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Non Conformity In The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, Medea, And The Stranger

1808 words - 7 pages

Non-conformity in The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, Medea, and The Stranger

    We are constantly being affected our surroundings. As a result, our attitudes and personalities are a product of our experiences and the various environments in which they occurred . Furthermore, the society we live in presents to us a set of standards, values, and givens that we may or may not agree with. In literature, the society plays a major role in affecting the characters' thoughts and actions. In The Sailor who Fell From Grace with the Sea, The Stranger, and "Medea", the characters are affected by their society, and their actions reflect their conformity (or non-conformity) to it. Ultimately, non-conformity in these works create the conflicts that make the plots interesting.

    In Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea , the characters are presented with the relatively modern society of post World War 2 Japan. Since the war, as Japan underwent their "second" industrial revolution, it became more permeable to western culture(since it was a major contender of international business). Since Japan has always been a nation that stressed the importance of preserving its culture(imposing isolationism at one point), these changes did not go down so smoothly. Mishima expresses this discomfort by depicting two characters with opposite grounds of non-conformity. One being Fusako; a non-conformist in a traditional perspective, and the other Noboru, a non-conformist in a contemporary perspective.

    In Albert Camus' The Stranger, society only affects the main character, Meursault, after he comes to a mid-story crisis. For all practical purposes, Meursault was living in a French society of the 30's, whereas Algeria was a French possession. Meursault broke all of the rules of society, being the ultimate symbol of non-conformity. His character expressed an indifferent view of the universe, with a tasteless, emotionless approach to everyday tasks. Being indifferent, he cared for nothing and no one, thus being a potential threat to society, if anything. If anything is high on the list of "criteria for being a non-conformist", it's being a potential threat to society!

    In Euripides' "Medea", the characters live in a mythological society, which for the most part reflected the ideas and values of ancient Greece, with the exceptions of Gods and Goddesses. Since witches have always been a symbol of evil and mischief, it is assumed that Medea, a witch, does not conform with the society she exists in. Besides that fact, "Medea" takes place in Greece while Medea herself comes from a distant land, considered "savage" by Greek standards. With that burden, she fills no other role than non-conformist, and the position inspires her actions which make "Medea" into a tragedy.

    The non-conformists in these works all seem to defy society to the point of a common act(murder), with the exception of Fusako, whose actions and lifestyle...

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