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The Symbiotic Relationship Between Individual And Community

690 words - 3 pages

APEL Community Essay
What is the individual's relationship to the community? I am defining “community” as American Society as a whole. The individual's relationship to the community is based on whether the individual's needs/goals are congruent to society standards. The results can vary, from total conformity to rejection of society. In the book Into the Wild, and in the essay Where I Lived and What I Lived For, the theme of conformity is diametrically opposed to the theme of non-conformity, shown in the essays Letter From A Birmingham Jail, and Small Changes. Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild and Henry David Thoreau, author of Where I Lived and What I Lived For, exhibit their non-conformity, in fighting against elitism and materialism, but in different ways. Martin Luther King, author of Letter From a Birmingham Jail, and Malcolm Gladwell, author of Small Changes, share the same belief that conformity can be a method of strengthening society.

The idea of conformity presented in the following texts in similar. The idea of conformity presented in Into the Wild and Where I Lived and What I Lived For is one of complete denial, and that the only way to live is to escape from “corrupt” and “materialistic” society. Although the idea of non-conformity is presented similarly in both texts, they also vary in the level of extremity. In Into the Wild, McCandless, the main character in Into the Wild didn’t live a life of complete seclusion from society, unlike Thoreau. McCandless was accustomed to small societies that opposed the larger American society such as the several small towns he visited on his journey, such as the Carthage community, and “Oh-My-God Hot Springs”. A similar belief between McCandless and Thoreau was one of non-conformity, expressed in one of Thoreau’s metaphors, “Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men;”(Thoreau 1) McCandless deeply related to that belief as shown in one of his letters that he wrote to Ron Franz. In that letter, he writes, “Ron,...

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