This section covers the first two sections of Social Issues: Widows and Orphans. It comes out to about seven pages in Word, so … yeah. I think this is a good place to stop for the night!
Plus I have to argue with WordPress to get the damn thing to format right. 😉
a) How are widows treated?
They kind of get the short end of the stick, economically, since there isn’t a man around the house and nobody is required, by law, to help them. However, it all really depends on your age, the age of your children (if you have any, children are your social security), and your class status. A widow of the nobility is not likely to be nearly as badly off as a peasant widow. Also, a widow with grown children will, most likely, be cared for and supported by them. As a last resort, a widow with no dependent children can always join the church and become a nun.
i) Are they required to return to the family home?
No, they are not. However, women with no dependent children (or grown children who can take care of them) are encouraged to return to the family home.
Because there are often dependent children involved, and what with the Sim limit being eight Sims and all … yeah, not going to work. (Plus, depending upon when the widow is widowed, who’s to say there’s a family home to return to? What family home would Kata Thatcher go home to?) More importantly, however, widows are adults and independent citizens under Albionese law, they cannot be forced to go anywhere they don’t want to.
(a) Does this change by religion?
N/A, one religion.
(b) Does this change by social standing?
It does in certain situations – namely, noblewomen/royal women without dependent children, particularly if they were married to the heir of the household.
Because of noble/royal rules of inheritance, i.e. firstborn son gets the lot. Wives are generally left a settlement or get their dowry back if their husband kicks it and doesn’t leave any children. (If a noblewoman, married to the heir, is left with daughters, generally their uncle – or whoever ultimately inherits the lands, etc. – will see to their education and dowries, or else their dowry will be put aside for them from the money their father left at his death.) If a woman has a son, though, she’ll be expected to stay in whatever home her husband left her and raise the child there.
In other classes – the peasants and merchants and gypsies – women can either inherit a house directly, or in trust for their children if they have any, so there’s no pressure on them to return home.
(c) Does this change by race?
Because I cannot think of any reason why it would.
ii) Is there any compensation from the church or government?
I’ll say that the church hands out a death benefit for deaths from old age (i.e. the Sims insurance benefit.) The government may also hand out a benefit if the person who died did so in their service.
In terms of the Church, it’s their job to succor the widows and orphans – giving a quick cash payment to those widows and orphans is a good way to do that. For the government, this is a way to attract people to their service, or at least form an insurance policy so people who have families don’t automatically head for the door.
(a) If so, what kind?
Generally cash. Twenty silvers ($20,000 simoleons) to the surviving spouse, ten to one of the children, assorted coppers to other people.
(b) How is it distributed?
Given out when the person dies, to the survivors.
(c) How is it paid for?
In game terms, comes out of the ether. (Though I might use familyfunds to relieve the monastery of that cash.) In story terms, from the Church’s tithes (or government funds, where applicable.)
(d) Is it regulated?
(e) Is this a regular payment or is it a one time thing?
The Church payments are one-time only. Government payments may be recurring – say, half/three quarters of or equal to the salary of the dead person – until such a time as the widow remarries or all the dependent children are grown.
(i) Is it reasonable?
I’ll just say yes.
- Could someone live off it to support themselves?
The Church payment, probably not – but the government payment, maybe. I’d have to play it out in game and check.
(f) Does this change by religion?
N/A, one religion.
(g) Does this change by social standing?
No for the Church dole, yes for the government.
The government is not going to give a huge stipend to noble knights who die in battle, especially if the heirs in question have a huge estate from which they derive 99% of their income. (If the nobleman in question doesn’t have his own lands and left dependent children, the government may pay out. Again, I’ll have to play that by ear.)
(h) Does this change by race?
Because even though the Church highly disapproves of different races, it realizes that they need to eat too. And different races aren’t likely to be working for the government.
iii) Is a woman (or man if it’s a society with that’s female dominant) free to choose what she will do after her spouse is dead?
By law, yes. Family pressures (whether it’s six kids who need feeding or overbearing noble in-laws) might be brought to bear on her, however.
By law in Albion, adult widowed women are not under the control of anyone else, they are independent entities. However, in real life, a woman alone could be at the mercy of her family if she needs assistance.
(2) How does society feel about widows?
They’d rather there not be widows, but hey, shit happens. For the most part, widows are respected and treated with kindness by their neighbors and friends. However, society as a whole doesn’t step up to take care of them and their families – they’re on their own for that.
Because while most Sims have decent enough hearts, decent heart =/= open wallet.
(b) Does this change by religion?
N/A, one religion.
(c) Does this change by social standing?
Well, you’d have to be crazy to insult a noble widow – insulting a peasant widow (i.e., in a sexually harassing manner, not just calling a bitch who happens to be a widow a bitch) will probably get you shunned/yelled at by any passers-by, insulting a noble widow will probably get you run through by her guards. However, the same thing would happen if that noble widow was a wife or a maiden so … I guess the answer is, not really.
Because if widows of lower social orders get a decent amount of respect, why wouldn’t widows of higher social orders get even more respect?
(d) Does this change by race?
I guess gypsy widows are the least likely to be given any kind of respect.
Because they’re at the bottom of the totem pole, they get the least respect no matter what walk of life they’re in.
iv) What happens to the children if one (but not both) of the parents dies?
They stay with the surviving parent, unless there is a very, very, very good reason why they should not. If the mother dies, there is very little shake-up in the family in terms of inheritance or property transfer. If the father dies (unless, for some reason, the property is bound up in the mother), then the eldest son traditionally becomes the heir and official owner of everything, though generally provisions are made for younger children/daughters. However, if he is a minor, his mother is – by common law – the trustee/executor of the estate. Sims can make wills designating other executors and trustees, but this generally doesn’t happen except at the uppermost levels of society.
Also, widows cannot be kicked out from the family home, unless they re-marry.
(1) Is there a system for this?
(a) Why or why not?
… Because why would you need a system to NOT move kids?
(i) Does this change with religion?
N/A, one religion.
(ii) Does this change with social standing?
Maybe a little bit with the nobles/royals/wealthy merchants.
Because they’re more likely to make a will designating things like executors and trustees and all that, because a) they can afford a lawyer to write a will and b) they have something to will away.
(iii) Does this change with race?
Because most of them are poor and unlikely to have wills.
(b) Do children receive any sort of compensation if one (but not both) of the parents dies?
Just the regular Church dole, if the parent was an elder, or a continued pension from the government if the deceased was killed in the line of duty.
b) How does this society care for orphans?
It depends. If there are extended family members willing & able to take in the children, they do so. If not, the Church will take children (i.e. below the age of twelve) in one of their three orphanages. (One for all babies & toddlers, one for boy children, and one for girl children.) Teens, unless they have supportive family members or substantial property (i.e. are wealthy merchants or above), are on their own.
i) Do they care for orphans?
(1) If so, is this system a political one or a religious one?
It’s a religious system.
(a) If this is a religious system, would the religion take in children who don’t follow the religion?
On the extreme off-chance that there was a child who was not of the Wrightian faith, yes.
Couple of reasons: one, anyone who was of a different religion than the Church wasn’t likely to have been advertising it, so the Church would take the kids without even knowing they were of a different religion. Two, if the Church did know of the faith difference, they’d see it as their sovereign duty to take the kids anyway (will explain why below.)
(ii) If so, does this religion make the attempt to convert the children to their religion or are they allowed to practice whatever they are?
They don’t “make the attempt,” they force the conversion.
Because the concept of freedom of worship, of religious pluralism, has not yet been discovered by the Wrightians. They think they’re right and that believing anything else will land a person in Hell, with the Grim Reaper and the Hula Zombies and the cow-demons.
(iii) Is this system also regulated by the government?
In Glasonland and Reme, these sorts of things are completely left to the Church (because the governments in Glasonland and Reme refused to take charge of orphans) – Albion never thought to do otherwise. If King Arthur or any of his heirs hear of major abuses – worse than what Brother Tuck did to Erin – they would probably get involved, otherwise, no.
(iv) Is this system kind or cruel? (Are most of the orphans happy?)
It’s a kind system for the most part, the orphans are certainly not mistreated. However, this could change if nasty people (worse than Brother Tuck) join the Church and get put in charge of the orphans.
Furthermore, all orphans are privately educated (i.e. go to private school), so that’s a plus.
(2) What happens to orphans after they leave the system?
It depends on their class status and whether or not they have any inheritance to claim.
(a) Are they apprenticed in a trade?
Perhaps, it depends on a lot of factors. See the social standing section specifically.
It’s one way to dispose of orphans while giving them means to support themselves in adulthood.
(ii) If so, are they given a choice in the trade or is it chosen for them?
It depends on who is in charge of the orphans and what the available options are. Note: if an orphan wishes to join the Church, that wish will always be respected.
Nice people (like Father Hugh) would always be willing to give orphans a choice in what’s going to happen to them – after all, it’s their life! But Albion is still a small kingdom and there aren’t that many openings for orphan apprentices, so options are limited.
As for wishing to join the Church, the Church always wants more members. 😉
(iii) Does this change by religion?
N/A, one religion.
(iv) Does this change by social standing?
Ok, first of all, noble and wealthy merchant orphans may choose to take an apprenticeship in certain class-appropriate careers, but they don’t have to, and if they don’t like what they’re doing, they are allowed to quit. Nor are they kicked out of the monastery/nunnery when they hit teen; they’re welcome to stay until they either grow up or go to college (assuming, of course, that their inheritance gives them enough money for college).
Secondly, your chances of getting a plumb apprenticeship – i.e. apprenticeship to a skilled trade – increase with your class status. Poor merchant orphans (those whose parents, at the time of death, had a net worth of less than $150,000, including businesses) get first shop at skilled apprenticeships (being sent to live with another merchant, work in his/her shop[s], earn badges and gain skills). Peasants are more likely to be sent to live with other peasants to be field hands, or else to be apprentices to game careers. I.e., if Kata Thatcher took in a teenaged orphan (girl), it would be to be an apprentice midwife, and that orphan would take the teen medical career track and otherwise live as a regular member of the household. Gypsy/brothel orphans are at the bottom of the barrel, they’ll probably be sent to live as a servant in a noble/wealthy merchant household, where they will do all the cooking, cleaning, gardening, caring for the children, etc., generally for a pittance.
Because Albion is a class-based society. (Also, in the case of peasant orphans, there are indentures to be considered.) Also because gypsy/brothel children, since they come from “immoral” parents, are viewed with some suspicion and are considered to not be as good as legitimate children.
(v) Does this change by race?
Most races, except alien/half-fae, don’t even hit until you’re a teen anyway, so there isn’t an opportunity to discriminate by race, really.
And plantbabies grow straight from toddler to adult, at which point they’d be just plain kicked out.
(vi) If not, why not?
If they’re not apprenticed, it’s because they either a) have a cushy inheritance to fall back on, or b) are sent to be servants. In any case, SOMETHING is always found for the orphans to do.
Oh – unless they’re with family. In that case, it’ll vary from family to family.
(vii) Are there certain trades that an orphan cannot be apprenticed in?
For orphans being taken care of by the Church, yes. If an orphan is not being taken care of by the Church, they can take any apprenticeship (as defined as an after-school job in game terms) that fits their class status. Also, noble male orphans can enter knight’s training when they hit teen, provided that somebody – other than the Church – is paying their fees.
The trades that Church-sponsored orphans cannot be apprenticed in (as defined by their in-game jobs) are:
Athletic, Politics, Artist, Show Biz, Paranormal, Natural Science, Adventurer, Criminal, Entertainment, Gamer, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Military, Oceanography, Slacker.
By job title/category:
Artist/Show Biz/Paranormal/Natural Science: Don’t have teen careers, ergo, no apprenticeship!
Athletic: Only available to noble males in knights’ training.
Adventurer /Intelligence/Law Enforcement/Military/Oceanography: Too dangerous, the Church will not be apprenticing any teens to trades where they might well be killed. However, in the case of the military, teens males who are unhappy in their current apprenticeship might run away and join the military at age 15.
Entertainment/Criminal: Not respectable enough (or downright illegal, in the case of Criminal). Note: Music & dance are not on this list because noble and wealthy merchant girls may take those as teen jobs; in that case, though, they’re considered in story terms to be music/dance lessons, not a job or apprenticeship.
Politics/Slacker: No apprenticeships available, period, although for very different reasons. Politics I am going to make into an adults-only arena because of its general importance, and generally, one rises in politics either by means of nepotism or outstanding contributions in other areas. Slacker, on the other hand, for non-nobles is just odd jobs – the Church isn’t going to send one of their poorer teens into someone’s house just to work an after-school job at odd jobs.
Gamer: Because I just don’t know what to do with this career.
(b) If the system is religious, are they expected to join the church?
No. However, if an orphan wishes to join the Church, they are more than welcome to do so (and in that case, all the stuff I said about apprenticeships goes out the window).
Because my Church would overflow with members if all the brothel babies had to become monks and nuns!
(c) Are they given any sort of compensation?
Not unless they were left an inheritance. If they are just moved into a different household to be an apprentice, I’ll be using the Sim Blender for that, which doesn’t transfer any funds.
They’ve been given food, shelter, clothing, an above-average education, and a way of supporting themselves for the rest of their lives – why would the Church give them anything else?
ii) How does society feel about orphans?
Well, most people would rather there not be any orphans, because most people would rather not have kids deprived of parents! But the society does recognize that someone needs to take care of orphans. In cases where there are extended family members, generally the family will step in; if not, the Church takes in the orphans.
Children of prostitutes are also generally taken in by the Church – either because their mothers drop them off at the church door, or because certain priests who shall remain nameless are on a power trip.
Because kids who are left on their own tend to either die absurdly young or get into all sorts of trouble, grow up, and keep into bigger and bigger trouble. Plus, you know, basic compassion.
As for the prostitute-orphans, basic compassion comes into play, plus certain members of the Church feel very strongly that these children must be saved before they tread the same paths of sin their mothers (and fathers, but nobody ever mentions the fathers) trod.
(2) Does this change by religion?
N/A, one religion.
(3) Does this change by social standing?
Not really, though I imagine that the nobility/wealthy merchants would be more able to care for the orphans among them.
Simply because they have more cash, also, if I can ever get my numbers right, the nobility will have fewer children and thus will be able to take in more kids.
(4) Does this change by race?
Not really, except orphans of different races are more likely to end up with the Church (especially if the children themselves are not of a different race – i.e. Ash and Marigold Thatcher’s kids).
Different race = more likely to be gypsy = POOR!