Essay by sinister99College, Undergraduate October 2002

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Janis Joplin

One of the most influential women singers of the 1960's was Janis Joplin. Blues legend Janis Lyn Joplin was born on January 19, 1943 during a period of global conflict and uncertainty that was in many ways the essence and trademark of her own short lie. Janis was the eldest child of parents Seth and Dorothy Joplin. They would have two more children, Laura and Michael. Janis was born and raised in the small Southern petroleum industry town of Port Arthur, Texas. Her father was a canning factory worker, her mother a registrar at a local business college. Her non-aberrational upbringing coupled with the atmosphere of Port Arthur at the time; generally restrictive, intolerant, and unnurturing must have made even Janis' early childhood difficult. However, according to friends and relatives to whom she was well known, Janis was a normal and happy child who fit well within societal "norms" of the time.

As a child, Janis was timid. She was also very intelligent as well as artistic. Around the age of eight Janis was taking art lessons. She received straight A's in school, sang in a choir, loved to read and spent a lot of time helping out at the library and at the church. Janis was so smart that during her elementary school years she skipped a grade.

Janis tried very hard to fit in during her high school years. It was in Janis' adolescence that the hang-ups and hassles that were to affect the path of the rest of her life. In a sense, her rigid upbringing played a large part in making Janis who she was. This would never have been admitted at the time, but, predictably, the "Port Arthur" ethic created a fire inside Janis and kept it burning until her death. Janis' troubles...