and the number of new and existing homes within a mile radius of the mall. It features an Albertsons and a K-Mart as anchors, as well as several restaurants and other established businesses. Parking is ample and convenient for all the specialty shops. Southridge Shopping Center would be the next best alternative, but based on the condition of the housing in the area and limited area for new housing starts it would have to offer some significant advantages in terms of lease payments. Birdbrain would probably not do well as a freestanding business. The startup costs would be significantly higher while traffic to the store (in the Oregon City area) would probably be substantially lower.

In the case of the Berry Hill Mall there would be some competition from both anchor stores, as well as a Fred Meyer Store and Thriftway (both stores are located around ¾ of a mile from the proposed site). Despite this, the Berry Hill location still offers better accessibility and adequate customer traffic. There is a major intersection located adjacent to the mall which offers stores located in Berry Hill more convenience and accessibility than all of the possible competition (except the two anchor stores). The optimal location within the mall would be next to one of the two hair salons. One of them shares virtually the same target market with Birdbrain and would help increase traffic.

Organizational Structure and Human Resources Management

As a small business, the organizational structure of Birdbrain would be somewhat limited. All of the management functions - strategic, merchandise, store, and administrative - would be performed by the sole proprietor. Initially the company would employ part time employees, primarily for weekend help. The remainder of the duties would be performed by the owner of the company. The initial screening process for prospective employees should determine the aptitude and product knowledge of the applicant with regard to the products being offered by Birdbrain. Training would be the job of the owner. Wages for all employees would be at an hourly rate, with regular reviews and wages increases based employee’s performance and length of service with the shop. The goal for the owner of Birdbrain should be to create a family oriented organizational culture. Employees should be encouraged to offer their opinions and insights on the operation of the business. Even if all their suggestions aren’t acted upon, employees should still feel their input is important to the success of the business. As much as possible employees should be given authority to make decisions for the owner in his absence. Above all else employees should recognize that customers are never an interruption for an employee; customers are the only reason the employee is there. Birdbrain should strive to be as diverse in its workforce as the community it serves is diverse.

Information Systems and Supply Chain Management

Due to the expected sales volume for Birdbrain, most orders for new goods should be placed by the owner at a time he feels is appropriate. Inventory will be tracked via a computer connected to the point of sale terminals. Where possible the company should take advantage of using EDI systems with vendors. Birdbrain will not use an automated replenishment system during its first year in business, and will evaluate the feasibility of adding that to individual categories after that time.

In an effort to improve customer service and increase customer loyalty, Birdbrain will offer customers the opportunity to receive a quarterly newsletter via the internet or direct mail. The newsletter will offer suggestions for ways customers can enhance their bird watching experience, as well as coupons for discounts on specific merchandise. Customers signing up for the newsletter will be added to a data warehouse so that Birdbrain can refine their target area and the way it spends its advertising budget.

Planning Merchandise Assortments

As mentioned previously in the retail strategy, the major categories for Birdbrain will be Bird food, Feeders, Birdhouses, Birdbaths, Hummingbird, Reference Materials, bird watching products, and decor merchandise. In some respects each category will be managed as a separate business. Because of the limited size of the company, the two primary levels to assortment planning will be category and SKU; separate classification or departments should not be necessary. With the scale of the business being relatively small many of the reporting tools used by larger retailers become less meaningful. However, Birdbrain should still be concerned with evaluating inventory and sales of categories and SKUs on a regular basis. Initial assortments will be chosen based on an allocation of resources toward each category. Of the $10,000 devoted to initial inventory, bird food will receive 5%, feeders 15%, houses 15%, Birdbaths 5%, hummingbird 10%, Reference materials 7%, bird watching products 1%, and d�cor merchandise 1%. Each category and SKU will be reviewed quarterly to determine its overall contribution to sales and gross margin. As trends develop over time allocations to inventory dollars can be adjusted to take advantage of customer demand. Not all categories will perform at the same level. Some will tend to dominate while others may break even or even lose money. The goal for Birdbrain will be to balance the assortment to maximize profits while providing an adequate number of SKUs in each category to allow the customer to feel confident their wild bird needs will be met each time they visit the store.

Product availability will vary somewhat depending on the category of merchandise. Birdbrain will target a 5-100% service level for its core SKUs of bird food. Much of the remainder of their product mix will be more fashion related and change regularly. With the exception of the bird food category, customers will expect to see a constantly changing assortment. Many of the purchases Birdbrain will make will be one-time buys. As it relates to product availability, the depth of the assortment is more important than most of the specific SKUs offered for this company. Customers want to see new and different products each time they shop with Birdbrain.

Buying Systems

Although inventory dollars overall will stay fairly static, inventory by category will change based on the seasonal sales patterns. For this reason inventory within categories will need to be adjusted monthly to anticipate the future demand for that category. For example the winter months tend to have a higher percentage of sales for feed, while sales of bird watching products bird baths, and to a lesser extent bird houses will go down. Purchases then in September and October should be adjusted to anticipate this change. As the company develops historical data in its data warehouse it can further refine buying decisions by category in advance of the seasonal changes in selling.

Analysis of each SKU carried by Birdbrain will be performed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the season and category. Each basic (non-fashion) SKU will be ranked based on it contribution margin (net sales - COG sold - other variable expenses) and evaluated to determine if it should continue to be stocked. Fashion SKUs will be evaluated based on inventory level, time on the shelf, and sales contribution by category.

Buying Merchandise

For the most part, brand names are not important in the bird business. There are quality differences within certain brands of bird seed (some germinate and some don’t), but there is virtually no brand recognition for bird products. The most important aspect of buying seed is price and having an adequate depth of assortment for the geographic area the business supports. Almost all seed sold in the U.S. is manufactured here as well. Birdbrain’s decision then for buying seed will depend on their contacts with local vendors and manufacturers.  

Most other products available in the shop’s mix will be available either domestically or as imports. Because of the size and nature of the business, most products purchased by Birdbrain will be sourced from local vendors, and to a lesser degree from local manufactures and craftsmen. Birdbrain simply does not have the resources to shop globally for their merchandise. Vendors on the other hand are able to devote more money and time to develop international sources. Birdbrain can take advantage of vendor’s contacts by allowing the vendors to do the importing. Admittedly this service can significantly raise the cost of the merchandise, but in many cases it will still be less expensive than sourcing the product from domestic manufacturers. Birdbrain’s owner will also attend trade shows to shop for new products.

Pricing and Retail Communication Mix

Birdbrain will primarily use a high/low pricing strategy. With the possible exception of a few core SKUs, Birdbrain could not possibly hope to compete chain store’s prices. Because or their unique assortment and expertise in their field, Birdbrain will not use price to achieve its competitive advantage. Also, with few exceptions, most merchandise within their offering is unique enough that it is difficult for customers to compare based on price. Birdbrain will generally use the keystone method for pricing their goods (double the cost). Exceptions to this might be some seed, which may be slightly lower than double, and some higher-end products which will be more than double.

Pricing will be done using shelf labels where possible, or tags on the merchandise when needed. All merchandise will have a UPC label and will be scannable by the POS system. Although this may add to the cost of operations, it is vital to be able to accurately track sales and inventory.

In the income statement (above) Birdbrain has built in 10% to the cost of goods for markdowns. This will allow Birdbrain to advertise their merchandise and still maintain their expected gross margin. It should also be sufficient to close out unproductive SKUs, again without seriously impacting projected profits.

Birdbrain will run either weekly or biweekly ads in the local newspapers as well participating in a local monthly coupon flyer promotion. 10% of the company’s operating budget will be devoted to these methods of advertising. Birdbrain will also sponsor (in part) local bird enthusiasts clubs and the local community college. The expenses for these are minimal, while the public relation value may be substantial.

Managing the Store

Most of the decision making, and all of the leadership, for Birdbrain Bird Shop will come from the owner. As much as possible the owner will employ a democratic method of leadership. Although there aren’t many decisions employees within the company can truly make on their own, their input and feedback should be important to the owner. The ability of the owner to make the employees feel valuable to the business will have a major impact on employee turnover and ultimately to sales. Employees will be evaluated on a regular basis; after few days when hired, and then every 6 months. The evaluations will be primarily to encourage the employees and to ensure they are satisfied with their position. Initially there will be little opportunity for growth within the company, so small but regular raises will be one method the owner can use to let the employees know they are valued.

Shrinkage is generally not a significant problem for this type of business; however, Birdbrain will conduct at least semi-annual physical inventories to insure it does not become a problem. The most common form of shrinkage for a company like this is errors in paperwork. Performing regular inventories allow the retailer to catch mistakes and follow proper accounting practices.

Store Layout, Design, and Visual Merchandising

The entire layout for Birdbrain Bird Shop will occupy around some square feet. The overall feel of the store should remind the customer of nature and the out doors. The colors used for the store will be natural earth-tones, primarily browns, beige, and greens. Fixtures will be wood (cedar or redwood) when possible. Seed will be placed on a standard gondola with wood trim on the back wall of the store to encourage customers to travel the full depth of the store. Houses and feeders will use specialty racks located throughout the store. Birdbaths will be located on raised wooden platforms. At least fountains will be running at all times to provide sound and atmosphere. One of the additional categories of merchandise, reference materials, will include CDs of nature sounds. One of these will be playing continuously. The cash register will be located near the door to ensure each customer is greeted as they enter (and to make sure they pay before they leave). The two most popular seed products will also be presented near the checkout on pallet promotions. Signing in the store will be minimal. The merchandise will provide the majority of information the customer needs. Sale signs will be either dark red or moss green to tie into the overall color scheme. Shelf Labels will be 1” x 5/8” and beige in color. Lighting should be bright and inviting.

Customer Service

Retailing is by nature dependant on superior customer service, and even more so with a company like Birdbrain Bird Shop. Employees, including the owner, will wear a brown or green apron with the name of the company stenciled on the front to let the customer know at a glance who they can go to for assistance. The return policy for Birdbrain will be “if we sell (or sold it), we’ll take it back.” Where possible we will encourage customers to accept an exchange for other merchandise, but all employees will be able to offer a cash refund to customers without approval of the owner. Each customer will be greeted with a smile and “hello, anything I can help you find?” Every customer will receive a “thanks for coming in” when then leave, whether they purchase something or not. If the customer asks for something the shop does not carry the employee will note it on a list next to the cash register, and when possible direct the customer to a competitor, if the employee can’t first recommend a substitute item the shop does carry. The employee will offer to contact the competitor for the customer if the customer would like them to. All customer complaints will be handled on the spot if possible. All employees will have the authority to offer small discounts or gift certificates if they believe the customer perceives the shop as having disappointing the customer in any way. Customers should know by the time they leave Birdbrain bird Shop for the first time that they are the reason the shop exists. Each customer should feel as if they are the most important customer who shops at the store every time they come in.



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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Social Changes

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When I was a teenager, I always wondered how it would feel to be an adult, mother, and a wife. I also wondered how it would feel to grow old. I asked my grandfather and grandmother daily how does it feel to grow old and how does it feels to fall in love. My grandparents gave me the same advice as my parents, each person explained to me these five stages puberty, love, marriage, childbirth, and death. After listening to all the advise I was given, I applied each person advise to my daily living and did some research of my own as I grew older. Each person advice helped me to better understand who I am and why I make the decision that I do. A stage during adolescence such as puberty is largely predictable. Puberty is the first stage of being able to sexually reproduce. This stage, of development, is decided by the human’s biological clock. The difference between early and late developers is a manner of three to four years. “Puberty is the period of rapid growth that marks the end of childhood and the beginning of physical and sexual maturity.” Adulthood, mature and fully developed, is determined individual decisions, circumstance and physical and sexual maturity. An adult is a person who can make responsible decision such as going to college or having a job. Adulthood varies greatly between individuals depending upon how fast a person matures. Virtually every pattern of change over adulthood that we can identify or describe has such multiple possible explanations. Analysis of findings typically involves one of two techniques comparison of means for groups of different ages or for the same people across age; or calculation of correlations between scores for the same people at different ages to check for individual consistency or for the same people at the same time.

Love consists primarily of three components intimacy, commitment, and passion. Intimacy, a sense of emotional closeness as defined by Robert Stern berg, is the way a person can portray himself or herself to someone he or she is extremely close to. A person can have intimacy without having any commitments. Friendship is usually a relationship without a commitment. Someone can be physically attracted to another with no long-term commitments. There must be commitments for a relationship to lead to marriage. Even when passion declines, for a marriage to last the commitments must stay intact. I experienced a lot of love relationships during my late teenage years.

Marriage is an extremely important factor in happiness. Over 60 percent of Americans eventually get married. Statistics show that married people have the highest level of bliss, followed by the widowed, the divorced or separated, and then those who have never been married. Men and women have their low points during different times of their marriage.


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Most women have lows during child bearing, while men have it during late Middle Ages. Married men that make it through the most difficult period of life without getting divorced seem to be much better off than those who did. Divorce or widowed men have a shorter live span than those who are marriage recent studies show. Divorce and remarriage does not greatly alter the basic timing of many family lifecycle events, but it does markedly increase the complexity of family roles to be filled. In understanding the impact of gender roles and family roles on adult lives, it may also be helpful to examine the degree of mismatch between a person’s personal qualities and the demands of the roles that she or he must fill. Where the match is poor, the adult may experience higher level of stress and lower. Where the match is poor, the adult may experience higher level of stress and lower levels of physical and mental health. Many things are necessary to have a healthy marriage such as the ability to solve conflicts, empathy, ability to communicate, an absence of sexist attitudes, openness, competence, strong affect ional bonds, quality and quantity of shared times, and financial security. People find they have different needs interest and compatibility. This is why many people marry some one of similar race, religion, education, or background. Teenage and married couples older that thirty have fewer successful marriages than those who marry in their twenties and thirties. At least half of the marriages endure until one spouse pass away. Even some unhappy and abusive marriage survives because of fear or dependency.

When a child is born, the marriage drastically changes. The husband becomes a father and the wife becomes a mother. Young children require a great deal of attention. The mother and father have much less time to be alone as a couple. They must spend most of their time and energy taking care of the infant instead of going out and having a romantic time. Spending many hours taking care of their child, the mother and father usually receive a great deal of satisfaction. Many parents receive a sense of pride and enjoyment watching their child grows to maturity, but conflicts might arise. Some of the conflicts are mixed emotions about the baby and the husband or wife might have to abandon his or her career. Many women usually bear the burden of housework after the child is born. The cumbersome task of housework is why the woman’s marital satisfaction is likely to decline. After a child leaves home, many parents breathe a sound of relief. The mother and father of the child can finally be alone together after fulfilling their responsibilities.

Personality change over the adult years has also been demonstrated, although both the amount and the nature of the change seem clearer in early than in late adulthood.

“Four-fifths of those over 65 have living children, among 4 percent are grandparents.” Relived from the tremendous responsibilities of raising children, grand parenting is often a much more rewarding experience than parenting. Giving love guidance to children, grandparents ask little in return. Adult who are more afraid of death are also likely to be higher in neuroticism and to have lower opinions of their own competence or worth. Higher fear is also associated with uncertain positions on religious questions, while those with very high or no religious commitment are typically lower in fear of death. “People who suffer a terminal illness live with the awareness of their impending death. From interviews dying patients, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross proposed that the terminal ill pass through five stages denial of the terminal ill condition; anger and resentment; bargaining with God for more little; depression stemming from the impending loss of everything and everyone; and finally, peaceful acceptance of one’s fate.” Those left to mourn after a death are helped by cleared rituals associated with death, which provides roles for the bereaved and for friends and many give a sense of transcendent meaning to the death.

References

Bee, H., & Bjorklund, B. (2000) The journey of adulthood. New Jersey Prentice-Hall



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Friday, July 13, 2012

Management

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What is operations management?

Operations management is the design, operation, and control of the transformation process that converts resources such as labor and raw materials into finished goods and services.

How is operations management used in manufacturing organizations? In service organizations?

In manufacturing organizations, the operations management process involves turning raw materials into recognizable physical products. Service organizations also transform inputs into outputs although the transformation process isnt as easily recognizable as that of manufacturing organizations since they are dealing with nonphysical outputs.


Explain why managing productivity is important in operations management?

Increased productivity means a more competitive cost structure and the ability to offer more competitive prices.

What is value, and what role does it play in value chain management?

Value is the performance characteristics, features and attributes, and any other aspect of goods and services for which customers are willing to give up resources (usually money). Value is what is added at each step on the value chain beginning with the processing of raw materials and ending with finished product in the hands of end users.

Who has the power in the value chain? Explain.

Ultimately, the customer has the power in the value chain.

Describe the goal of value chain management.

The goal of value chain management is to create a value chain strategy that meets and exceeds customers needs and desires and allows for full and seamless integration among all members of the chain.

Why is the concept of a business model important in value chain management?

A business model is a strategic design for how a company intends to profit from its broad array of strategies, processes, and activities.

What role do coordination and collaboration, technology investment, and organizational processes play in value chain management?

Coordination and collaboration among value chain partners, an investment in information technology, and appropriate organizational processes are important requirements for the successful implementation of value chain management.



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Faulknerian Style in the Climactic Scene of 'Barn Burning'

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Chelsea Nichols

Faulknerian Style in the Climactic Scene of 'Barn Burning'

In the climactic scene of 'Barn Burning', William Faulkner displays many literary talents in order to describe the remarkable scene in which Sarty Snopes, the main character of the story, breaks away from the loyalty to his family to satisfy his own moral hunger . Faulkner’s unique style of writing is very recognizable in this scene, and he uses many successful techniques to make this part of the story flow quickly while relaying the always-present source of inner turmoil in Sarty. The Faulknerian style cannot be exactly defined, but how he presents this climactic scene shows the way Faulkner can manipulate the English language to create feeling and action.



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Faulkner creates a magnificent sense of movement as Sarty runs to Major Ds Spain’s house to betray his father, and as he runs away from what he’s done. Although he is being pulled between the loyalty to his father, and the loyalty to his own morals throughout the whole story, it is here you feel the physical pull of his struggle. Faulkner uses adjectives and verbs ending in ‘ing’ to create this effect.

"…the pale ribbon unspooling with terrific slowness under his running feet, reaching the gate at last and turning in, running, his heart and lungs drumming, on up the drive toward the lighted house, the lighted door."


The length of the sentences furthers the terrific sense of motion and urgency created by the use of such words. This distinguishing feature of Faulkner’s style gives more movement to the writing, because each sentence is allowed more time to gather momentum. The sentences surge by quickly, allowing you to run alongside Sarty.

In the few speaking parts in this scene, the sentences spoken by the various characters are simple and incomplete. They display nothing more than the barest verbal communication, which contrasts the flowery narration beautifully. The reference to the speaker is also as base as possible, mainly using the he-said, she-said format. The contrast between the expressive descriptions of the scene and the simple statements of the family creates a friction, which is plainly Faulknerian. This friction of words also seems to mirror the tension felt by Sarty, and create an even sharper sense of struggle.

“Better tie him to the bedpost,” the brother said. “Do like I told you,” the father said. Then the boy was moving, his bunched shirt and the hard, bony hand between his shoulder-blades, his toes just touching the floor, across the room and into the other one, past the sisters sitting with spread heavy thighs in the two chairs over the cold hearth, and to where his mother and aunt sat side by side on the bed, the aunt’s arms about his mother’s shoulders.


Faulkner creates this tension by allowing the reader to be pulled along with the story in the descriptions and narrations, but abruptly interrupts the movement with blunt, rough dialogue. He creates an unsettled atmosphere in the climatic scene by allowing these gruff interruptions to interfere with the action. The scene never satisfies the clash of morals Sarty faces, and the unsettled atmosphere created by the contrast in words echoes this unresolved conflict.

But there was no glare behind him now and he sat now, his back toward what he had called home for four days anyhow, his face toward the dark woods which he would enter when breath was strong again, small, shaking steadily in the chill darkness, hugging himself into the remainder of his thin, rotten shirt, the grief and despair now no longer terror and fear, just grief and despair. "Father. My Father," he thought. “He was brave!” he cried suddenly.


The story is also written in words obviously above the boy’s intelligence, and although follows Sarty, uses language and introspective which are beyond him, adding to the sense of conflict and unsettledness.

Another characteristic of Faulkner’s style is the repetition of words. It seems as if, by offering words more than once, he is giving the reader an option to visualize the scene in different ways. Each word repeated offers a different angle in which to view the scene. For example,

"…a long, swirling roar incredible and soundless, blotting the stars, and he springing up and into the road again, running again, knowing it was too late yet still running even after he heard the shot and, an instant later, two shots," pausing now without knowing he had ceased to run, crying “Pap! Pap!”, running again before he knew he had begun to run, stumbling, tripping over something and scrabbling up again without ceasing to run, looking backward over his shoulder at the glare as he got up, running on among the invisible trees, panting, sobbing, “Father! Father!”


The word ‘run’ and ‘running’ are so significant in this sentence, that Faulkner injected them into it seven times. In this case, he wants to show Sarty still at war with himself, between the pull of blood and the pull of grief, but still physically moving forward. The repetition pushes the motion of the long sentences ahead further, to instill in you a strong sense of movement.

Faulkner uses the long sentences and the repetition as devices not only for movement, but also to capture as many feelings and expressions of one moment in time as possible. His style is to describe everything he can about instantaneous periods of time. Instead of reciting events as they come, he chooses tiny moments and paints a vivid picture of each, then allows you to string the moments together yourself. For example, as his aunt and mother struggle to recapture him, his mother cries out to one of his sisters to grab him.


"But that was too late too, the sister (the sisters were twins, born at the same time, yet either of them now gave the impression of being encompassing as much living meat and volume and weight as any other two of the family) not yet having begun to rise from the chair, her head, face, alone merely turned, presenting to him in the flying instant an astonishing expanse of young female features untroubled by any surprise even, wearing only an expression of bovine interest."


Faulkner could have described the action of the girl trying to grab her brother, but failing react quickly enough, however he instead illustrates her cow-like presence, her slothfulness, and the passive expression on her face at that instant. As the scene progresses he uses fewer instantaneous descriptions the more action increases, but quickly resorts back to deep descriptions of the moment as Sarty starts lose the fear and terror, and gains grief and despair.

In the climactic scene of 'Barn Burning', Faulkner demonstrates his unique literary style well, identified primarily by the long, colorful sentences dotted with repetition and the frequent use of verbs ending in -ing to express motion. Faulkner entwines the simple, plain language of the Snopes family with flowing, hypnotic descriptions to create tension in the wording, a direct reflection of the conflict and tension that the story is all about. Although it is impossible to define the exact Faulknerian style, much less recognize all the techniques he uses in his writing, these points seem clearest in this particular scene of Barn Burning, and best demonstrate the Faulknerian style used here.



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Artistic License in 'Madame Bovary'

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Undoubtedly Gustave Flaubert’s most famous novel is 'Madame Bovary', one of the first works of fiction to focus on the topic of realism. But Madame Bovary’s fame first came from its censorship trial in 1856, where it was condemned as pornographic. Both the publisher and the printer were charged with disregard for public morality and religion. These men pleaded with Flaubert to cut out some of the more sexual descriptions and the gruesome clubfoot surgery episode. Flaubert would not hear of it, as these controversial descriptions were not the aims and themes of his four-year labor. As people have done throughout time, they read the novel to see why it was so terrible and from there many, more sophisticated criticisms appeared.

Today the novel is read in many high school and college classrooms, and the students, as have readers since the novel’s first publication, dislike it for another reason, Emma Bovary. Being the protagonist of the novel, Emma is the center of the multiple themes intended by Flaubert. But instead of the reader connecting with Emma, they grow to be annoyed by her ignorance and are separated from the book as it becomes unrealistic. Therein lies the novels largest flaw. Gustave Flaubert annoys and disgusts the reader with his excessive use of artistic license in the novel 'Madame Bovary'.

The inspiration and encouragement for Flaubert to write his best novel came from several real life experiences and acquaintances, which are not wholly or directly tied to the novel. One of the female influences was the wife of a village doctor that had an affair, left debts, and died in Flaubert’s hometown. Her life was strikingly similar to that of Emma Bovary’s existence. Another influential lady had a similar story involving debts and affairs. But the most important woman to Flaubert was Louise Colet, his mistress. Though Flaubert loved her deeply, he left her abruptly with much hatred. It is Colet that was Flaubert’s primary subject in the novel, as he tried to write all about her from only his point of view.

As Flaubert could only write Louise Colet from one side, he was forced to take artistic license in the literary sense when writing the novel. Artistic license can been defined as taking personal experiences and turning them into a story. The author must take liberties in writing about the people around them and their feelings, as they could only live these experiences through their mind. Just as a movie director or screenwriter must alter the storyline of a work of fiction to make it understandable when acted or performed, the author must alter his experiences to fit a plot or amount to a climax.


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But as Flaubert wrote 'Madame Bovary' he takes too much liberty when writing about the events in Emma’s life. “All novelists do this, but Flaubert went beyond the usual call of duty” (McCarthy). Emma cannot seem to ever do anything right or have a bit of luck. Some of the following examples of Emma’s tragic fate are just the tip of the iceberg.

“The intimacy of marriage disgusts her [Emma]. Instead of a handsome lover in velvet and lace, she found herself tied to a dull witted husband who reeked of medicines and drugs” (Magill, Masterpieces of World Literature)

Emma has Charles leave all of his trusty patients for Yonville in hope of more business, but Charles becomes a struggling doctor. While Emma hopes for a boy that will make her feel successful with his accomplishments, she gives birth to a girl. Léon plays around with Emma, which makes her vulnerable to Rodolphe’s charm. Rodolphe leaves Emma, destroying her will. Léon, whom she had spent huge amounts of money on, abandons Emma. Emma’s debts are much above her means, yet Charles never finds out or discusses the matter with her. Homias talks Emma into convincing Charles to do the Clubfoot operation in search of fame and fortune, all ultimately ending in a destroyed reputation. Finally, Lheureux entices Emma to spend more and more and offers her immense credit. Even when Emma consults the reverend, he is unable to understand her pain.

Not once in the novel does Emma experience joy in being alive or have anything morally acceptable that makes her want to live on. Fellow writer and friend of Flaubert, Charles Augusta Sainte-Beuve gave the book great criticism but found the same problem. “[The scenes were] pictures which, if they were painted with a brush as they are written, would be worthy of hanging in a gallery beside the best genre painting… .” But its principle defect “was its [the novel] lack of ‘goodness,’ its unrelieved portrayal of pettiness, shallowness, and corruption”. This is where the line can be drawn that separates the normal use of artistic license from work that is too unreal. The novel becomes unbelievable to the reader as they cannot relate to a person that has nothing to live for. With so much negative writing on Emma, the reader begins to analyze her character instead of accepting her as a real person.

“For most of the novel we see from Emma’s perspective, but there is a deft playing off of Emma’s perceptions against the narrator’s control that we are able to analyze her perceptions in a broader context rather than simply accept them as fact”.

Soon the reader hates Emma for her continual habit of making poor decisions.

The reader begins to question why Emma could not see how she was destroying herself. Some people believe that Flaubert wanted the reader to hate Emma as that was the point of his story about nothing. On the contrary, the true or main theme of the novel was that of reality verses illusion. It is a theme that is universal. But Flaubert tries to create this idea through constant coincidences like Emma giving birth to a powerless girl instead of a chivalrous boy. “…she [Emma] is a very ordinary middle-class woman, with banal expectations of life and an urge to dominate her surroundings”. Once this is proven through several dreadful decisions on Emma’s part, Flaubert should have focused more his central theme. One of the reasons Flaubert kept on writing disgrace into Emma goes back to his attempt to blaspheme Louise Colet.

As the reader experiences Emma’s journey through words, they become more and more separated from the novel. For example, after Emma spends a great deal of time with Léon when she first meets him. When he decides to move to Paris to study law, she does not realize how foolish she was to be charmed by someone who left her on a whim. She does not appreciate how fortunate she is to have a loving husband waiting to adore her at home. Or the fact that she has given birth to a beautiful young girl that she can raise any way she pleases. No, Emma only depresses herself over the fact that she did not make love and commit adultery to Léon while she still had the chance. Frank N. Magill best summarizes this experience “Broken-hearted, Emma deplored her weakness in not giving herself to Léon, fretted in her boredom, and once more made herself ill”. How disgraceful Emma is, how annoying it is to the reader to examine such a thankless woman!

A similar event occurs towards the latter half of the book when Emma gains power of attorney over Charles’ finances. She then spends relentlessly as if there is nothing stopping her. Although this scene also fits Flaubert’s attempt at illusion verses reality, as Emma sees the money supply as unlimited but in reality the Bovarys are on the edge of bankruptcy, it is by this time in the book more disgusting that Emma can continue to make decisions that will again damage her life. After so many problems have come as a result of Emma’s thinking, the reader feels that by this time she must comprehend the fact that if she spends past her means, she will inevitably meet bankruptcy. The reader wants to know why this character never comes to a realization of her poor choices once in the entire novel.

According to an average person that posted an online review of the work Madame Bovary,

“Emma Bovary, has nothing going for her but beauty…[she] manages to make the lives of those around her thoroughly miserable…she has no redeeming qualities…the rest of the characters, and the plot, are cynical in the extreme”.

Although this person cannot be trusted for a professional opinion, they demonstrate that most readers will miss Flaubert’s overriding themes by getting swept up in Emma’s frequent misfortune. This reader spends the greater part of their critique discussing what is wrong with Emma, which reveals that the typical reader will find it hard to like Emma or realize what her lack of “redeeming qualities” truly symbolize. The common reader will often miss the plot and view the novel as description of a protagonist that never appreciated life.

By creating several events that may have shown hope for Emma, but still resulted in her suicide, Flaubert may have managed to keep the reader interested and understanding of his many themes, primarily illusion and reality. The reader will also feel sympathy for Charles as a result of Emma being portrayed as the one that destroyed his life. But instead of accomplishing his arguments, Flaubert’s prevailing encouragement for writing the novel shines through in his surplus of artistic license. Because he disliked his mistress, Louise Colet, the reader dislikes Emma, Flaubert’s portrayal of Colet.


Works Cited

“Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary).” Gretchen.and.Brett.com.   http//www.gretchen.and.brett.com/bookshelf/classics.html

Kunitz, Stanley J., and Vineta Colby. European Authors 1000-100. New York H. W. Wilson Company.

Magill, Frank, and Edward E. Foster. Masterplots. Vol. 6 New York Salem Press.

Magill, Frank, et al. Masterpieces of World Literature in Digest Form. New York Harper & Row.

McCarthy, Mary. Preface. Madame Bovary. By Gustave Flaubert. Trans. Mildred Marmur. New York New American Library.


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Arthurian Women

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In the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the struggle for power plays a major part in the lives of all the characters. The king and his knights wield physical power they fight to wage war, to earn respect as knights and to protect the weak. Women, on the other hand, assert more subtle forms of power. Even as they live in a male-dominated world, the Arthurian women assume power through marriage, motherhood and magic.

The Arthurian women assume power through marriage by using their marriage to obtain a higher rank or wealth. Having these can help one attain authority and supremacy. When Igraine married King Utha after Sir Gurloise died, she did not marry him because she would gain power for she “fought her own heart” not to love him. Years later, Morgan La Fay uses her marriage with King Uriens only to be a wealthy queen. Unlike Igraine, this marriage was not for love, but for power and protection. She used him and his kingdom as protection “[she] fled to her husband’s kingdom of Gore”  from the backfires of her evil plans. Meanwhile, she attempted to use Sir Accalon to “seize the throne of Britain between them as she had always had [this plan] in her dark mind. Although she loved Sir Accalon, she designed this generally for her gain of power.

Many of the women in the Arthurian legend gain power by mothering a child. Morgawse gains power when she “[bores] a fifth son, and his father was not Lot of Orkney, but Arthur the High King”. The power was hers because her son was heir to the throne, and because she was his mother, she could persuade him into doing almost anything. Afterwards, Elaine the Lily uses her child to guilt Sir Lancelot into “[giving her] an honorable burial, and [praying] for her soul”. Elaine also uses her power over Lancelot to give him a “new grief and a new guilt”. Her living memory and Galahad stayed with Lancelot all of his days.

The Arthurian women attain power by using magic to cast spells and enchantments. Morgan La Fay uses magic to destroy Arthur so she can take the throne and gain power. She attempts to use magic eradicate him when she enchants a mantle to demolish the wearer and “sends [Arthur] the mantle, begging that [he] will wear it often, and find pleasure in it. Lady Nimue, however, warns Arthur and this is prevented. Shortly after this, Brisson, the nurse of Elaine uses her magic to aid her lady’s longing for Lancelot and to “bring the wastelands out of the shadows” by setting up the conceiving of Galahad. She gave the power to Elaine (discussed in the previous paragraph) and to King Pelles.

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Power is not necessarily shown through strength and nobility, it can be shown subtly through marriage, motherhood and magic. These women attain their power by these three ways and although their power is understated, they do indeed have power that sometimes doesn’t show unless one looks for it.


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'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly

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'An Inspector Calls' by J.B Priestly.

Write expressing opinion about three of the main characters in the play. Support your views by detailed reference to the text and include a section in which you comment on to what extent the characters change during the play.

                           Mr Birling

When we are introduced to Mr Birling we immediately get the impression that he is an extremely boastful person. We get this impression when he says “I was an alderman for years and Lord Mayor two years ago and I’m still on the bench”

He also mentions that he may be getting a knighthood “I might find my way into the next Honours list”

It makes him seem even more boastful. Mr Birling refers to himself as a hardheaded business man this shows us that he has a high opinion of himself.

He is a very opinionated man and believes that he is knowledgeable and can forecast the future accurately. One of his predictions is that the Titanic will never sink “ Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable”

This one and many of his other predictions were wrong and so he tends to come across as a ridiculous character and we tend to laugh at him at this point in the play.

Mr Birling’s daughter Sheila is engaged to Gerald Croft, he is pleased about the engagement for all the wrong reasons. He is very insincere and is pleased because his business will benefit, he is clearly someone who is motivated by money.

“A man has to …look after himself and his own”

“Community and all that nonsense”

He tells the younger generation that they should look after themselves and their own family and not care about anybody else. This conveys him as a selfish man and he is bringing up his children to be the same way.

He completely refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. He is very arrogant and ignores what others say. He has no compassion and isn’t really affected by the news of Eva’s suicide.

“Well, we’ve several hundred young women there "know and they keep changing"

This shows us that he doesn’t care and doesn’t have a caring attitude towards his employees.

We notice that he doesn’t have a very good relationship with his son Eric. On page sixteen we see Eric contradicting his farther.

“why shouldn’t they try for higher wages?”

This gives us a subtle clue that all is not right between Eric and his father. We get a very strong impression later on that he is a bad father that doesn’t have time for his children.

“You aren’t the type of father a chap could go to when he is in trouble”

At the end of the play we see that he is very stubborn because he won’t change his views at all. They call the police station and the Infirmary in order to see if the inspector was a fake. After successfully finding out that he was a fake Mr Birling wants to forget everything that has happened and carry on as before. He sees the whole thing as a joke in spite of Sheila’s attempt to make him see that they all behaved badly.

Mr Birling isn’t changed at all by the ordeal and learns nothing.

                     Mrs Birling

Mrs Birling has the same principles as her husband; she believes that they are superior. Mrs Birling mentions “Girls of that class” on several occasions; this shows us that she associates bad behaviour with the lower class.

Mrs Birling still sees Sheila as a child even though she is in her twenty’s

“You seem to have made a great impression on this child, Inspector”

She talks to Eric as a child as if belittling him. She doesn’t have a very strong relationship with her children, treating them like children when they are in their twenty’s might have had a damaging effect on them.

She, like her husband, wants to connect the family with influential people, and she uses name-dropping in order to make the family look better.

“You know of course that my husband was Lord Mayor only two years ago and that he’s still a magistrate”

When she enters the room on page twenty-nine, she shows a great deal of arrogance and insensitivity. She doesn’t try to understand what has been going on in the room previous to her arrival and adopts a very superior attitude.

“Mrs Birling enters briskly and self-confidently, quite out of key with the little scene that has just passed”

She is a very stubborn woman; we see this when she refuses to stop talking even after Sheila has warned her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Sheila”

She wants everyone to think that her family is perfect and doesn’t want the truth to come out, such as Eric’s drinking.

We see that Mrs Birling has a strong personality and isn’t the quiet wife that we would expect her to be.

“ Now, Arthur, I don’t think you ought to talk business on an occasion like this”

She is quite dominant and isn’t afraid to express her views. “Arthur, you’re not supposed to say such things”

We find out that she is the chairperson of Brumley women’s charity organisation. This reveals a lot of her faults. We hear that she was prejudice towards a girl from a different social class.

“Oh, she had some fancy reason. As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money”

She has made up her mind about Eva Smith with out any grounds.

“We’ve done a great deal of useful work in helping deserving cases”

This is ironic because she refuses to help Eva. She had double standards. She was prejudice towards her from the start. She is in an influential position; she abused this position and used her power against Eva smith.

“I’ll tell you what I told her. Go and look for the farther of the child. It’s his responsibility”

“I accept no blame for it at all”

She won’t accept any blame she believes that she is blameless.

On page sixty-two she says, “I couldn’t imagine a real police inspector talking like that to us?”

Even at the end of the play she still has a superior attitude and has changed very little, if at all. She believes that they can return to normal after they find out the Inspector was a fake.

“And now I say we must discuss this business quietly and sensibly and decide if there’s anything to be done about it”

At the end of the play we see how little she has changed and that she sees the whole thing as a joke.

                            Sheila

When we first see Sheila she is in a happy mood, they are celebrating her engagement

“Perfect, now I really feel engaged”

When we hear that a girl has committed suicide Sheila appears to care and feel sympathy towards her.

“Sorry! I can’t help thinking about this girl - destroying herself so horribly - and I’ve been so happy tonight”

Sheila has some sense of what is right and wrong “These girls aren’t cheap labour they’re people” This makes her sympathy more apparent and some compassion is evident. On page twenty-four we hear how Sheila got Eva Smith fired from Millwards. She uses her social status to have Eva sacked. This incident also shows us that she can be childish

“when I was looking at myself in the mirror I caught sight of her smiling at the assistant and I was furious with her”

She was jealous of Eva so she got her fired this shows us that she is selfish and spoilt. When she finds out the consequences of these actions she sees the error of her ways and regrets what she did.

“I’ll never do it again to anybody”

Sheila isn’t as arrogant as Mr and Mrs Birling because she admitted that she was in the wrong, they would never do that. Sheila however develops into an honest person. She comes to see that Gerald can’t hide the truth any longer, where as he thinks he can hide it.

“Yes, we can keep it from him”

“Why - you fool he knows”

Sheila believes that it’s time everything was out in the open she doesn’t see the point in hiding anything any more. She tells them about Eric’s drinking habits

“He’s been steadily drinking too much for the last two years”

She is admitting that her family had problems and are far from perfect. She is becoming a lot more open and honest the whole experience has changed her for the better. Sheila also develops the ability to analyse the reasons for the inspectors visit she also begins seeing the faults of her family.

She is very realistic

“Probably between us we killed her”

This shows bravery because she is willing to admit the truth. We see a forceful side to Sheila when she stands up to her mother

“Stop it, Mother”

This is an achievement in it’s self because her Mum has always treated her like a child.

The end of the play shows us that Sheila has learnt something. Her attitude is very different to that of her parents. She makes a point that they all behaved badly

“Everything we said had happened really had happened”

Sheila is horrified with her parent’s behaviour

“It frightens me the way you talk”

She can’t believe that they are willing to continue as they where before. She has been changed by the whole experience and seems more mature about it than her parents do.

Sheila is a representative for the younger generation this shows us that there is hope for the future because she has behaved badly, but she recognised this and now wants to make changes.



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Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action, should it still exist?

Johanna Jacobs, a columnist, for the San Jose Mercury News wrote an articles questioning, do women really need affirmative action in today’s working environment? In her article she concludes that affirmative action is not needed for women. She goes on to say that a women successfulness or unsuccessfulness depends not on race or gender but on their wealth of education. I strongly disagree with Johanna Jacobs article. I feel that affirmative action is still needed by women, greatly. There are numerous amounts of reasons but I’ve chosen three to back me up. The first reason is the racism is not just a word of the past for every one it can still exist. Second, some women are still at a disadvantage in the work place, compared to men. Finally, affirmative action has had such a positive affect on past generation, the legacy should continue.

Unfortunately, racism can still play a big part in our society today, especially Corporate America. When I say racism I am referring to any race against one another. I agree with Johanna that education is important but I disagree with the fact that she tries to eliminate racism as a key discriminate in the work environment. A numerous amount of cases have flared up in the last six months pertaining to racism in the work force. For example, Coca Cola was recently indicted for racial discrimination against a number of their employee’s. Women of minority have a greater struggle in the work place and it does not need to sweep under the rug, like so many other issues. I believe that education is the key but I believe that it is the only key. Education has helped minority women in the work place tremendously; as education grows women are becoming more aware of their rights and their roles in the business world. It’s no surprise that the number of law suits, due to racial discrimination, are rapidly growing due to an influx in knowledge. Many minority women have finally realized that is more to life than the past and are running with the idea. Affirmative Action has helped a numerous amount of women get to there dreams and should be able to do so in years to come.

Secondly, in some cases woman are still at a disadvantage, compared to men. One of the main disadvantages for a woman in today’s society is the family. In most cases a woman’s family comes first in their lives and push their careers to the back burner. Unlike most men that place their careers first and are able to spend fifty to sixty hours a day in the office. For a great percentage of the women in the world a family is just as time consuming as a CEO position. The next disadvantage is respect. Many of the old rules for a corporation have not changed. When corporations were established women were not apart of the business environment. According to the catalyst census of women corporate officers and top earners the percentage of women among the highest paid has increased by a small increments over the last five years (Black Entrepreneurs). The percentages from the Black Entrepreneurs magazine are devastating compared to the growing salaries of men. Not only are women lacking respect in pay but also in seniority. It’s as fact that the majority of CEO’s in Corporate America are men. I feel that without affirmative action many women would not be considered for half the positions available. Some woman also lack respect from men. In some cases women in higher position than some men are treated as though they don’t deserve the rank. I feel that some men have grown accustom to having the top position that when a women gets one they feel belittled. It may also be due to the fact that some of the older generation guys still think of women as homemakers and nothing else. Affirmative action has helped to change the entire outlook of the business environment. I feel that we should be congratulating affirmative action rather trying to get rid of it.


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Lastly, affirmative action has had such a great impact on the business environments it should be able to continue. Without the assistance of affirmative action many people would be jobless or have a harder time getting a job, including Johanna Jacobs. Many people across the world can contest to the wonderful working of affirmative action including me. I have been working for my company for two years now and I know that without affirmative action I may not be in the position I’m in today. I feel that the affects of affirmative action are just as needed as they were twenty to thirty years ago. I also feel that affirmative action has a great deal to do with the influx of positions. Many people are trying to get rid of affirmative action claiming that it puts other people at a disadvantage. People that are not minorities feel they are missing out on jobs due to the minorities getting them first. No matter what everyone will not be pleased the outcome if it does not pertain to them. Most of the past experiences are still prevalent today, just kept quiet. Without affirmative action I think it’ll place a large amount of the work force back to where they were forty to fifty years ago.

In conclusion, I disagree with Johanna Jacobs article because I believe both women of minorities and women that are not minorities still need affirmative action. Affirmative action is said to be the nations most ambitious attempt to redress its long history of racist and sexual discrimination (blah). Racism is not dead yet, it’s alive and kicking but it’s still said with a very low voice now. As long as there is racism affirmative action will be needed in the work environment. Some of the disadvantages that women experience have a large impact on their job positioning. Affirmative action helps the women that are at a disavantage.





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