Thursday, September 24, 2009

Big Question

Can an individual exist in a conformist orientated society?

This question is personally interesting because I strive to be an individual and be accepted by society. This creates a self-perpetrating paradox in which my need for individuality and acceptance into society contradicts each other.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway the main character is Jake, an individual that retains his individuality in a destructive and conformist society. Jake recognizes his conformity so he strives to separate himself from the Lost Generation. Jake struggles to achieve his individuality but he eventually discovers his individuality by accepting his conformist nature. Hemingway emphasizes that individuality is highlighted and strengthened by the conformity that surrounds it.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles takes an alternative approach, in which Sophocles states that the individual is eventually destroyed by a conformist society and its attitudes. Oedipus is a man that seeks acceptance, eventually leading the accidentally murder of his father. Oedipus creates his own destruction because he denies his individuality and accepts conformist society. Sophocles is emphasizing the division of individuality and conformist society that must be sustained so the individual can prosper and survive.

King Lear by William Shakespeare

A fool in status, an intellectual in wit

The fool is the truth, the wise are lies

Truth is viewed through a comedic looking glass to keep the mind sane

A fool for a king, a king for a fool

"All thy other titles thou hast given away. That thou wast born with" (1.4.153-154)

The character of a man is derived from his role, society is the darkness of us all

"Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools" (3.2.14-15)

Arapahoe Wrestler Thank You

Thank you for the opportunities you supplied

Thank you for the push you gave me

Thank you for teaching me the value of teamwork, perseverance and determination

Thank you for giving me a family of brothers

Thank you for teaching me what ring worm looks like, it still scares me

Thank you for putting obstacles in my way and making me strive harder

Thank you for teaching me it is possible to give more than 100%

Thank you for teaching me the chicken wing, half nelson, three quarter nelson, power half, granby ( i still need to practice), the tilt, the cradle, the grandma, the stand up, the banana split ( painful) the sit out, the fat man roll, the spiral ride, the western cowboy and everything else

Thank you for proving that when I want something I have to take a risk and leave it all out there

Thank you for the Band of Brothers

Thank you for shaping me into the individual I am today

Playboy of the Western World by John Synge stresses that an individual can exist in a conformist society but eventually will become alienated by it. The main character of the play is Christy, an individual that has killed his father. At first the village accepts Christy, seeing him as an attraction; but the village eventually outcasts him once he tires to kill his resurrected father. This shows that society sees individuals as an attraction or an anomaly that rarely occurs. But once this individual shows his individuality, society becomes threatened and isolates the individual. This is also stressed because Christy is a symbol for Christ, an individual that was eventually killed for his differences and threat to the conformist society of his day.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce stresses that an individual can exist in a conformist society but it is a difficult process to establish individuality. Stephen is an individual that, in the beginning, defined himself by his family's action. At the end of the novel, Stephen eventually defines himself by his own actions and rejects the conformist society. The novel stressed that family, though a good intentioned institution, corrupts the individuality of a person by emphasizing that a person must fit into society. This leads to an need for conformity and acceptance from society, a concept Stephen struggled to define and conform to. Stephen rejects a conformist society by the end of the novel because he understands himself and has begun to define the world around him through his own terms. Thus, individuality is the definition of an individual and an attempt to define the world around them.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka highlights the mechanization of society following the Industrial Revolution and the pressures that affect the individual. the main character, Gregor, is a young man that undergoes a transformation turning him into a bug. Before Gregor's metamorphosis, he exemplified the new mechanized, modern society. Gregor focused on working and isolated himself from society through his actions of disillusioned self-sacrifice. Kafka is stressing that an individual cannot exist in a conformist, modern society. An individual can only exist if they separate themselves completely from society and find pleasure in simplistic things in life. This idea is highlighted by Gregor's transformation and his isolation that stems from that transformation.

The Stranger by Albert Camus directly answers the question of the ability of an individual to exist in a conformist society. The main character, Meursault, is an isolated individual that exists outside the confines of the conformist society. Meursault could only exist as an individual because society didn't actively recognize or acknowledge Meursault. eventually, thoguh the individual comes into contact with society, resulting an aggressive conflict in which society attempts to destroy the individual. This is adamant in this novella due to Meursualt's accidental incident of Meursault with a member of society. The Stranger is a direct procedure of the actions of an individual in a conformist society.

Beloved by Toni Morrison is a story about a ghost who takes a physical form to alter the lives of three African Americans: Seethe, Denver, and Paul D. The story also stresses the conformist society and its need to control individuals. Seethe, Denver and Paul D are all individuals that are controlled by their past and forced by society to remain in that past. Essentially, society represses the individuality in these characters by forcing the past on these characters and stopping them from advancing. This is evident in Beloved who forces the characters to be constantly be reminded of the past and force to amend for their sins of the past. This novel stresses that the individual is suppressed by society's actions and use the past as a weapon.