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Illustrations Of Conformity Essay Research Paper Conformity

Illustrations Of Conformity Essay, Research Paper Conformity, perhaps the most cumbersome of all social pressures, appears many times throughout Literature. For instance, in Nathaniel Hawthorne s Young Goodman Brown, the element of conformity appears, as an excuse for the main character to engage in conduct that he realizes is wrong.

Illustrations Of Conformity Essay, Research Paper

Conformity, perhaps the most cumbersome of all social pressures, appears many times throughout Literature. For instance, in Nathaniel Hawthorne s Young Goodman Brown, the element of conformity appears, as an excuse for the main character to engage in conduct that he realizes is wrong. In Shirley Jackson s The Lottery, conformity appears in a very different aspect. In this story, we venture into a seemingly average village to learn how the pressure to conform can be so powerful that people, who would otherwise be very much like any of us, repeatedly engage in a barbaric custom, with conforming to an age old tradition being the only reasoning for their actions. In The Yellow Wallpaper, conformity drives the main character into madness, as she goes against her better judgment to adhere to the protocol prescribed by her husband. What gives conformity its tremendous strength? To answer that question, let us delve further into this timeless issue that continues to plague society, with an analysis of it s significance in the aforementioned literary works.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne s Young Goodman Brown, we see conformity compel Young Goodman to participate, in a satanic, pagan coven, where the participants are all his neighbors and friends. The participation of all his closest associations is of tremendous significance. Never was the magnitude of his fellow men s shared engagement in this evil endeavor made more clear, than it was by the statement Depending upon one another s hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not a dream! {pgs. 306 &307} This statement demonstrates man s nature to measure his morality and even worth in comparison to his fellow man. This is not an accurate method of evaluation for our morality or worth, as we well know. We all, however, have been guilty of making these sorts of excuses for ourselves and even accepting them as reasons to forgive ourselves and cast away our own guilt. The fact that Young Goodman Brown did, in fact, depend on the hearts of others was his ultimate demise into the self-described loathful brotherhood of his fellow sinners {pgs. 306 & 307}. Although he is repelled by the commune, that he perceives as loathsome, he is, at the same time, comforted by the realization that he is not alone in his weakening struggle against sin.

The dangers of conformity are clearly the theme of Shirley Jackson s The Lottery. In this story, we are introduced to an average village, where for years a violent tradition has continued to thrive. Despite the villager s insinuations at their desire to do away with the lottery, none are willing to stand out against their many perceived adversaries {pg.313}. Perhaps, the adversity would not be as strong as thy perceive it to be. Unfortunately, they will never know, because none were willing to resist conformity. Therein lies the most powerful asset of conformity. Many times, we will never know whether we could have the support of our fellow men we so desperately desire, simply because we are so unwilling to challenge conformity. Jackson seems to be showing us the consequences of not thinking for ourselves and illustrating for us how it is applicable to our own lives, by introducing us first to the village, without revealing their barbaric nature, so we could see how they were otherwise just like us. It brings to mind a modern adage that states Great minds think for themselves. , in contrast to the outdated adage that states Great minds think alike.

In the Yellow Wallpaper, conformity becomes the ultimate downfall of a feminist spirit in a time when feminism was stifled by a male dominated society. The main character in this story appears to be the victim of post- partum depression, although the type of depression and eventual dementia that the woman falls victim to is never really disclosed. In any case, her husband and brother, who are physicians, both prescribe to her bed rest as treatment for her nervous condition, which was actually standard protocol from the medical expertise of that era. Against her own autonomous feelings about what would be best for herself, she continues to conform to the advice of her husband, until it drives her to madness.

If these stories, as well as this analysis, achieve nothing else, they should certainly convey to us the impact that conformity can, and often does, have on our lives. They all use parable to exemplify how we should always be mindful of our individual morality, despite the consequences under which we might be. We should never be afraid to do what we know is right, no matter how much adversity we face. I think that Nathaniel Hawthorne, Shirley Jackson, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman would all have us see the power that conformity can impose upon our lives and have us realize that conformity is not an excuse for cowardice. In the end, we are all responsible for our own actions regardless of the support, or even the participation of others.

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